Ascension Episcopal played for the Division V championship on Saturday.
Unfortunately for the Blue Gators, Friday had taken its toll on them.
One day after an epic semifinal victory over Country Day in the semifinals, Ascension Epsicopal fell 3-0 to McGehee in the championship game at the Ponchartrain Center.
“You can only refill the tank so much after a marathon like we had (Friday),” Ascension Episcopal coach Jill Braun said. “I just didn’t think we had enough in the tank to overcome a really good McGehee team today.”
McGehee, the top-seed in the division, defeated No. 3 AES 25-23, 25-16, 25-11 to win the school’s sixth state title.
Episcopal (29-10) will have to wait for that elusive championship.
The Blue Gators, in their seventh season of fielding an LHSAA team, reached the quarterfinals in their first three years, the semifinals the next two and now have lost in the title game the past two seasons.
They avenged last year’s title game loss Friday in a 2½ hour match that saw them outlast six-time defending state champion Country Day 25-23, 35-33, 31-33, 27-25, 18-16.
“It’s one thing to realize you beat a six-time champion, but it’s another to have that same fire again,” senior Mary Catherine Franques said. “We were just mentally exhausted.”
Franques finished with 39 digs.
Freshman Addie Vidrine, who had 49 kills on Friday, finished with just 10 Saturday to go with her 16 digs and three aces.
“It was hard,” Vidrine said.
AES fell behind 4-0 in the first game before rallying to take its first lead at 12-11 on a kill by Vidrine.
But it wasn’t nearly enough on this day as fatigue took its toll as the match went on.
“Not to take anything from McGehee, but if we didn’t have an epic marathon yesterday, I think these girls could have given them a run for their money,” Braun said.
McGehee sophomore Naya Gros finished with 22 kills and was named Most Valuable Player.
“They are an excellent team,” Braun said. “Not only do they have No. 16 (Gros), but they have a defense that was impeccable. And they have other hitters who support her well. I thought we were exhausted and overmatched. Hats off to them.”
Maddie Mosing had nine blocks and Caroline Cordova finished with 13 assists.
“(Friday) was the match of the century,” Braun said. “Hats off to these kids for the tenacity As far as I’m concerned, they overcame a giant. Country Day had won six straight state championships in a row. They showed what they were made of. It’s just hard to come back the next day after a marathon like yesterday.”
For Braun, it capped off what was still a successful season, especially considering the Blue Gators started the season with a slew of injuries and wining just two of its first 10 games. They responded by winning 13 of their next 15 and eventually reached the title game.
“We lost in three sets, but my girls can look at themselves and say they left it all on the court,” Braun said.