For the second straight weekend, Mount Carmel won six games in two days and came away with the Vandebilt Catholic volleyball championship, this one at the Pontchartrain Center in a sweep over Pope John Paul II in a battle of top-ranked schools in the New Orleans Advocate’s volleyball rankings.
Mount Carmel is ranked No. 1 in the large school rankings, while PJP is ranked No. 1 in the small school rankings.
“We’re so excited,” said Mount Carmel’s Marissa Lagasse, who was named to the all-tournament team. “We wanted to show what we could do, and we did.”
The victory improved Mount Carmel’s record to 30-4.
“Pope John Paul is one of the best teams in the state. ... We knew we knew we had a fight,” Mount Carmel coach April Hagadone said. “We persevered, we got through and came back from a deficit. I’m proud of the fight and the heart this team showed today.”
The Cubs won the first game 25-23. They were down 15-13 before going on a 5-0 run to take the lead for good. PJP went on a run of their own, but Mount Carmel managed to hold them off.
The Jaguars got off to a strong start in the second game and built up 18-11 lead. A decisive third game seemed inevitable. However, Mount Carmel staged a furious comeback to cut the Jaguars’ lead down to 22-21 and eventually took a 25-24 lead.
“(I told them) to take it one point at a time,” Hagadone said. “All we needed was two or three points on a push, and we’d be right back in the game ... and they did it, they took it.”
The teams traded several points until Kristen Nuss scored the tournament-clinching point.
“That just shows the fight this team has to come back against a team like that,” Nuss said. “I’m excited. I’m so happy for this team.”
Nuss was named MVP of the tournament, but was quick to deflect credit.
“It feels great, but I couldn’t have done it without this team,” she said.
The loss dropped Pope John Paul to 29-3 on the year.
“It was very, very tough,” Jaguars coach Rachel Battistella said. “I was proud of our girls. They didn’t give up. ... We just came up a little short today.”