This time around there was no upset.
Avenging an early-season loss in front of their home fans, Pope John Paul II defeated Archbishop Hannan in four games to advance to the Division IV state championship match at 11:30 a.m. Saturday against second-seeded Notre Dame.
Pope John Paul, which won 25-17, 25-18, 25-23, 27-25, will go for the school’s fourth consecutive crown. The Jaguars (36-5) were led by 20 kills from Camille Dedeaux and freshman Rachel Hartman’s 16 kills, four blocks and nine digs.
“This one lived up to the billing,” PJP II senior Sydney Neyland said. “We really wanted to come out and show one of our biggest rivals that we were ready to play from the start. The first time we played them we believed that we lost the game because of our mistakes. We showed everyone how good of a team we really are.
“We knew we had to come out from the start with high energy. I think we earned back a lot of respect with this win.”
Seeing their season ended by their cross-parish rival for the third consecutive season, Hannan (28-6) was led by Allee Morris’ 25 kills and 11 blocks. Senior Grace Lagalante had 41 assists and 13 digs, and Casey Aucoin finished with 10 kills.
“This one definitely stings,” Hannan coach Rebekka Bonnafee said. “We just made too many errors early in this match and that proved to be the difference. You simply can’t do that against a team as good as PJP II. I also thought there were times in the match where are nerves got the best of us. Despite all that, we were still in it late.
“This team never quit and never gave up. They could have mailed it in down 2-0 in the match, but refused to. They deserve credit for that.”
NOTRE DAME 3, UNIVERSITY HIGH 0: The second-seeded Pios easily advanced to the Division IV title game after a three-game sweep of University High (25-15 25-19 and 25-13) to advance to the Division IV title game Saturday morning against Pope John Paul II.
Anne Morgan led the way for Notre Dame (34-10) with nine kills.
Elise Doomes led the way for the Cubs (38-6) with five kills and Cathryn Coulter had three kills, four aces and 12 digs.
It was a difficult season on and off the court for the Cubs, who had to deal with the tragic loss of Brionna Ross, who died of viral pneumonia near the end of September.
“To this team’s credit and to these girls’ credit, they couldn’t have dealt with it any better,” Cubs coach Bonita Johnson said. “Death is something everyone is going to have to deal with at some point in your life. Unfortunately my team had to go through this at a young age. That’s the hard part. (Ross’ death) every day still has an impact on us in different ways. This made us become closer as a team and I’m proud of my girls.”