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Scrappy Rebels volleyball team runs past Comets

RESERVE — After two weeks of ups and downs, the Riverside Academy varsity volleyball team brought it all together on the court Thursday night for a decisive win over St. Charles Catholic High School.

The Lady Rebels entered the game with a spotty 3-4 record for the season after Wednesday night’s rough loss to the Lutcher Bulldogs. Coach Brandi Melancon said she made a few changes this time around, including letting the team’s usual setter hit on the front row.

Riverside Academy conquered all three sets, ending with scores of 25-17, 25-18 and 25-10. Melancon said the Comets put up a good fight defensively, and she is proud of her girls for weathering the storm to earn the victory.

“We had a blast. We were able to put together an offense tonight, and I think that’s what helped us with our win against a very good, defensive St. Charles,” Melancon said. “We were able to spread the ball around. We even had some success in the back row attacking tonight.”

She added that there wasn’t any one person who stood out. It took teamwork to get the job done.

“We came together at the same time. I’m super proud of my girls for putting it all together tonight,” Melancon said.

With only one senior and one junior starter this year, success is reliant on a group of eighth, ninth and 10th grade girls who are slowly but surely building experience.

Melancon said Riverside’s primary goal this season is to get a little better every time they step onto the court, whether it means excelling in practice or in an official game.

“Our main focus this week is developing hitters. We are a smaller team, so our focus if we’re going to be successful is learning how to run an offense,” Melancon said.

Reagan Stanley, one of the youngest volleyball fans in the gym, wasn’t sure which team to cheer for. She wore a shirt representing both Riverside and St. Charles Catholic.

Another complication this season has been COVID-19 safety precautions. For a while, it was uncertain whether a normal season would be possible. The situation has improved since Louisiana moved to Phase Three on Sept. 11, allowing more spectators to return to the stands.

“It seems like the guidelines change every week, but we’re very happy and fortunate that they are letting us play. We’ve had the same attitude since the beginning. We’re willing to do whatever they want us to do in order to play,” Melancon said.

“Getting back to normal feels good for our players and coaches. This week we were able to add in some more fans, so it added a little atmosphere into it. It always makes for more fun.”

Riverside Academy has a full schedule next week, starting with a home game against Lutcher Tuesday night. The Lady Rebels will have a chance for redemption since the last game against the Bulldogs ended in 12-25, 15-25 and 3-25 losses.

Next up on the schedule is a Wednesday match-up against Destrehan, followed by another Thursday game against St. Charles Catholic. This time, the game will take place on the Comets’ home base.

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