DENHAM SPRINGS – The Denham Springs volleyball team may not have won a district championship, but the 2018 team that’s headed for postseason play next week will still leave behind a legacy of sorts.
The Lady Jackets were one of seven teams statewide to receive the LHSAA’s Sportsmanship Award, an honor bestowed by the Capital City Board of Volleyball Officials.
“I’m very proud of the girls,” Denham Springs coach Pam Dubuy said. “It does reflect who we are as a team.”
The LHSAA, which first introduced the award four years ago, has asked each of its seven officials associations to nominate one team from their respective area.
Capital City Board of Volleyball Officials chose Denham Springs High School from a region that encompasses a total of 49 teams.
“It’s an honor, I didn’t expect it,” DSHS senior Olivia Alexander said. “I didn’t realize we would be one to get it. Coach said she had a surprise. It was exciting to get it on Senior Night.
“Our team is filled with great girls who are all sweet,” Alexander said. “I can understand why they would nominate us for that because all the girls on our team are so supportive, it doesn’t matter if you’re on our team or the other team.”
Dubuy waited until last Wednesday’s Senior Night match with Walker to share the news. They received a certificate from the CCBVO that evening and the entire team will be recognized with a plaque at the LHSAA High School All-Star volleyball match, Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. at Dominican High School in New Orleans.
“I think it’s definitely well earned,” DSHS senior Shelby Prest said. “All of these girls show amazing sportsmanship. They also pick up other girls. If someone has a great kill, we will tell them.”
The LHSAA began the program in 2014 in recognition for going “Beyond the Game”, with the hope of inspiring others through model sportsmanship, both on and off the court.
Dubuy said sportsmanship has always been an important virtue since taking over the program three years ago.
“To me sportsmanship is more important than wins and losses,” she said. “It’s not just how you carry yourself on the court, but off the court as well. It also reflects on the school, the community, the parents, the players and coaches. It reflects on everything. Sportsmanship has always been huge to me.”
The team honor simply reinforced what Prest already believed about her teammates.
“It made me feel this season was definitely worth something,” she said. “It’s something more than I thought. It’s not something you go around boasting about. It’s something that’s noticed. It’s very heart-warming that a bunch of people noticed.”
Alexander said it’s customary after every match, win or lose, that Denham Springs shakes hands with the opposing team and praises its play.
“They pat you on the back and tell you great game,” she said. “That’s nice to see they notice that. If we lose, we’re still going to tell you great game. That’s how we are.”
Nedda Taylor, assignment secretary for the CCBVO, said by definition, good sporting behavior means playing a game by the rules, respecting those rules, and being courteous to teammates, the officials, and the other team.
She said that a good sport, whether they’re ahead or win the contest, are respectful afterward and handle themselves with dignity and pride, something that’s exhibited by the entire team.
“If we don’t win anything at least we’ll have that to look back on,” Alexander said. “We’re going to go there (all-star game) with the same class and grace that we always do. It will be really fun, especially to go as a team. It’s something we can be proud of.”