Ursuline Academy is heading back to the state volleyball tournament ready to make new memories.
The second-seeded Lions earned a 25-20, 25-10, 25-9 Division III regional playoff victory against 18th-seeded Thomas Jefferson on Monday, the latest step in earning their fourth state title under coach Jay Jay Juan.
Brianna McKay led Ursuline with 16 kills, and Katherine Meiklejohn added 11 kills. Jessica Adddvensky had four kills. Combined, their effort against Thomas Jefferson gives junior Lauren Bagneris an opportunity to relive her freshman year memories at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.
“That was the best felling in the entire world,” said Bagneris, who two seasons ago, was a secondary setter. “The energy was amazing, the experience was amazing. I haven’t experienced anything like it since, and I’m really looking forward to playing like that again with my other teammates on Thursday.”
Ursuline (34-11) will play seventh-seeded Iota at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Iota defeated 10th-seeded Lusher Charter on Monday in five sets.
Juan was pleased that his Lions were able to advance while “getting the jitters” out. Ursuline had a bi-district bye.
“I want them to focus on what’s in front of them, and that might be a pass, hit, block, etc.,” Juan said. “We weren’t really doing that early, but that was the jitters. Once we did, we ended up passing the ball real well.”
Two seasons ago, Katherine Meiklejohn was still a member of Ursuline’s junior varsity squad. She watched the third of Ursuline’s runs to a state title (2009, 2011-12) from the stands.
“I just wanted to be on the court to play with them,” Meiklejohn said. “Watching them play as a team, made me really want to be part of that team more.”
Now, she is.
Dajone Baker led Thomas Jefferson with five kills 14 digs. Danielle Sullen had 13 assists, and Symone Killebrew added four blocks. Alyssa McGuire had 14 digs.
“We’re only losing two seniors; I told the girls they know what it took to get here,” Thomas Jefferson coach Emily Cormier said. “And we’re all looking to go forward from here.”