Kristen Nuss had to wipe away the tears Saturday night.
For Nuss and the six other Mount Carmel seniors, it was mixed emotions.
Their Mount Carmel volleyball careers had come to an end.
But it was a happy ending, capped off by them leaving their mark in a big way: with back-to-back titles.
No. 1 seed Mount Carmel (40-5) repeated as Division I champions with an easier-than-expected 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-17) victory over No. 2 Mandeville (36-7) at the Pontchartrain Center.
“It’s certainly a great way to go out,” said Nuss. “It’s been a great ride. It’s the last time I am going to put this jersey on. I’m speechless.”
It was the fourth title in six years for the Cubs and the 10th overall.
ST. THOMAS MORE 3, CABRINI 0: The power of three and the power of team. That’s what St. Thomas More relied on to claim its fourth straight Division II state title.
Cabrini made its first finals appearance since 2010.
The Crescents had the top power hitter in Rakell Spencer finished, who finished with a match-leading 16 kills.
But Cabrini was no match for the power front of St. Thomas More.
The play of Maddy Aucoin, Meredyth Howard and Maddy Morgan on the front line helped the Cougars net a 3-0 victory at the Pontchartrain Center.
“This team has been exceptional,” St. Thomas More Coach Jessica Burke said. “Obviously, they went through the regular season without dropping a game. Then after we lost in the last regular season game, we just took the time to refocus and went back to work.”
Behind their defense and power hitting, the Cougars (44-1) swept Cabrini 25-14, 25-19, 25-19. Not to be overlooked was the superb setting of Avery Breaux, who finished with 27 assists and who was named the Outstanding Player of the Game.
TEURLINGS 3, LUTCHER 1: Teurlings Catholic coach Terry Hebert said his team played its “best match of the year” in Friday’s semifinal win over Ursuline but his biggest concern was carrying that over into Saturday’s title game.
The top-seeded Rebels (32-8) did that and more with a 20-25, 25-20, 32-30, 25-12 four-set win over No. 2 Lutcher to claim the school’s third consecutive Division III championship.
POPE JOHN PAUL II 3, HANNAN 0: Top-seeded Pope John Paul II cruised to the Division IV state title against Hannan 25-23, 25-15, 25-23.
No. 2 seed Hannan, which plays in the same district as PJP, played a good match but couldn’t equal up against the Jaguars — a team some consider the best in state, regardless of division.
It was the second consecutive state championship for the Jaguars.
They finished with a 40-2 record with their only losses coming to the top seeds in Division I and II: Mt. Carmel and St. Thomas More. Hannan ended 35-8.
McGEHEE 3, ASCENSION EPISCOPAL 0: Val Whitfield-Dunn and five members of her McGehee volleyball team sat at the post match news conference table Saturday morning, clutched arm in arm.
It was a final display of the team’s motto also season long: “One.”
One team. One dream. One point at a time. One game at a time. One match at a time.
And with one final kill by sophomore Naya Gros, the Hawks got the “one” thing they desired more than anything: to be No. 1.
The kill by Gros capped a stellar performance as McGehee dismantled Ascension Episcopal 3-0 to claim the Division V championship.
“It feels good,” said Gros, a 6-foot-2 sophomore. “I love the sport. I love the game. I love my team.”
It was the first state title since 2008 for the top-seeded Hawks (42-4) and the sixth in school history. It was the fourth under Whitfield-Dunn, who also led the Hawks to titles in 2003, 2004 and the one seven years ago.
“They played as one and focused on one process at a time,” Whitfield-Dunn said. “They stayed as one unit. We are truly a family. McGehee is a family-oriented place, and our team represents that.”
McGehee finished 42-4 and wasted little time in showing it was ready to bring another title to Prytania Street.
The Hawks sprinted out to a 4-0 lead in the first game and went on to win that one 25-23. They got better as the match went on, winning 25-16 and 25-11 to close it out.
Gros finished with 22 kills and was named Most Valuable Player.