Don’t count out Pope John Paul II just quite yet.
A team plagued by injuries all season long, the four-time defending state champions, behind junior Ansley Tullis, swept past Northlake Christian in the LHSAA state volleyball tournament quarterfinals Thursday morning at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner (25-21, 25-23, 25-23).
With the win, the No. 4 Jaguars advance to the state semifinals at 11:50 a.m. Friday against the top-seeded Hannan Hawks, in a rematch of a semifinal from a season ago and the 2016 Division IV state championship.
“Coming into this match I was maybe like 30 percent,” Tullis said. “I haven’t hit a ball in about two months. I was released by the doctors on Tuesday to play. (Labrum) still hurts, but I can’t injure myself any more severe, so I just have to play through it.”
Tullis finished with a game-high 22 kills and 11 digs. Morgan Faciane had 10 kills, and Kendall Battistella had 37 assists to go along with 15 digs.
Pope John Paul II started off hot, jumping out to a 6-1 advantage in Game 1. NCS responded with a run of its own and held 14-13 advantage. With the score tied at 18, the Jaguars scored the game’s next four points to grab a 22-18 advantage on its way to victory.
Trailing 6-4 in the second game, Pope John Paul II took the lead for good at 8-7 on its way to a 2-0 advantage.
The Wolverines, who finished 23-7, were led by Mia Chiota’s 13 kills and 30 digs, and 10 kills and 27 digs from Sophie Cramond.
This was a rematch from an Oct. 23 match, when the Wolverines swept the Jaguars in Slidell.
“We weren’t supposed to win this match,” Tullis said. “We weren’t even supposed to be here (in the state quarterfinals). Nobody is expecting us to win (against Hannan). We have nothing to lose.”
HANNAN 3, SACRED HEART 0: Allee Morris had 19 kills and six blocks to help Archbishop Hannan reach the semifinals for the third consecutive season after a sweep of Academy of the Sacred Heart 25-17, 25-15 and 25-10.
Mikayla Boyer added 16 kills, and Mia Migliore had 16 digs. Grace Lagalante had a game-high 39 assists to pace the Hawks (38-6) offense.
The win sets up a showdown with Pope John Paul II, a program that has ended the Hawks season the past two years.
“I like it like that,” Migliore said of the showdown with the Jaguars. “It should be a great match between two very good programs very familiar with each other. I can’t wait.”
May Manning led Sacred Heart (20-6) with eight kills, and Riley Brennan had 10 digs.
NOTRE DAME 3, JOHN CURTIS 1: Notre Dame advanced to the Division IV semifinals for the second consecutive season after defeating John Curtis 22-25, 25-21, 25-14 and 25-20.
The Pioneers advance to take on University High in a 2017 semifinals rematch that Notre Dame swept. Game time 10 a.m. Friday.
Anna Morgan led the Pioneers (33-14) with 23 kills, and Hannah Rosinski had 17. Grace Bernard also had a big afternoon with 40 assists and 19 digs.
The Patriots (23-15) were led by Cici Costanza’s nine kills and 20 digs from Rylee Fabacher.
UNIVERSITY LAB 3, HAYNES ACADEMY 1: One of the state's more successful programs is returning to the semifinals as University High picked up win No. 39 by sweeping Haynes Academy in the Division IV state semifinals 25-11, 25-17 and 29-27.
Elise Doomes led the the Cubs with 12 kills, and Maggie Segar paced the U-High offense with 30 assists.
Alexa Poche’s seven kills were a team-high for Haynes Academy, who finished 18-12.