Large Schools

Most Valuable Player

Kristen Nuss, Mount Carmel, Sr.

When Kristen Nuss tried out for the volleyball team during her freshman year at Mount Carmel, she was a devotee of basketball.

“I was all about basketball then,” she said. “I didn’t know much of anything about volleyball. I had played it in grammar school, but that was about it.”

Mt. Carmel coach April Hagadone recognized that, but she saw huge potential.

“Kristen is the best athlete I’ve ever coached,” Hagadone said. “But when she came to me, she was raw. She didn’t have all the technique down, and she didn’t know the game as well as the others. I told her, ‘I’m going to turn you to volleyball.’ She said, ‘No way, Coach.’ But here we are now, and she’s been to four straight volleyball state championship games and she’s helped us win three of them.”

Nuss was the face of Mt. Carmel volleyball this season. She led the Cubs to a 40-5 record and was named MVP of Division I, District 8; of the East/West All Star Game; and of the Division I title game, which Mt. Carmel won in a sweep over Mandeville. She also was named Louisiana’s Gatorade Player of the Year.

For all of that, Nuss is The New Orleans Advocate’s Most Outstanding Large Schools Volleyball Player for 2015.

An outside hitter, she led Mt. Carmel in kills (571) and had a .446 kill percentage and a .365 hitting percentage. She had 296 serve receives and was second on the team in digs (625) — remarkably high defensive stats for a hitter.

Hagadone said she had designs a few years ago on making Nuss her libero because of her defensive abilities. But when Nuss had the highest vertical jump on the team, she knew she would have to keep her on the front line.

Nuss has used her athleticism to excel in other sports. She was a starting guard for Mt. Carmel’s state championship basketball team in 2014, and she was a key player on the school’s soccer team, which reached the title game earlier this year. She has chosen to stick with volleyball after high school, however, and will play sand volleyball at LSU.

“The way she goes back and forth from sport to sport and plays at such a high level is incredible,” Hagadone said. “The fact that she chose volleyball in college over the other sports makes me smile.”

The team

Kayla Jones Chappelle Senior

Rakell Spencer Cabrini Senior

Allison Olsonoski Ben Franklin Senior

Marissa Lagasse Mt. Carmel Senior

Toni Corso Belle Chasse Senior

Bailey Hepting Cabrini Senior

Sam Gomez Mandeville Junior

Caroline Golden Lakeshore Junior

KK Haley Mandeville Junior

Allison Weimer St. Scholastica Junior

Ellie Holzman Mt. Carmel Freshman

Coach of the Year

Kasey Laird/Cabrini

Small Schools

Most Valuable Player

Camille Dedeaux, Pope John Paul, So.

There’s not much harder in sports than being asked to play a new position.

Pope John Paul II volleyball standout Camille Dedeaux knows that first-hand. After spending her freshman year as an outside hitter, she moved to the right side in 2015 to fill the hole created when former all-state player Christina Cutura graduated.

Dedeaux was up to the challenge — and then some.

She was a vocal leader in Pope John Paul II’s run to a 36-2 record and a second consecutive Division IV state championship. She was one of three players on the team, along with Marlena Cutura and Ansley Tullis, to record more than 400 kills, and she was named MVP of Division IV, District 4. Her play was one of the many reasons the Jaguars finished the season ranked first in Louisiana and among the top 50 teams in the country by MaxPreps.

Dedeaux is The New Orleans Advocate’s Most Outstanding Small Schools Volleyball Player for 2015.

“I was a little nervous (about moving to the right side),” Dedeaux said. “I wasn’t sure how I would do. I had to embrace it.”

PJP assistant coach Danny Tullis said Dedeaux was a perfect fit for the position. After being in more of a ball control role last season, the sophomore was able to cut loose this year with big hits on the right side. Tullis said it’s not often that a team’s kills leader plays that spot, but he added that Dedeaux is not “all offense.”

“A lot of teams don’t play with their big hitter there, but our setter (Milayne Danna) is very talented, and she can get the ball to Camille so she can put it down,” he said. “And Camille is the complete package. Her jump serve is really hard, and she can put up a nice block. She’s really strong on the back line, too. She can hit winners back there, and she’s not afraid to get on the floor for a dig.”

Dedeaux, who is 5-foot-10, said because the Jaguars have a wealth of talent, she’s able to play comfortably wherever she lines up.

“My team is just great,” she said. “We’re like a family. We all just get along really well. Being a part of something where everyone is working for the same goal and wanting to succeed is amazing. … When we play a Mount Carmel or a St. Joseph’s or a Cabrini, we may be from a smaller division, but we know we can hold our own. We don’t fear anyone on the court. We have confidence in ourselves, and that goes a long way.”

The team

Taylor Ducros McGehee Senior

Julia Felix McGehee Senior

Brianna McKay Ursuline Senior

Sarah Drake Curtis Senior

Ellie Silvia Sacred Heart Senior

Jordan Rankins De La Salle Senior

Jenna Ibieta Country Day Junior

Milayne Danna Pope John Paul II Junior

Marlena Cutura Pope John Paul II Senior

Naya Gross McGehee Sophomore

Hailey Cabeceiras Hannan Sophomore

Coach of the Year

Val Whitfield-Dunn/McGehee