If cheers and school spirit could win volleyball games, Wednesday’s match between Mount Carmel Academy and Dominican would have ended in a tie.
The two dominant volleyball programs in the New Orleans area brought a raucous standing-room-only crowd to Dominican’s gym for the annual “Pink Game,” a fundraiser for local breast cancer patients.
Both sides loudly claimed to have a better party than the other, but when it came to volleyball, Dominican was no match for Mount Carmel.
The Cubs (25-4, 1-0), who went into the game as the No. 1 team in the Division I power rankings, swept archrival Dominican, 25-19, 25-19, 25-16. It was the District 8-I opener for both teams.
Both coaches said the party atmosphere in the gym was a tough distraction to overcome.
“It’s hard to communicate,” Mount Carmel coach April Hagadone said. “And it can be hard to concentrate. It’s tough.”
But Ellie Holzman, Mount Carmel’s highly touted junior, who has committed to the University of Illinois, said it didn’t bother her at all. Holzman dominated the game with 20 kills.
“Me, personally, I feed off it,” she said. “It makes me play better. We came in with a good game plan. It didn’t always go perfect, but we got the job done.”
Holzman also had a strong supporting cast around her. Tori Frught had 33 assists and two aces, Tea Jones had six blocks and Macie Matherne had 12 digs.
Senior Hannah McGowan had 13 kills, three blocks and two aces for No. 10 Dominican (16-8, 0-1). Sarah Wild had 18 assists and Payton Nunez had 15 digs.
“We couldn’t stop (Holzman), and we couldn’t block her,” Dominican coach Jessica Chatellier said. “We came out strong, but when things went wrong and we got in a little trouble, we couldn’t fight back.”
Mount Carmel led for most of the first game, only falling behind once. Dominican battled to tie the game at 14, then took a 15-14 lead on a McGowan block.
It didn’t last, however. Holzman recorded the next kill to tie the game at 15, and the Cubs would not trail again. Jones helped put the game away with two roofs at the net and then recorded the final kill.
The Cubs never trailed in the second game. Holzman continued to be a force, recording seven kills and a block. Toward the end of the game, Dominican managed to save one of her kill attempts, only to see her circle around for another that went to the floor. Abby Alonzo scored the game-winning kill.
Mount Carmel jumped way ahead in the third game as both Dominican and the crowd lost steam. A flurry of Cubs errors did help Dominican rally for eight consecutive points, but it still trailed 15-11. Holzman put down a dink and three kills during the final stretch, and Alonzo again recorded the final point.