LHSAA Volleyball Playoff Brackets Released: No. 24 Woodlawn travels to No. 9 Chapelle

LHSAA Volleyball Playoff Brackets Released: No. 24 Woodlawn travels to No. 9 Chapelle

The Woodlawn High volleyball team learned its next opponent Monday as the LHSAA released its playoff brackets.

Coach Maria Gonzalez and the Panthers (23-13) earned the No. 24 seed in the Division-I tournament and will travel Wednesday to No. 9 Archbishop Chapelle (21-15) for a first-round matchup at 5:30 p.m. at the Metairie school.

“They’re good,” Gonzalez said. “Everybody’s going to have to be on. Nobody can have a bad game if we want to compete with them. That’s the bottom line. We can compete with them. But everybody’s got to be on. So hopefully that happens.”

Woodlawn and Chapelle haven’t played in at least a decade, but the Chipmunks participated in the Panthers’ early-season tournament Labor Day weekend.

“We didn’t play them, but they were here,” Gonzalez said. “So I got to watch them play, and I have film on them. They’re just a good, fundamental New Orleans all-girls school team. So we can’t make mistakes.”

Chapelle finished fourth in a loaded District 7-I that features four of the top 13 seeds in the division along with No. 1 Dominican, No. 2 Mount Carmel and No. 13 Chalmette.

Woodlawn finished third in a District 4-I led by No. 6 St. Joseph’s Academy and No. 11 Central (Baton Rouge).

The Panthers’ 23-13 record marked the program’s best record in more than a decade.

“I wanted to get to 20 wins,” Gonzalez said. “That was our first goal, and we did and exceeded that and got three more wins. We should’ve one a little more, but that’s part of it. But we usually lose in the first round, so our second goal is to get past the first round. So hopefully we can do that.”

The winner will advance to face the winner between No. 8 Natchitoches Central and No. 25 H.L. Bourgeois.

Woodlawn Volleyball finishes regular season with best record in 10+ years

Woodlawn Volleyball finishes regular season with best record in 10+ years

The Woodlawn High volleyball team finished its regular season this week with the program’s best record in at least a decade.

The Panthers beat Baton Rouge Magnet in five sets Wednesday to improve to 23-13 and claim third place in the schools’ District 4-I standings.

That overall mark and .639 winning percentage are their best available in the LHSAA’s schedules archives, which date back to 2013.

“I’m very happy,” coach Maria Gonzalez said. “It went well. I wanted to get to 20 wins. That was our first goal, and we did and exceeded that and got three more wins. We should’ve one a little more, but that’s part of it.

“We usually lose in the first round, so our second goal is to get past the first round. So hopefully we can do that.”

Woodlawn awaits the LHSAA’s bracket release Monday to learn its official seed and playoff matchup.

But Gonzalez has been proud of the way the Panthers’ deep and talented roster has continued to come together against challenging competition and additional curveballs along the way.

“We’ve been on a rollercoaster ride,” she said. “We have injuries and people hurt and some people stepping up. We still have a couple people who are hurt that can’t play.”

Gonzalez shared a list of leaders such as seniors Reagan McDowell, Elysa Pitts, Marie Sierra and Karma Kasubaski; junior Branderia Graham, who has come on particularly strong late in the season; sophomore Krystel Amo; and freshman Katelyn Reed.

And the coach said that the Panthers have the potential to compete in the upcoming Division-I postseason if they can play up to their potential around those most consistent performers.

WOODLAWN HIGH VOLLEYBALL RECORDS
(10 years available in LHSAA archives)

year — record (percentage) — playoff result

2021 — 13-14 (.481) — Lost first round
2020 — 9-9 (.500) — Lost first round
2019 — 9-17 (.346) — Lost first round
2018 — 15-16 (.484) — Lost first round
2017 — 18-17 (.514) — Lost first round
2016 — 19-17 (.528) — Lost first round
2015 — 20-15 (.571) — Lost second round
2014 — 21-14 (.600) — Lost first round
2013 — 10-23 (.303) — Missed playoffs

Local volleyball programs support Woodlawn coach Maria Gonzalez, cancer awareness

Local volleyball programs support Woodlawn coach Maria Gonzalez, cancer awareness

A large crowd of familiar faces past and present packed the Woodlawn High gymnasium Monday as the volleyball team and opponent St. Joseph’s warmed up in coordinated black-and-teal shirts representing “Team Maria.”

