KENNER — Either way, the Division I championship match in Saturday’s LHSAA State Volleyball Tournament was going to pit New Orleans versus the Northshore.
As it turned out, top-seeded Mount Carmel will face No. 3 seed Fontainebleau, the defending champion, in a rematch of last year’s championship match on center court in the Pontchartain Center.
MCA, which won the crown in 2010, advanced by winning a five-set thriller over district rival Dominican in their fifth meeting of the season, while Fontainebleau made it by overpowering upstart Northshore in three sets. It was Fontainebleau’s fifth victory of the year over Northshore, the 10th seed.
Overall, it was a good day of semifinals for New Orleans teams, as Metairie Country Day got past Central Catholic and will face Episcopal of Acadiana in today’s 11 a.m. Division V final, Newman beat Riverside Academy to play in today’s 1 p.m. Division IV final against two-time defending-champion Notre Dame, and Ursuline Academy grinded out a victory over St. Louis and will play E.D. White in the 3 p.m. Division III championship match.
In MCA’s 25-22, 20-25, 23-25, 25-16, 15-10 win, Katie Kampen led with 27 kills, while Megan Davenport had 14 blocks. Jillian Clark had 24 assists and Regina Baxter 35 digs.
Kampen got trapped on the back row as MCA saw a 6-0 lead in the fifth set turn into a 9-7 deficit, before coach April Hagadone called a timeout in which she said it was “silly time” as she got the Cubs into “spirit mode.” The spirit included some very effective blocking that turned things around.
The Cubs improved to 41-4, with one of those losses coming in the two games they played against Fontainebleau.
“It’s another determination match at this point,” Hagadone said. “Just like it was against Dominican. This will be the tell all.”
Emily Daigle and Janaya Hampton led Dominican (33-10) with 15 kills apiece. Julia Daigle had 49 assists and Sophie Miller 14 digs.
Fontainebleau beat Northshore 25-14, 25-17, 25-16.
“Most of our losses came early and since then we’re in a little bit different rotation and different lineup,” Fontainebleau coach Danny Tullis said.
Nora Bloemer had 14 kills, Madison Heath 13 and senior Ava Zimmerman 11 and 20 digs for Fontainebleau. Setter Megan Meyer had 43 assists.
Northshore saw its season end at 26-12.
“Danny Davis had that team playing,” Tullis said. “They did a great job, and they’re a scary team and maybe a lack of experience was in our favor.”
“I’m very proud of from where we started to where we finished,” said Davis, the Northshore coach whose Panthers stunned second-seeded St. Amant in the quarterfinals. “We came up short against a very good Fontainebleau team. They’re the defending state champions for a reason, and they really handled their business today.”
Defending-champion Ursuline held on and avoided a fifth set against St. Louis, winning 25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 25-23.
“I’m blessed,” said Ursuline coach Jay Jay Juan, who also won at UA in 2009 and captured the 1999, 2000 and 2006 state titles while coach at MCA. “They took me in four years ago, when they were looking for a coach. I told them what I had in mind and those kids believe in the philosophy and the mindset.”
Lauren Barre had 10 kills and four aces, while Erin Regouffre added nine. Sarah Tyson had 16 digs.
Newman fell behind in the first set, but rallied for a 19-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-23 victory over Riverside. The Greenies relied on the one-two punch of Jamie Hawkins (30 kills) and Avery Rowan (26 kills, four kills).
“This is a group who’s played together a lot for Newman volleyball,” said Newman coach Colleen Loerzel. “They’ve been working hard and being committed, just like lots of teams out there, but they’ve been wanting to compete and leave it all on the floor.”
Riverside ended up 29-12 under first-year coach Chelsey Lucas-Nicholas. It was RA’s first time in the semifinals.
“We will be back here,” she told her team after the defeat.
Katherine Broussard had 23 kills and 10 digs as Country Day beat Central Catholic 25-20, 25-19, 22-25, 25-11. The senior just this week committed to Howard University.
Country Day is trying to win its fourth consecutive state championship, all against ESA in the finals.
“We have to come ready to play tomorrow,” coach Julie Ibieta said. (ESA) is a very good team. They’re very seasoned, have a ton of kids with a lot of experience, and they don’t give you a lot of free points. We’re going to have to earn them.”
It was a tough end in Division II for Cabrini, which lost to St. Thomas More of Lafayette 25-17, 25-20, 25-21 to end its season 31-11.
“So many silly mistakes. A lot of serving errors, a lot of hitting errors, beating ourselves,” said coach Greg Castillo, who lost on center court in 2009 to Assumption, lost to St. Thomas More in the 2010 quarterfinals, but then beat STM for the championship last year.
STM had beaten Cabrini in their only meeting this season, in the St. Joseph’s tournament.
“We were serving too easy and every pass they had was right to target so they could run their offense. We were playing safe out there instead of being aggressive.”