Defending champion: Mount Carmel
How deep is the division? Division I volleyball is deep and balanced once again. All the remaining seeds have at least six losses and six have double-digit losses, which speaks to the parity the coaches see.
Who is the favorite? Well … that’s a tough one. Defending champion Mount Carmel is the top seed, but others, including No. 2 Mandeville, No. 3 St. Joseph’s Academy and No. 4 Barbe like their chances too.
Keep an eye on: Mount Carmel outside hitter Kristen Nuss, St. Amant hitter/blocker Maggie Duplechein (219 kills, 196 assists), St. Joseph’s setter/hitter Elise Gasperecz and Mandeville middle blocker/hitter Sam Gomez.
Defending champion: St. Thomas More
How deep is the division? This division has a reputation for extremes with the best being head-and-shoulders above most of the field. Central, seeded fourth, is the Cinderella newcomer. Traditional powers Assumption and Ben Franklin also loom.
Who is the favorite? St. Thomas More, without question. The Cougars were unbeaten until the title match of the Spooktacular tournament two weeks ago. That late loss reminded STM importance of bringing its best every game.
Keep an eye on: St. Thomas More middle blocker Morgan Vincent, Assumption outside hitter Hannah Brister, Cabrini middle Rakell Spencer, Central hitter Jordan Stephens. Coaches Sandy Fussell of Assumption (eight) and Jodee Pulizzano of Ben Franklin (six) have combined for 14 state titles.
Defending champion: Teurlings Catholic
How deep is the division? There’s usually a divide between the top four seeds and the rest. Teurlings and Ursuline are the most state tourney savvy with titles and runner-up finishes to prove it. Can Lutcher or Westlake or someone else break through? That’s a huge question.
Who is the favorite? Teurlings is again the top seed and favorite. But the Rebels will face challenges, including Lutcher, which has won 19 straight. You can never count out No. 4 Ursuline Academy. Westlake, the fourth-seed from the Lake Charles area, is the X-Factor because many coaches didn’t see much of them.
Keep an eye on: Lutcher’s hitter/blocker Jariel Turead signed with LSU on Wednesday and has 478 kills. Teurlings freshman hitter Jolie Hidalgo (302 kills), Parkview Baptist middle blocker/hitter Wesley Ann Foreman (328 kills) and Ursuline middle hitter/blocker Brianna McKay.
Defending champion: Pope John Paul II
How deep is the division? Outside of No. 9 seed Newman, which knocked off No. 8 Northlake Christian in the second round, the top seeds all made it to the quarterfinals.
Who is the favorite? Pope John Paul II is the favorite to repeat after winning its first title a season ago. Hannan, Epsicopal, Sacred Heart, Curtis and Notre Dame could all get hot and pull the upset.
Keep an eye on: Hannan outside hitter Hailey Cabeceiras and middle blocker Allee Morris, Pope John Paul’s II outside hitter/libero Ansley Tulis, Curtis outside hitter Sarah Drake, Sacred Heart’s Ellie Silvia, Notre Dame’s Grace Morgan (Rice signee) and Episcopal hitter Alexandra Mitchell.
Defending champion: Country Day
How deep is the division? Seven of the top eight seeds in the division reached the Pontchartrain Center. Top-seed McGehee, No. 2 Country Day, No. 3 Ascension Episcopal and No. 4 Ascension Catholic all appear to be in the mix to hoist the trophy.
Who is the favorite? Seedings make McGehee the favorite to win its fourth title under coach Val Whitfield-Dunn. According to recent history, Country Day is the favorite. The Cajuns have won six consecutive titles and nine overall.
Keep an eye on: Ascension Episcopal outside hitter Addie Vidrine; McGehee outside hitter Taylor Ducros; McGehee setter Julia Felix; Country Day setter Jenna Ibieta (committed to Tulane and has 948 assists, 268 digs and 238 kills), Country Day libero Maddie Leger 758 digs, 42 aces); Houma Christian’s Dionjhae “Dee” Thomas (averaged 25 kills per match), Catholic-PC outside hitter Brynne Babin, Ascension Catholic setter Michayla Spano.