By Kyle Roberts
Already history makers, Ruston High School volleyball will now travel to Lafayette, La., today for its first trip to the State Volleyball Championships after winning the first two rounds at home in the last seven days.
And Ruston head coach Mandy Cauley knows the environment that the Lady Bearcats are heading into at the Cajundome: loud and chaotic, with multiple matches likely going on at once.
Cauley went in 2021 with Calvary Baptist out of Shreveport as an assistant coach when the Lady Caveliers made to the State Volleyball Championship.
“They’re going to feed off my energy,” Cauley said. “So, I’m trying to stay calm in the chaos. It’s a phrase I’ve been using a whole lot, and it’s how I want them to approach their mindset and how I want them to approach playing. When things get hectic, I want us to be able to take a deep breath and find the calm to play volleyball the way we’ve been playing volleyball.”
The Lady Bearcats will leave this morning and head to Lafayette to practice before going to the hotel for downtime.
“We’re required to be there an hour-and-a-half before the match,” Cauley said. “You’ll come through a tunnel, and everybody will be checked in and then straight off to take pictures. And then they funnel you to a locker room area while the match prior to yours is being played.”
No. 7 Ruston comes into the contest to take on its the team that ended their postseason last year in No. 2 overall Mt. Carmel.
“They are very, very good,” Cauley said. “When we went to their facility last year for round two, I went as a mom and went into the foyer of their gym. There’s just a literal mountain of trophies. It’s intimidating, and I’m sure they do that on purpose. They’re very seasoned. I’ve watched probably five different matches of theirs; I feel like I have an idea of what they’re going to be able to do, but I also know what we’re able to do.”
The match is scheduled for 8 p.m. depending on the pace of the other matches before.