All season long the anticipation was Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Hannan would meet again in the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.
After meeting the past two seasons for the Division IV state crown, the Hawks and Jaguars are set to tangle again at 11:30 a.m. Friday, but this time in the Division IV state semifinals on Court 1.
It took five games, but fourth-seeded Hannan (25-8) defeated No. 5 Newman (25-22, 25-17, 22-25, 17-25, 15-9) in the quarterfinals to advance to Friday’s showdown.
Middle blocker Allee Morris led the Hawks with a game-high 26 kills to go with seven blocks. Caroline Standley notched 10 kills and Grace Lagalante contributed 43 assists and 17 digs.
“I’ll admit it took us a little while to wake up,” Morris said. “We had a lot of confidence to start the match, but we maybe lacked the intensity and energy. Thank goodness we stepped it up when we needed to the most.”
Aaliyah Burras had 22 kills to lead Newman, which finished 30-10. Olivia Brown added a game-high 54 assists and Adele Reynoir had 30 digs.
Meanwhile, Hannan rival, the top-seeded Jaguars (36-5) dispatched of Academy of the Sacred Heart (14-13) in four games (25-15, 25-16, 17-25 and 25-11).
Freshman Rachel Hartmann and sophomore Ansley Tullis led the way for the Jaguars with 14 kills each. Kendall Battistella had 47 assists and 16 digs. Tyler Sanderson added 14 digs.
The win sets up a rematch of an Oct. 18 showdown in which Hannan went on the road and defeated the Jaguars in four games, handing the Jaguars their first home defeat in more than four seasons.
“If you can’t get up for what is in store for tomorrow then you don’t need to put on your uniform,” PJP II coach Danny Tullis said.
Morris said the Hawks will be up to the challenge.
“It’s why you come to Hannan,” she said. “I’m so excited. It’s of course different from last year. I’m ready to see what is going to happen.”
UNIVERSITY HIGH 3, RIVERSIDE ACADEMY 0: In the bottom half of the bracket, third-seeded University High easily dispatched of No. 6 Riverside Academy in three games (25-18, 25-23 and 25-20) to advance to the state semifinals at 10 a.m. Friday against Notre Dame.
Elise Doomes led the Cubs with 10 kills and Cathryn Coulter had 17 assists. Bailey Grimes also had seven blocks for the Cubs (36-6).
Riverside Academy (30-12) was led by Sydney Joseph, who had 11 kills and Abby Bourgeois, who had 18 assists.
“The goal was to come out and try and jump on them early,” Cubs coach Bonita Johnson said. “Play your first game like it is your last game. The entire team has been so full of energy and we are just excited to be able to move on.”
NOTRE DAME 3, NORTHLAKE CHRISTIAN 1: Second-seeded Notre Dame fought off a challenge from 10th-seeded Northlake Christian to advance to the semifinals in a 25-6, 17-25, 25-21 and 25-20 match.
Anna Morgan, Melise Gossen and Mary Leonards each had 10 kills for Notre Dame (33-10), and Sydnei Simon led the way defensively with 27 digs.
Kyren Whittington led the way for Northlake Christian (16-12) with 28 digs and seven blocks. Mia Chiota had 10 kills, and Sophie Cramond added eight.