Ugly Christmas sweaters, challenging southern competition and going undefeated- what more could Natchitoches Central Volleyball ask for?
“Nothing!” says head coach Kerri Kiercofe. Last Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14-15, Natchitoches Central Volleyball hosted its first-ever “Christmas in October” tournament. Named after what Natchitoches is best known for, coaches came decked out in Christmas sweaters, light-up antlers and beads, while players donned red and green hair ribbons and festive socks. With over 10 teams playing over the two-day schedule, it was all hands on deck for the Chiefs.
On Natchitoches Central’s schedule was University Laboratory School of Baton Rouge, Brusly High School of Brusly, Iowa High School of Iowa, West Feliciana High School of St Francisville and Mentorship Academy of Baton Rouge. Never having played four of the five teams previously, the Chiefs were excited to see how they would match up against the southern teams.
With University Lab School first on the schedule, the Chiefs prepared themselves for what they knew would probably be their most challenging game of the weekend. The preparation paid off, as the Chiefs played consistently and harmoniously to take the first set 25-12. As expected, U-Lab picked up the pace in the second set, serving more aggressively and running a faster offense. Still, this was no match for the Chiefs who closed the set 25-17. Emboldened by their win, the Chiefs stepped into the Brusly match confidently, sweeping them 25-13 and 25-14.
The Chiefs continued their winning streak on Saturday, first with Iowa High School. Natchitoches Central faced Iowa in a tournament last season, and they hoped to repeat their victory. The Chiefs played energetically, quickly closing the game with set scores of 25-10 and 25-13.
Next on Central’s hit list was West Feliciana High School of St. Francisville. St. Francisville posed a greater challenge, with more height and more aggressive hitters than Iowa. The Chief’s block and defense quickly shut them down with set scores of 25-10 and 25-15 proving the St. Francisville team to be no match for the Chiefs. Last on the schedule was Mentorship Academy. The Chiefs closed their last game of the weekend effortlessly with set scores of 25-8 and 25-10. Sophomore and right-side hitter Ainsley Weeks said, “It was a really fun weekend for us, and I think the game against University Lab showed us how well we can play together. We hope to translate that to playoffs!”
Stat leaders for the weekend include outside hitter Bailey Newlee with 39 digs and 8 aces, outside hitter Chloe Coutee with 17 kills, middle blocker Makira Carpenter with 4 blocks, and setter Addison Teddlie with 63 assists. The Chiefs are currently ranked eighth for Louisiana Division 1 High School Volleyball and most recently challenged Evangel Christian Academy at home, Tuesday, Oct. 18.