The event was the latest in an impressive show of support for Panthers coach Maria Gonzalez in her battle with ovarian cancer.

“A lot of the schools bought the shirts or donated some type of money,”  she said. “Just wow, that’s all I can say. It was really nice. Parkview did their own game and donated the proceeds. Central played St. Joseph’s last Thursday, and they all wore the Team Maria shirts and took a picture and sent it to us. And Baton Rouge High surprised us at their tournament with the same teal and ‘MG’ on the sleeves kind of like ours.

“I was not expecting all of that, so it was a big surprise to me. It was very nice. It was special. It actually made me tear up. I don’t like to tear up, but it was good. It was just neat to see so many people.”

Gonzalez said many of her former Broadmoor or club players or parents from her daughter’s old club team were among the big crowd for the match against St. Joseph’s, which the Redstickers claimed in three sets.

“Some of them, I was very surprised,” she smiled. “Some of them, I had not seen since they graduated from high school, so that was kind of a shock. That was nice, and now I’ve got most of their numbers. I was definitely surprised.”

High school teams often wear pink during contest in October to help raise breast cancer awareness.

But this year, several programs around Baton Rouge donned teal — whether instead or in addition — to support a member of their local volleyball community.

Those displays of encouragement and camaraderie have been a meaningful highlight to a season in which the Panthers have already surpassed their 20-win goal.

“This season was a good season,” Gonzalez said. “There were some days where we couldn’t practice because I had chemo or I wasn’t feeling well, but the girls have dealt with it pretty well. There’s certain things that I would look at, ‘Oh, if I could’ve been at practice that day,’ but we fought through it, did well, did the best I could, and it ended up being a good season.

“So regardless of what happens, it was a good, fun season. They’ve done great — more than I could’ve expected — so I’m happy.”

Woodlawn Athletics Weekly Wrap: September 26 – October 2, 2022

Woodlawn Athletics Weekly Wrap: September 26 – October 2, 2022

While the final week of September did not have as many home events as the previous week, it still seemed busier than ever. Homecoming brought it’s normal festivities, along with packed stands Friday night at the football game. Volleyball, cross country, and swim were all in action as well. Tickets for all home events can be purchased online.

Cross Country

The Woodlawn cross country team made the short trip to Highland Road Park to compete in the St. Joseph’s Invitational. The meet was the largest meet that the Panthers have competed in this season, as over 590 boys ran Saturday morning.

Sophomore David Ferguson led the Panthers with a time of 20:02.03, which was a personal record. Freshman Liam Dowdy and seniors Jaden Sylvester and Dylan Aucoin all finished within six seconds of each other, at just over 23 minutes for the race. Dowdy’s finish (23:01.23) was also a personal record.

For our Lady Panthers, seniors Andrea Rodriguez and Kaitlyn Arceneaux each finished with personal records.

Coach Tim Spruill seemed pleased with the team’s performance Saturday.

“Liam and David each came out and set personal records today. So did Andrea and Kailyn,” said Spruill. “All I can do is ask our athletes to come out and push themselves to improve each week, while having fun and developing a lifetime love for running.”

Next up for Cross Country: Saturday, October 15 – Zachary Bronco Stampede at Port Hudson State Historic Site


Football

A busy Homecoming week began with the Woodlawn freshman and JV teams traveling to Walker High School on Monday, September 26. Both sub-varsity teams had strong showings, with neither team taking a loss. The freshmen were able to score twice, but also gave up two touchdowns, and finished with a 14-14 tie. Woodlawn’s JV team was too much for the Wildcats, as they came away with a 30-8 victory over Walker.

The varsity team looked to continue the momentum from the sub-varsity games when they took the field Friday night. In front of a packed stadium, the home team took a 14-6 lead into halftime on a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Rickie Collins to fellow seniors Clayton Adams and Tramon Douglas II.

Woodlawn (2-3) extended it’s lead to 21-6 when Adams had a 13-yard touchdown run, breaking several tackles on the way to the end zone, early in the fourth quarter.

Following two quick touchdowns and successful two-point conversions by the Wildcats, Woodlawn found themselves down 22-21 with 8:03 left on the clock.

