Ursuline made short work of De La Salle with a 25-18, 25-8 straight-set win at home in its second match on the first day of the Catholic League volleyball tournament Thursday.
The Lions (10-4) defeated St. Thomas Aquinas 25-11, 25-17 in their first match of the day.
“It’s always good to start these tournaments off with two wins,” Ursuline coach Jay Jay Juan said. “I think we served the ball really well and finished things off with our defense.”
Ursuline’s offensive attack against De La Salle was led by outside hitters Brianna McKay and Rhonda Wilson, who tied for the team lead with six kills. Macie Grubbs led the Lions with 11 digs, and Olivia Weinstein set up her teammates with 11 assists.
Jordan Rankins led De La Salle with four kills.
“We picked up our defense and started communicating really well at the end of the first set,” Wilson said. “We came together and finished the game strong. Once we did that, everything started clicking.”
Both teams went back and forth to begin the first set, exchanging points through the first seven points of the match before Ursuline began to separate themselves.
The Lions, the sixth-ranked small school in the New Orleans Advocate Sweet 16 poll, began forcing the Cavaliers (5-5) into mistakes and ended the game with a soaring kill from Wilson to take a 25-18 win.
Ursuline carried over its momentum from the first game to sprint out to a 14-2 lead in the second set and knocked down six aces before finishing De La Salle with a 25-8 win.
“Getting so many aces, we were able to take control of the game and get them out of their system,” Juan said. “We were just able to control that first-ball tempo and the first-set tempo. That was the difference.”
De La Salle coach Alan Segal said that while his team may have several new starters in key roles to begin the season, they must learn how to do a better job of sticking together during adversity.
“Ursuline does a really good job of playing as a team, and at this point, we really don’t,” Segal said. “We don’t have our starting setter (Rebeca LaCour) right now, but that wouldn’t matter if we did a better job of communicating and playing together the way Ursuline did (Thursday).”
The Cavaliers swept St. John 25-15, 25-6 in their first match of the day.