Newman’s volleyball program certainly is no stranger to the playoffs. Neither is the team at Northlake Christian.
A very talented Greenies club won a battle of perennial contenders on Monday evening in a Division IV playoff at Northlake Christian. Newman, the No. 9 seed in Division IV, defeated No. 8 Northlake 28-26, 25-11, 25-12 to advance to the state tournament beginning Thursday at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.
Next up for Newman is top-ranked Pope John Paul II — the defending state champion.
“We’re not concerned about who we’re playing,” Newman coach Colleen Loerzel said. “We just want to play the game we can. They have a great team, but we’re going to focus on ourselves and leave everything that we have out on the court.”
The first set on Monday was a back-and-forth affair, with Newman climbing to a 4-0 lead only to watch Northlake jump back with a pair of net violations by the Greenies and a kill to make the score 6-3. Northlake kept applying pressure and eventually tied the set at 18, but Newman ran off five straight points. The Wolverines came back to tie the match at 23 and 26, but a net serve by Northlake and a kill by Peyton Lecorgne ended the game.
Newman (20-15) flexed its muscle in the second set by taking an 11-0 lead behind the serving of Julia Nelson. Northlake called a time out with a 6-0 deficit but couldn’t recover from the huge point disadvantage. Angele McClain knuckled a kill to the center of the Northlake defense to give the Greenies the second-set win.
The Greenies came out strong again in the third, opening an 8-1 lead and eventually closing out the home team.
“It was extremely important for us to stay focused and get momentum back after that tough first set,” McClain said. “We were able to communicate out there and pull it through.”
McClain said she’s not worried about her next opponent. As a senior, she’s happy to be at the Pontchartrain Center one more time.
“I’m very confident,” she said. “We are going to focus on us. I think we will do well.”
Northlake Christian (16-11) struggled to find any traction after nearly winning the first set.
“We just doubled our errors,” coach Shannon Puder said. “We became less aggressive and couldn’t pass or serve receive. ...Everything just kind of dropped off.”
Lecorgne led Newman with 10 kills. Cameryn Jones and Aailyah Burras both had four blocks, and Lillie Kuhn had 18 digs. Nelson had five aces in the win.