Out-of-towners had a fine time at the Dunham School’s invitational volleyball tournament at the Team Sportsplex on Saturday.
Pope John Paul II of Slidell and Barbe of Lake Charles battled through pool play and the elimination rounds to meet in the final, with Barbe coming from behind to claim the championship in three sets 18-25, 25-20 and 15-11.
Four Baton Rouge area teams made it out of pool play but all were eliminated in the first bracket round.
University High and Parkview Baptist School lost close 2-0 matches, U-High falling to Barbe 25-21 and 25-22 and Parkview losing to Chapelle of Metairie 26-24 and 25-17.
Dunham fell to Teurlings Catholic of Lafayette 2-0, and Ben Franklin of New Orleans defeated West Feliciana 25-17 and 25-15.
Barbe coach Katie Kennedy said she was pleased with her team’s resilience after it fell behind by 10 in the first set and faced an 0-1 deficit.
“We didn’t play the best game at all, but we were still in there,” Kennedy said. “It shows we can fight in any circumstance. I told the girls to come back they’d have to fight, and they listened. They bounced back very, very well.”
The Lady Bucs’ comeback started after they fell behind again 15-9 in the second set and Pope John Paul was rolling along behind a power game led by sisters Marlena and Cristina Cutura. Barbe began to get its own net game together behind three straight kills by Chaney Siebarth, three by Ebony Lewis and two by Peyton Montgomery. The game was tied at 19 and 20 before Barbe finished with a 5-0 run featuring a block and two kills by Koko Daniels.
Lewis finished the match with 12 kills and 2 blocks; Montgomery had seven kills and Siebarth six.
Julia Papania had 24 assists, and libero Anne Marie Self had 20 digs.
The third set was tight until the score was tied at 8-8. That’s when Lewis took over and accounted for five of Barbe’s final seven points on four kills and a block.
Pope John Paul coach Danny Tullis had a ready explanation for his team’s turn of fortunes.
“We’re up five in the second set when our serve-receive and passing sort of broke down,” Tullis said. “That gave Barbe some confidence and they started banging and their middles took over the game. You have to pass well against a good team and keep them out of their rhythm.
“We pushed and defended, but you hate to lose because you didn’t finish.”
Marlene Cutura had 11 kills and 15 digs for Pope John Paul and Christina Cutura had seven kills.
Allison Hartman had 10 digs and three aces, and Milayne Danna was the Lady Jaguars’ assist leader.
Lewis was named MVP of the tournament. The rest of the all-tournament team consisted of Peyton Montgomery, Marlena Cutura, Allison Hartmann and Kayla Jones of Chapelle.
Others were Jordan Stephens of Central, Amari Bellard of St. Michael, Hailey Cabeceiras of Archbishop Hannan, Jada Washington of West Feliciana and Allison Olsonoski of Ben Franklin.
Also on the all-tournament team were Kynnedie Maloz and Alyssa Breaux of Teurlings Catholic and Lindsay Flory of University High.