University High's season may have ended with a loss Friday morning in the Division IV state semifinals, but coach Bonita Johnson couldn’t be happier with her squad.
The third-seeded Cubs were swept by second-seeded Notre Dame of Crowley (25-15, 25-19, 25-13), falling short of its ultimate goal of a state championship.
Notre Dame advances to the Division IV title game to take on three-time defending champion Pope John Paul II at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
“It just wasn’t our match today,” Johnson said. “We just came out flat and could never keep up with the fast tempo Notre Dame brought. Our team played tough and I’m happy with the effort though. They played with all they could.”
Elise Doomes led the way for the Cubs (38-6) with five kills and Cathryn Coulter had three kills, four aces and 12 digs.
Anne Morgan led the way for Notre Dame (34-10) with nine kills.
It was a difficult season on and off the court for the Cubs, who had to deal with the tragic loss of Brionna Ross, who died of viral pneumonia near the end of September.
“To this team’s credit and to these girls’ credit they couldn’t have dealt with it any better,” Johnson said. “Death is something everyone is going to have to deal with at some point in your life. Unfortunately my team had to go through this at a young age. That’s the hard part. (Ross’ death) every day still has an impact on us in different ways. This made us become closer as a team and I’m proud of my girls.”
POPE JOHN PAUL II 3, ARCHBISHOP HANNAN 1: In arguably the best match thus far in the Division IV bracket, the Jaguars defeated the Hawks in 25-17, 25-1, 23-25 and 27-25 to advance to the Division IV state championship game.
The three-time defending state champions in Division IV, the Jaguars (36-5) were led by Camille Dedeaux’s 20 kills and two aces. Freshman Rachel Hartman had a big match as well, finishing with 16 kills, four blocks and nine digs. Kendall Battistella directed the PJP II offensive attack with 51 assists to go along with 16 digs.
Allee Morris was the top player for (28-6), finishing with 25 kills and 11 blocks. Grace Lagalante had 41 assists and 13 digs. Mia Migliore led the way for the Hawks with 16 digs.