The Cajuns of Metairie Park Country Day continued their stranglehold on the Division V volleyball scene, capturing their sixth-consecutive state championship with a 25-9, 21-25, 27-25 and 25-9 win over Ascension Episcopal on Saturday morning at the Ponchartrain Center in Kenner.
With the win, the Cajuns (40-6) move into fourth place all-time for overall state championships with nine. Their sixth straight state titles are also the third-longest streak in LHSAA history, trailing only Newman’s seven straight (1995-2001) and Episcopal School of Acadiana’s 16 in a row (1987-2002).
“We came into this season with a mixture of veterans and newcomers,” Cajuns coach Julie Ibieta said. “You have to give a tremendous amount of credit to our three seniors for picking up the leadership role. Winning state championships, of course, never gets old. Each year and, for us, each state championship squad has a different personality that started from scratch and grew as the season progressed.”
Country Day was led by Simone Becnel and Caroline Perlis, who each had 13 kills. Summers White added 12. Maddie Leger had 32 digs and Jenna Ibieta was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after 42 assists.
“It was a back-and-forth game early on,” Perlis said. “But we were able to pull it together when we needed to. We regrouped after the second game and realized the focus had to be on the next game in front of us.”
After a convincing Game 1 victory, Country Day suffered its first loss of the playoffs, falling 25-21.
“We knew (Ascension Episcopal) was a good team and was not going to go away,” Ibieta said. “We kept telling them throughout the opening game that once they got over their nerves, they were going to come at us. Fortunately for us, we fought through Game 2 and grabbed the momentum back in the third game.”
Ascension Episcopal (27-11) was again led by Addie and Sydney Vidrine, who combined for 24 kills and a two aces. Mary Catherine Franques had 32 digs and Carolina Cordova had 16 assists.
“Coming into this season, expectations were not state-championship level high,” Blue Gators coach Jill Braun said. “I didn’t think before the season that we would be sitting here having just played a state championship game. These girls deserve all the credit in the world, because they show what a team can do when they come together and bond.
“Our motto was, ‘Why can’t it be us?’ ” she said. “This team is full of fighters that play good defense. We put the pieces together and worked as a team. That is what got us to this point.”
Despite the loss, Addie Vidrine said it was truly an experience to remember.
“It was so much fun,” Vidrine said. “I will never forget this experience.”