Many of the area’s top volleyball teams meet in nondistrict matchups just days before the playoffs to prepare the postseason.
Two teams expected to earn high seeds in the playoffs met Wednesday evening.
Country Day got the better of St. Scholastica in this nondistrict contest. The Cajuns, buoyed by exceptional defense and the deft setting of Jenna Ibieta, defeated the Doves, 25-18, 23-25, 25-18, 25-19 at the SSA gym in Covington.
SSA is ranked No. 5 in the New Orleans Advocate’s Large School listing. Country Day, the defending Division V champion, is ranked No. 3 in the small school listing.
Country Day (28-8) totaled 85 digs against the high-powered SSA front line.
“I feel like we played a great match today,” Country Day coach Julie Ibieta said. “I think it was the most consistent match we played all year. Their two middles did a great job, but we were able to defend, which really is a nice thing to see. Our goal is to get better every week and truly, we’re a different team than we were at the beginning of the season.”
Senior Maddie Leger has shined throughout the year, and she was especially effective against SSA (21-9.) Leger had 24 digs against the Doves and fired off six consecutive points on serve in the fourth game to help the Cajuns clinch the match.
“This was very important,” Leger said of the win. “Our biggest problem has been being consistent. But we were consistent (Wednesday night), and that’s why we were successful. If we can keep that up, we’ll do fine in the playoffs.”
SSA jumped to an early lead, but Country Day answered. Trailing 4-1, the Cajuns went ahead 12-7 and maintained a lead of a couple points until the end of the game. Freshman Alex Smith saved a ball on an SSA kill attempt, and then recovered later in the rally to pound a kill to put the Cajuns up 18-14. A trio of unforced errors by the Doves helped Country Day ease to a 21-15 lead.
Junior Samantha Henderson ended the set when she knuckled a kill to the heart of the SSA defense.
The Doves kept things close to start the second set; trailing only 13-11 after a kill by freshman Caroline Conwill. They tied it on a kill by senior Samantha Zelden, and the scored toggled back and forth from that point. SSA closed it on a winner from the backcourt.
Country Day took an early lead in the third set and hung on for the majority of the game. The Cajuns went up 24-18 when Kenadi Maupin had a tip for a winner, and they ended the set on another tip from Juliet Cimini.
In the fourth set, the Cajuns rode Leger’s serving to a 16-10 lead, and they held off any Doves’ comeback.
Henderson had 11 kills, and Ibieta added 10 kills, 32 assists and 13 digs. Cece Tyson had 12 digs for Country Day.
Allison Weimer led SSA with 17 kills. Gabby Chaix added 12 kills, and Molly Brown had 34 assists.