The unofficial statewide power rankings were released Tuesday afternoon before Pope John Paul’s District 3-IV matchup against Northlake Christian.
Sweeping past Northlake Christian in three games, the Jaguars showed they were more than worthy of their No. 2 LHSAA ranking.
Allison Hartmann’s seven kills paced PJP to a 25-11, 25-13, and 25-13 win over Northlake Christian. In addition to Hartman’s performance, Sydney Neyland and Aixa Crespo had six kills each, Marlena Cutura had five kills, eight digs and four aces and Milayne Danna had three aces and a game-high 22 assists.
“We were excited to go up against a good Northlake team,” Hartmann said. “The thing about our team is when we work together and play with energy, we have the chance to be unstoppable. We had it out on the court tonight and I thought our communication between everybody was very good.”
Ranked No. 3 in The Advocate small schools poll, PJP (27-4, 3-0) never trailed. Breaking out to an early 14-4 lead in the opening game, the Jaguars scored seven of the final eight points to grab a 1-0 lead.
Game 2 was much of the same for Pope John Paul. Seeing their lead balloon to as much as 24-11, the Jaguars broke out to an early 8-1 in the deciding game to emerge victorious.
“We work really hard in practice every single day,” Hartmann said. “To have that hard work come out and show on the court is really rewarding. We didn’t trail in this match for a reason. We work hard to win games and that hard work comes in practice.”
With the state playoffs less than a month away, Hartmann said she and her teammates are keeping a close watch on the power rankings and their goal is to be the top-seeded team in Division IV.
“We do pay attention to it,” she said. “One of the goals of this team is we believe we can be that top-ranked team and that is something we are striving to try and achieve.”
We know and the coaching staff has told us that will only come with harder work in practice and longer days of working hard. It is something that I believe this team is more than capable of doing because I know we are going to put the work in. I have no doubt about that.”
Northlake Christian dropped to 13-9 on the year and 2-2 in district play. The Wolverines were led by Lexie White’s four kills and senior Maddi Chiota had six digs.