Volleyball coaches concerned with MaxPrep system _lowres

Advocate file photo by HEATHER McCLELLAND -- St. Joseph's volleyball coach Sivi Miller: 'It’s the unknown. We had an understanding of the system that we used with the LHSAA. I think people just want to make sure that everything will work (with the new system). MaxPreps may be great, but it’s something new. It will take some getting used to.'

There’s a reality show called “So You Think You Can Dance.”

It’s a catchy title and one that can easily apply to the Baton Rouge contingent headed to Kenner for the Allstate Sugar Bowl/Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Volleyball Tournament that begins Thursday with quarterfinal matches.

After all, this is the “Big Dance” for Louisiana’s high school volleyball teams. It’s fair to say the Pontchartrain Center hasn’t been volleyball version of the “Field of Dreams” for local teams.

Experts will tell you that the LHSAA volleyball tourney is a New Orleans-area event that has been dominated by New Orleans teams through the years. And they’re right. Could this be the year Baton Rouge breaks through? I’ve got to ask.

Division I St. Joseph’s Academy is the only local team to take home the big trophy in recent years. As fate would have it, the defending champion Redstickers are again the No. 1 seed.

The Dunham School of Division V, Division IV Episcopal and Division III Parkview Baptist all claimed state titles in 2005, the Hurricane Katrina year that saw the tourney moved to Lafayette because of storm damage.

Those teams are back in the tourney together with relatively high seedings this year. So is University High of Division IV, which has a string of semifinal appearances and a few runner-up finishes to its credit.

The Cubs were stuck in a semifinal rut in girls basketball until winning it all in Class 3A last spring. Some of the UHS players on that team are part of this team, which should be a plus.

St. Amant, another Division I team, is the program that has made the biggest leap competitively over the past five years. The Gators were a semifinalist last season. They’re tall and talented.

St. John-Plaquemine is a Division V team with a string of recent tourney berths that is seeking a semifinals berth.

And then there’s Catholic-Pointe Coupee. At 18-20, the Hornets of Division V are perhaps the biggest underdog, facing No. 1 Metairie Park Country Day in the quarterfinals.

St. Michael the Archangel also enters the tourney as a bit of underdog and faces No. 2 St. Scholastica in its Division II quarterfinal.

There are plenty of teams and possibilities out there. And there’s one final practice Wednesday before all the Baton Rouge area teams make their way to New Orleans for the final showdown.

Throw out the records, regardless of the good and bad. Now it’s all about who is the best in one final three-day tournament.

My advice? This is your Super Bowl. Your World Series. No matter what happens, keep dancing.