Whenever Mount Carmel and St. Joseph’s square off in a regular-season volleyball match, winning isn’t always a feat to celebrate. Instead, it’s often a measuring stick to show which team is further along in its process to reach the ultimate goal.
With the two powerhouse programs exchanging victories against each other in the past two Division I state title matches, St. Joseph’s (5-2) can take solace that they appear to be slightly further along on their journey towards the 2015 championship.
The Redstickers came away with a 19-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 15-9 win over the Cubs (7-2) at Mount Carmel on Tuesday.
But as St. Joseph’s coach Sivi Miller said after the match: “The competition between St. Joseph’s and Mount Carmel goes way back.”
“We’re really excited to get this win. “It’s really exciting to come in their gym and get the win. ... and we still have a lot of work to do to become a better team.”
MCA , the No. 1 team in the New Orleans Advocate’s Large school rankings, utilized the energy from their raucous home crowd to take a 10-3 advantage to start the match,and rode that momentum to a a 25-19 win in the first set.
But the Redstickers made a few defensive adjustments and responded with a 25-20 win in the second set to tie things up.
The competitiveness of the match kicked up in the third set, when the two teams tied 12 times and exchanged the lead on four occasions.
But despite falling behind 17-13 at one point, the Cubs kept chipping away at the lead before jumping ahead at the end of the set and finishing things off with a 25-22 win.
“They dug and dug us so much,” Mount Carmel coach April Hagadone said.
“We still have a lot of work to do to get our lineups right, but they were the better team and they played better tonight.”
Despite their disappointing loss in the third set, the resilient Redstickers kept fighting and came out with a very strong performance in the fourth set.
St. Joseph’s built a lead as large as 20-12 at one point and finished with a 25-20 win, partially due to a stellar defensive performance from Melanie Miller, who finished with a team-high 38 digs.
With the momentum in their favor, the Redstickers jumped out to an early lead in the fifth set and finished things with a 15-9 win.
“We’re losing a lot of our height-factor from last season, but we knew we had to come in and work extra hard to live up to the St. Joseph’s name,” said Julia Baronet, who came away with the match-winning kill.
“We were down 2-1 and coach (Miller) brought us all in and told us to show everybody what we can do.”
Elise Gasparez led St. Joseph’s with 12 kills, and she also tied for the team lead in assists at 23 with Sydney Meaux.
Senior Kristen Nuss led the Cubs offensive attack with a team-high 26 kills, while Kellie Kampman finished with a team-high 48 digs.