Northlake Christian had its sights set on a trip to the Pontchartrain Center this week for the annual volleyball State Tournament.
But to get there, the Wolverines would have to travel bumpy Uptown roads to get to Isidore Newman, then they would have to get past the defending Division IV state champions. But Newman put up the road block.
Behind the power hitting of senior outside hitter Katherine Bolyard, the No. 6 seeded Greenies overpowered No. 11 Northlake Christian, taking a three-game sweep to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Newman (27-13) will play No. 3 John Curtis at 12:40 p.m. at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. The Wolverines finished 18-13.
Bolyard led the Greenies with 11 kills and 12 digs. Cameryn Jones and Peyton LeCorgne had four blocks each. Julie Nelson and Jula Wellons both finished with 15 assists. Ashton Politz served up four aces.
Northlake Christian was led by Lexie White with 17 digs, seven kills, two blocks and five aces. Gabby Herrington seven kills and two blocks.
And that was pretty much the story of this regional match. The Greenies had many more weapons than Northlake Christian, which started two eighth graders. And the Wolverines made many more mistakes. The team made 22 errors in the first game which ended 25-11, 18 in the second, which ended 25-17, but only and four in the third, which Newman had to fight to take 25-19. The Wolverines forced seven ties in that final game, the last at 14 after losing a 14-13 lead.
“We just made more errors than they did,” Northlake Christian coach Shannon Puder said. “If we would have made half the errors we made in each set, we would have hung with them. They’re a great team. They’re the defending state champions. They have great blocks at the net.
“We’re young — I started two eighth graders and we only have two seniors. We had a roller coaster season. It’s good that we got here.”
Now the Greenies have are looking forward to the next game, but not necessarily to the state championship match, said Greenies coach Colleen Loerzel.
“I feel like, each year, a lot of people like to talk about that,” Loerzel said. “And while we have tons of girls with experience, we also are focused on the team that we are this year and (we’re) not worried about last year. These are different kids with a different chemistry. It’s not better or worse. It’s just this year’s team.”
And Loerzel said this year’s team will face a tough challenge trying to defend its title.
“I think our division is really strong,” she said. “We’ve got, I think, some teams that could win state that maybe won’t even make it to the Pontchartrain Center.
“We just have a really solid division this year. A lot of teams have just been beating each other up.”