If you’re going to host a tournament, you might as well win it.
The Country Day volleyball team did just that Saturday evening when they defeated Bayside Academy of Daphne, Alabama 20-25, 25-21, 15-10 in the final of their own Maggie Millet Volleyball Invitational.
Country Day, a perennial power in Louisiana volleyball, was tops in the 16-team field, which boasted some of the state’s best squads; not to mention visiting Bayside — a Class 3A school from the Alabama Gulf Coast. The Class 1A Cajuns won each of the six matches they played in the tournament and improved their record to 26-3.
Bayside, which finished 5-1 in the tournament, is now 30-7. The visitors finished 5-1 in the Millet Invitational.
Country Day is not used to trailing in any match, much less on its own court. So after dropping the first set to Bayside, they were able to find inspiration to pull out a hard-fought win.
“I think in the first game, we were there, but were maybe a step behind,” Country Day senior Summers White said. “We were able to dig because we really wanted it. We came through. That was a really good team we played in the final.”
Country Day never led in the first game, but pulled ahead late in the second game to even the match. The Cajuns took a 9-4 lead in the third, and withstood a Bayside rally to hold on for the victory.
“I think offensively, Bayside had a ton of weapons and our defense kind of stepped up and battled them,” Country Day coach Julie Ibieta said.
Simone Becnel led the Cajuns with 10 kills. Jenna Ibieta had 24 assists and Maddie Leger added 17 digs. Samantha Henderson had three blocks to lead Country Day.
Ariel Dulaney led Bayside with 11 kills and 15 digs. Teammate Ansleigh Dailey had 23 assists and 10 digs.
Country Day defeated Sacred Heart and Bayside beat John Curtis to earn entry into the finals of the Gold Bracket, which was reserved for the teams with the best records in pool play.
In the Silver Bracket (which was made up of teams who finished in the bottom half of pool play,) Dominican defeated Northlake Christian. All tournament games used rally scoring, and each match was the best-of-three.