In a match that saw more momentum changes than a pendulum, it was Ursuline that finally pulled out a victory over E.D. White in a Division III semifinal of the LHSAA Division III state volleyball tournament.
The Lions dropped the fourth set which knotted the score at 2, but they rallied to an 8-0 lead in the fifth-set tiebreaker. Ursuline won the semifinal match 25-19, 20-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-7; and advanced to the Division III championship.
There, they’ll meet defending champ and top-seeded Teurlings. That match is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, also at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.
Ursuline, the second seed in Division III, improved to 37-11. E.D. White, the sixth seed, which lost in last year’s final to Teurlings, finished 25-18.
Lauren Bagneris’ serving ignited the Lions in the decisive fifth set. She served eight consecutive points before E.D. White scored. By the time they did, their margin for error was minimal, and Ursuline made them pay. Brianna McKay ended the match on a kill through the heart of the Cardinals’ defense.
“Though we went up big (in the fifth set), we still had to take it one play at a time, and keep our heads in the game,” McKay said. “Now, we just have to focus on the title game.”
Coach Jay Jay Juan said his team’s intensity was key to the victory. He said he basically “had to throw out the playbook” considering the emotion taking place inside the Pontchartrain Center on Friday.
“They stretched us to the maximum potential today,” Juan said. “Feel the energy of that group right there. We come here to play for our school. The energy is incredible. It makes us proud. It’s a privilege to get back to the championship.”
The Lions jumped out to win the first set, after breaking open a 15-15 tie. They pulled ahead at 19-18, and won six of the last seven points to take a 1-0 lead. The second set was hard-fought, as well, with E.D. White breaking a 14-all tie and mounting a three-point lead, which they would not relinquish in the set. The two squads traded wins in the third and the fourth — setting up the tie-breaking finale.
Katherine Meiklejohn led Ursuline with 14 kills; and McKay added 11 kills and two blocks. Lauren Bagneris had three aces and 25 assists. Macie Grubbs and Rhonda Wilson combined for 56 digs.
TEURLINGS 3, PARKVIEW BAPTIST 0: The No. 1 seed in Division III advanced with a relatively easy victory over Parkview (31-10) in the early semifinal by scores of 25-18, 25-16, 25-20.
Kristen Hamilton led Teurlings (35-9) with 18 kills and Mackenzie Marze added 10 kills. Alyssa Breaux had two aces and 23 assists to pace the Rebels in the victory.