When Mount Carmel’s volleyball team lost Saturday, it’s first defeat since Sept. 22, coach April Hagadone said she was surprised to see how hard the team took it.

Hagadone said the frustration the team felt was just the reality check they needed heading into the Division I playoffs.

The Cubs (35-5, 3-0) responded to Saturday’s 3-2 loss to St. Thomas More with a strong 25-21, 25-17, 25-16 three-set win in a Division I, District 8 match at Chapelle on Tuesday, which also helped them clinch this year’s district crown.

“It’s an emotional week for the girls, knowing its their last week of the regular season together,” Hagadone said. “I do think it was important, not that we wanted to lose that game, but I do think it’s good to experience that loss so close to the playoffs, so we know we don’t want to go through that feeling again.”

The Cubs, ranked No. 1 among large schools in the The New Orleans Advocate Sweet 16, had their 22-game winning streak snapped over the weekend in a hard fought five-set loss to St. Thomas More.

Mount Carmel senior hitter Kristen Nuss said the team played well in the match, but the loss was a reminder that any drop-off in communication or execution by the team going forward may be the reason its season comes to an end.

MCA finishes up the regular season and district play on Thursday against Dominican.

“We knew St. Thomas More was a great team going in, but that loss hurt us afterwards, no doubt,” said Nuss, who finished Tuesday with a team-high 22 kills.

After squeaking out a 25-21 win in the opening set, The Cubs took control of things in the second set. The Chipmunks (17-16, 1-3) kept things close early, but MCA quickly turned an 11-10 lead to a 22-13 lead before Chapelle could start slowing down the MCA attack.

The Chipmunks cut the deficit down to 23-16, but the Cubs eventually got their offense going again and took a 25-17 victory to grab a 2-0 lead in the match and clinched the sweep with a 25-16 win in the third set that ended with a soaring kill by Nuss.

“We started off a little rocky in those first two sets, but then we started to execute better,” Nuss said. “We were just not communicating and the chemistry wasn’t what we’re used to on the court, but we started picking it up and played a lot better at the end.”

Chapelle, which was celebrating Senior Night on Tuesday, still has three games left in the regular season, and coach Shannon Spafford said that playing against some of the better teams in the area to end the year will help the Chipmunks going into the playoffs.

“We are starting to learn tendencies and habits, so this a good showing for us” Spafford said. “We want to use this week to build our confidence, work on our fundamentals and just have fun.”

Nuss also led the Cubs with 23 digs, and freshman Ellie Holzman helped out on defense with six blocks.

Kayla Jones was the team leader for Chapelle with 13 kills and 20 digs, and Hannah Volpi led the team with 19 assists.