When ninth-seeded Chapelle dropped the first two sets of its Division I regional playoff at Northshore on Monday, it looked like the Chipmunks’ season would soon end.
But Chapelle came back to win the next two games and tie the match at 2. After a see-saw battle in the fifth-game tiebreaker, the Chipmunks finally pulled away for a victory over eighth-seeded Northshore 23-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-13, 15-13.
The huge comeback earned Chapelle (28-17) a quarterfinal match with the state’s top seed, St. Joseph’s of Baton Rouge. That match will be played Thursday at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. Northshore ended its season 26-13.
Chapelle seemed deflated after dropping two tough games to open the match. But it found a way to respond when it could have folded.
“We all really wanted to pick up the intensity,” said junior Kayla Jones, who led the Chipmunks with 21 kills. “We just really wanted this one tonight. We were playing for the seniors.”
Chapelle first-year coach Shannon Spafford acknowledged that her team teetered on the edge of elimination, but she believed a comeback was possible.
“After the second game, we came out with an all-or-nothing attitude,” Spafford said. “We had nothing to lose. We left everything on the floor. That’s when you could see the momentum change to our side.”
Though the first two games were tightly contested, all of the momentum was in Northshore’s court going into the third game. Chapelle jumped to a 6-2 lead in that game, only to watch Northshore rally and go ahead 14-11 and 17-14. Jones ended the third with three straight points — a dink at the net, a block and a kill.
The loss in the third tripped up the Panthers, who never challenged for the lead in the fourth. They led 9-6 in the fifth game, but several Northshore unforced errors and a pair of Chapelle service winners tied it at 10.
With the score tied at 13, Kelsey Conely fired a pair of service winners to end the match and send Chapelle to the state tournament.
Mallory Kundsen had 45 assists for Chapelle, and Kaylee Madron added 47 digs. Natalie Comardelle had 11 blocks, and Conely had five aces.
Hailey Kirkpatrick, in her final game for Northshore, had 28 kills and 28 digs. Fellow senior Sabrina Buelle added 33 digs, and Caitlin Epperson had three blocks.
Carly Merry had four aces and Jenna Schmidt dished out 45 assists.