The Panthers were not yet done scoring. Collins, Adams, senior running back Jay’veon Haynes and company pieced together an answer with a long drive and goal-line Collins run to pull back ahead, 27-22, with 3:05 to play.

However, the storybook ending would not be written in Woodlawn’s favor. With just 16 seconds remaining on the clock. St. James was able to take the lead, 28-22. The successful two-point conversion accounted for the final score, 30-27.

Woodlawn will host reigning Class 5A champion Zachary next Thursday in a District 4-5A opener that ESPN will broadcast to a national audience.

Next up for Football: Tuesday, October 4 – Freshman and JV at Zachary; Thursday, October 6 – Varsity versus Zachary


Swim

Woodlawn High School’s swim team had their best showing of the season, finishing third in the team ranking this past Saturday.

The boys’ team was led by James Skiles, Peyton Rodgers, and Trey Holiday, who each scored over 20 points in their races.

Skiles competed in both the 100 and 200 yard freestyle races. He finished fourth in the 200 yard freestyle with a time of 2:25.44 and collected 15 points for his team. Skiles finished with a time of 1:00.27 in the 100 yard freestyle, narrowly finishing sixth and netting 13 points for Woodlawn.

Rodgers competed against Holiday in the 200 yard individual medley, edging out his teammate for a fifth place finish with a time of 2:42.94. In the 100 yard butterfly, Rodgers also finished in fifth place. Rodgers totaled 28 points for the Panthers.

Holiday finished sixth in the 100 yard breaststroke with a time of 1:26.19 and seventh in the 200 yard individual medley with a time of 2:50.87. Holiday scored a total of 25 points in his individual races.

The boys 200 yard medley team consisting of John Cador, Holiday, Rodgers, and Zack Lemoine finished third with a final time of 2:07.75.

Kelis Kent led the Lady Panthers, winning a heat in the 50 yard freestyle and finishing fourth in the 100 yard backstroke with a time of 1:37.31.

The swim team will now prepare for the CCSL Championship Meet on October 28 and 29.

Next up for Swim: Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29 – Capital City Swim League Championship Meet at Crawfish Aquatics


Volleyball

In a slower week for the Lady Panther volleyball team (17-8), Woodlawn only competed in three matches this week.

The Lady Panthers began the week at Woodlawn Middle School due to a conflict with the rescheduled date of Open House. Woodlawn faced Port Allen in a three game set on Monday night, with the Lady Panthers varsity team coming away with a straight set victory, 25-15, 25-12, 25-17.

The next two matches for Woodlawn found the team traveling, first to Central Private for a match on Wednesday night. The Lady Panthers were pushed to four sets before earning the victory 25-11, 25-16, 24-26, and 25-13.

The final match of the week was held on Thursday night, with Woodlawn dropping the match in straight sets.

Woodlawn will be on the road for two of three matches this week. District 4-5A play will begin on Wednesday, when the Lady Panthers travel to Central.

Next up for Volleyball: Monday, October 3 – JV/Varsity versus Capitol; Wednesday, October 5 – Freshmen/JV/Varsity at Central; Saturday, October 8 – Freshmen/JV/Varsity at St. John of Plaquemine


Baseball Practices Begin

Now that October has come, baseball practices are set to begin. Those interested in playing baseball who are not participating in a Fall Sport should see Coach Kohn. A valid physical is necessary to participate.

Woodlawn Athletics Weekly Wrap: September 19 – September 25, 2022

Woodlawn Athletics Weekly Wrap: September 19 – September 25, 2022

The week of September 19th through September 25th proved to be one of the busiest weeks on campus this fall. The Rumble in the Jungle Volleyball Tournament hosted over a dozen teams on Friday and Saturday, and our Panther football team hosted the #1 ranked team in Class 3A on Friday night. Tickets for all home events can be purchased online.

Cross Country

For the second week in a row, our Panther cross country team competed in Brusly. Woodlawn had student-athletes run in the Brusly Cinclaire Run on the Levee.

Woodlawn was led by David Ferguson, Jaden Sylvester, and Liam Dowdy. All three boys turned in solid times. Ferguson led the Panthers with a time of 23:08.64, which was good enough for a top-25 finish.

“We were not able to score as a team today,” said Coach Tim Spruill. “But the runners we had here today showed up and did work! Given the conditions, our runners did very well.”

