There will be tailgating involved, but there won’t be a football game.
That’s all you need to know to understand the significance of Thursday’s nondistrict volleyball matchup between Mount Carmel Academy and St. Joseph’s Academy.
“It’s a great rivalry we have,” Mount Carmel coach April Hagadone said. “It’s always so competitive. I think both teams like playing each other early. It certainly gives you a gauge for where you are.”
The two teams that played for the Division I state title in November will go at it again. Action begins at 4 p.m. with a freshman game at SJA. The varsity start time will be about 6 p.m.
St. Joseph’s claimed the Division I state title at last year’s Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Volleyball tournament held at Kenner’s Pontchartrain Center. Ultimately, the 3-2 contest came down to four points, with the Redstickers prevailing 15-11 in the final set.
The stakes won’t be nearly as high Thursday. The two teams figure to be undefeated. The Cubs were 7-0 going into a Wednesday contest with Cabrini; St. Joseph’s (3-0) defeated E.D. White Catholic on Tuesday.
“Both teams have a lot back from last year,” SJA coach Sivi Miller said. “I think we’re both similar in some ways to last year, but we’re also different. Especially early in the year you’re looking at different combinations and see who plays well together. I think we like playing them a few times. We see how both teams progress.
“We’ll probably play them next weekend at a tournament in New Orleans. Hopefully, we’ll get to play them later in the year. You never know, but we usually do meet in the playoffs.”
St. Joseph’s versatile presence of Madison Daigle (12 blocks, nine kills, six digs), Katherine Young (eight kills, 12 digs), Sydney Davis (eight kills, 13 digs) was impressive in Tuesday’s win over E.D. White.
Mount Carmel returns New Orleans All-Metro MVP Katie Kampen, who finished with 598 kills, 478 digs and 85 blocks a year ago.
Setter Jillian Clark and Kristen Nuss are other key returnees for the Cubs.
“Last year our season came down to four points and (the Redstickers) won,” Hagadone said. “I think that’s made this group work even harder. We like playing the ones like this one.”