Very few folks who follow volleyball in the state of Louisiana will be surprised that this year’s Division I state championship match is a repeat of last year’s.
Mount Carmel, the No. 1 ranked team in the New Orleans area, and St. Joseph’s, the No. 1 ranked team in the Baton Rouge area, will meet today at 7 p.m. in the finale of Championship Saturday at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. It is a rematch of last year’s final — won by St. Joseph’s in five games. But it also is this year’s “rubber match.” These teams have met four times this season, either in regular games or tournaments. Each has won two.
“This is the game we wanted,” said Mount Carmel’s Katie Kampen. “St. Joe’s is a great team. It’s going to be an awesome match.”
“We know St. Joe’s’ is good,” said Mount Carmel coach April Hagadone. “We’re so pumped and we’re so excited. Hopefully it ends differently this time.”
Said St. Joseph’s Sydney Davis: “We’ve worked all year for this, and getting here is an amazing feeling.”
To get here, though, both had to get past a plucky pair of semifinalists. St. Joseph’s, the No. 1 seed in the Division I bracket, took on No. 4 St. Amant, making its second semifinals appearance in a row. While the Gators had some solid hitters, they were no match for the power-hitting Redstickers, who took the match 25-8, 25-19, 25-20.
Madison Daigle led St. Joseph’s with 17 kills and Davis had 13. Melissa Currier had eight blocks. Elise Gasperecz had 41 assists and five blocks. Katherine Young had 20 digs while Melanie Miller had 18.
St. Amant (31-12) was led by Kourtney Gremillion with nine kills and seven assists. Maggie Duplechein had seven kills, 14 assists and 10 digs. Alli Duplechein had eight blocks, seven kills and two aces.
“They are a very scrappy team,” said St. Joseph’s coach Sivi Miller. “They’re very good defensively. We knew that. We played them in the beginning of the year, but they are a much better team than they were then.”
The No. 2 seeded Mount Carmel beat No. 3 seed Barbe, which was making its first appearance in the semifinals in quite some time. The Bucs won a title in 1989. But despite having a short-lived lead in all three games, the Bucs (38-6) fell to Mount Carmel in three games, 25-18, 25-21, 25-22.
Kampen led the Cubs with 18 kills. Kristen Nuss added 16. Marissa Lagasse had eight blocks, Kellie Kampen nad 21 digs, Kristen Nuss had 19. Jillian Clark had 36 assists and two aces.
Barbe was led by Ebony Lewis and Peyton Montgomery who had 10 kills each. Julia Papani had 30 assists. Anne-Marie Selt had 22 digs.
Barbe coach Katie Kennedy and St. Amant coach Allison Didier said theirs are teams to keep an eye on for the future.
“I’m so proud of my girls for how far they’ve come,” Kennedy said. “It is a statement season. We’ve just got to gain experience and get back here again.”