Senior Andrea Rodriguez was the only runner for our Lady Panthers.

Next up for Cross Country: Saturday, October 1 – St. Joseph’s Invitational at Highland Road Park


Football

The Panther football team had a full week, with the freshman and JV teams hosting Denham Springs on Tuesday, September 20th. While the freshmen dropped their first game of the season, the JV team remained undefeated, moving to 2-0 with the 26-14 win over the Yellow Jackets.

On Friday, the varsity team hosted the #1 ranked team in Class 3A, ED White. The Cardinals (3-1) came into the contest with an unblemished record and quickly jumped up on the Panthers (2-2), taking a 20-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

However, Rickie Collins and the Panther offense came alive before the break, scoring on a pass to Tramon Douglas to make the score 21-7 at the half.

In the third quarter, University of Louisiana-Lafayette commit Jay’veon Haynes reached the end zone to pull the Panthers to one score.

With just over nine minutes to play in the game, Woodlawn High finally broke through and took the lead following a Collins touchdown on a designed run.

After a touchdown by ED White put the Cardinals up by the score of 26-21, sophomore receiver Ryan Brown caught the go-ahead touchdown on a smash concept. Collins rolled to his right and found Brown, who made the leaping catch and reached for the front pylon for the score. The two-point conversion was successful, when Collins found Clayton Adams in the back of the end zone.

The Panther defense once again had a strong second half, holding the potent Cardinal offense to one score. Woodlawn also forced a 42-yard field goal attempt as time expired. The kick, which would have sent the game to overtime, fell short.

Homecoming Week and all the festivities that go along with it are now upon the Panthers. Woodlawn will host St. James, a perennial state-championship contender, Friday at 7 pm.

Next up for Football: Monday, September 26 – Freshman and JV at Walker; Friday, September 30 – Varsity versus St. James


Swim

Our Panther swim team placed 7th in the Capitol City Swim League Meet on Saturday, September 24. Woodlawn missed out on a sixth place finish by only one point.

Notable finishes include John Cador, who finished 5th in the 200 meter backstroke, James Skiles, who finished 6th in 100 freestyle, and Peyton Rodgers, who placed 9th in the 200 individual medeley.

In addition to the strong performances by these Panthers in individual races, the 200 freestyle relay team placed 5th, setting a school record! The new record holding team consists of Cador, Skiles, Trey Holiday, and Zach Lemoine.

The Panthers are back in action Saturday morning at Crawfish Aquatics.

Next up for Swim: Saturday, October 1 – Capital City Swim League at Crawfish Aquatics


Volleyball

For the second week in a row, Woodlawn’s volleyball team crammed as many games into a week as possible. The Lady Panthers (15-7) finished the week with seven wins to only one loss and a runner-up finish in the Rumble in the Jungle Tournament, falling to Chalmette in straight sets.

“Our varsity girls played a lot of games Saturday,” said coach Maria Gonzalez. “I know they were tired, but they sucked it up and played well, all the way to the finals. I’m proud of them.”

Two wins on Friday, followed by three wins on Saturday brought the Lady Panthers to the final matchup.

Woodlawn began the week with two wins on the road. The Lady Panthers traveled to West Feliciana on Tuesday, September 20 for a straight set victory. The next night, Woodlawn hit the road again, this time defeating Liberty in four sets.

Due to Open House being held on Woodlawn’s campus, the Lady Panthers will host Port Allen at Woodlawn Middle School, located at 14939 Tiger Bend Road.

Next up for Volleyball: Monday, September 26 – Freshmen/JV/Varsity versus Port Allen at Woodlawn Middle; Wednesday, September 28 – JV/Varsity at Central Private; Thursday, September 29 – Freshmen/JV/Varsity at Episcopal


Off-Season Tryouts/Practices Continue

The Panther Tennis Team will delay the start of their practice by two days. Practice, which was originally scheduled to begin on Monday, September 26th, will now begin on Wednesday, September 28th. Practice will be held at Southern Oaks Athletic Club for the fourth year in a row. Practices will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:00 – 4:00 pm.

Baseball practices will begin in October. Those interested in playing baseball who are not participating in a Fall Sport should see Coach Kohn. A valid physical is necessary to participate.