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 on Friday night to help close out the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Volleyball tournament on Saturday night.
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 STM. 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.
That work paid off with post-season playoff sweeps of its next four opponents — Central Lafourche, Academy of Our Lady, Belle Chasse and Cabrini.
The Crescents also left the Pontchartrain Center with heads held high and with the support of a raucous group of fans who turned out to cheer the team on. Cabrini finished 28-12 under first-year coach Kasey Laird, herself a former Crescent player, state champion (2007) and MVP.
“This season has been kind of a whirlwind,” Laird said. “It seems like it just started yesterday. This is the biggest group of fighters I’ve ever seen. We fought against some of the best teams in the state. We fought hard all this weekend. They’re a special group of girls and I couldn’t be prouder. It just wasn’t our day.”
The team also turned Spencer, one of the Metro area’s top basketball players, into a tremendous volleyball player.
“I wanted to play volleyball but, when I first started, I didn’t even know how to,” Spencer said. “Everybody thought I was just a basketball player. I couldn’t even block. I used to stand and jump against the wall. (Assistant) Coach Mary (Cordeiro), she believed in me and I appreciate her for that.”