It didn’t come as easy as it would appear, but Dominican is heading back to Kenner.

Senior Hannah McGowan had 15 kills, Sarah Wild chipped in 11 assists and fifth-seeded Dominican swept 12th-seeded Slidell 25-22, 25-19, 25-22 to secure a trip to the Pontchartrain Center, site of the volleyball state playoffs.

“It feels awesome,” McGowan said. “That win was huge for us. From the very beginning, we’ve been saying that this season was going to be about heart and today we showed it through our play and our communication on the court and it’s just an amazing feeling.”

The first set was a wild competition that featured eight lead changes. The set was tied at 22 when Dominican, paced by McGowan and Wild, scored the final three points to pull out the victory 25-22 to take a 1-0 lead.

The second set started off just as even as the first as both teams fought back and forth to take an edge. With Dominican holding an 8-7 advantage, McGowan and the offense took off scoring seven straight to gain a 15-7 advantage, the biggest lead they’d have all morning.

The Tigers found back to close the gap at 22-18, but Dominican’s defense, led by senior Elise Peyroux and sophomore Olivia Peyton, was too strong for the Tigers as Dominican took the set 25-19. Peyroux finished with 10 digs and Peyton with seven blocks.

The Tigers weren’t willing to give up, however, as they got off to a hot start in the third set, coming out with a 4-1 lead to begin. It was 5-3 when Dominican came hitting, tying things up and then taking the lead at 9-7. The Tigers scored four straight after that to reclaim the lead.

Dominican immediately responded by scoring five straight to regain the lead. Slidell briefly led at 22-21 in hopes of extending the match, but Dominican proved too much, scoring five straight, taking the set 25-22 and the match 3-0.

“It’s a great game,” Slidell coach Michelle Anderson said. “’You make the next step, there’s not much to say.”

Dominican's next opponent will be fourth-seeded Northshore, which defeated No. 20 Mandeville 3-1 on Saturday.

Dominican coach Jessica Chatellier said she was looking forward to her team's trip to the state tourney.

“(Advancing) is a big deal for us,” she said. “We went home before the Pontchartrain Center last year so it’s been a goal since the beginning of the season to go back there so today was a big day for us.”