The Dominican volleyball team fought their way into the Pontchartrain Center for the LHSAA Volleyball State finals in November. They bested the competition through the quarter and semi-finals, ending a successful season as Division I State Runner-Up.
Throughout the season, the team paved their own path to finals. On Friday, Nov. 15, the team dominated the semi-final game against Mandeville High with a 3-1 win. This match was especially representative of the team’s growth, according to Mrs. Jessica Chatellier, the team’s head coach, who was honored with the title of Division I Coach of the year.
“Friday’s game was a culmination of everything they had done this season,” said Mrs. Chatellier. “They really have made leaps and bounds to play like this.” She said the game reflected the dedication the girls had put forth since day one.
The tournament was a return visit to the Pontchartrain Center for Mrs. Ashlee Juhas (’04), the team’s assistant coach, who went to the state tournament in 2003 under Mrs. Chatellier’s coaching. “It was really exciting to have the experience of state from two different levels, both as player and as coach, especially with her [Mrs. Chatellier],” Mrs. Juhas said.
The team, consisting of four upperclassmen and eight underclassmen, is affectionately known as the Fuzzy Dozen. The captains – sophomore Kate Baker, setter, and senior Ally Firmin, defensive specialist – led with a calm authority, according to the team. “We were really focused on bringing energy and confidence to our fellow teammates,” said Baker.
The team boasted multiple standout players. Senior Olivia Peyton, middle blocker, was named All-District MVP with a total of 400 kills and 40 blocks this season. Other players who made All-District are Baker and sophomore Brooke Couret, first team; junior Elizabeth Hardouin, second team; and honorable mentions, freshmen O’Neil Haddad and Zoe Smith.
Additionally, Peyton, Baker, and Hardouin were selected to the Louisiana Volleyball Coaches Association’s All-State team. The three players were picked for the All-Metro team as well with Couret selected as an honorable mention. Baker and Peyton were also chosen to the 2019 Clarion Herald Elite Team.
Part of the team’s recipe for success was the energy provided by students and fans at games. “We wouldn’t have made it [to the finals] without our amazing seniors on the team and the student body. Our fans are a huge part of our success,” said Hardouin, a defensive specialist for the team.
Senior Kennedy Payne was one of those dedicated DominiFans. “Going to volleyball games just fills you up with passion for your school,” said Payne. “It’s amazing to see everyone have so much pride in Dominican.”
“Although we didn’t take the state championship, I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Mrs. Chatellier said. “These girls have been so incredible, and I think we’ll be in a great place for next season.”
- Olivia Olson