All 13 Catholic volleyball teams earn playoff spots
It was a clean sweep.
Every volleyball team from high schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans earned a berth in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s playoffs, which was scheduled to begin on Nov. 7. And several will take the first night off.
Mount Carmel Academy, the reigning Division I champion, drew the No. 2 seed behind St. Joseph Academy.
The Cubs’ district mates Archbishop Chapelle and Dominican also drew high seeds and will host second-round matches.
Chapelle, which lost to St. Joseph in the regional round as a No. 13 seed in 2012, comes in at No. 3.
Ranked No. 5 in last year’s tournament, Dominican gets the No. 8 playoff position.
Ursuline Academy, the twice-defending Division III champion, is seeded No. 3 and will be one of 11 local Catholic schools to have a first-round bye.
Three other returning champions – Teurlings Catholic (Division III), Notre Dame (IV) and Country Day (V) – are back as top seeds.
Volleyball is one sport in which the same powers emerge every year. There is rarely a surprise team that breaks through by springing big upsets. But the sport is competitive once the teams reach the Pontchartrain Center for the quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches. Getting there isn’t always easy.
All regional-round winners will be in that number when the tournament continues at the Pontchartrain Center on Nov. 14. The finals in all five divisions are Nov. 16.
➤ Division I – Mount Carmel (41-3) drew a first-round bye and will meet the winner of the Mandeville-Ponchatoula match on Nov. 11. The two northshore schools split their district matches.
Chapelle (38-5) also drew a bye and then will face either Zachary (17-10) or Lafayette (12-14) at home in the regional round.
Following a first-round bye, Dominican (24-13) has the unenviable task of hosting No. 8 Fontainebleau (28-10), the 2012 Division I runner-up.
Two of Mt. Carmel’s losses were to St. Joseph in tournaments. In both cases, the Cubs won the first of three games, then lost the second and third. The setbacks came in the finals of the St. Joseph’s tournament on Sept. 28 and again in the Cabrini tournament on Oct. 19.
Although Mt. Carmel and Chapelle are on the opposite side of the bracket from Dominican, the uptown school drew the more difficult side with St. Joseph, No. 4 East Ascension and No. 5 St. Amant lying in its path to the finals.
Chapelle and Mt. Carmel could meet in the semifinals if things go their way through the first two matches they play on the other end.
➤ Division II – No. 5 St. Scholastica (24-15) takes the first round off, then hosts either No. 12 Belle Chasse (23-15) or No. 21 Broadmoor (14-17) on Nov. 11.
No. 9 Cabrini, a quarterfinalist in 2012, is home against Salmen on Nov. 7. If the Crescents win, they will visit South Terrebonne (25-12) in the regional round.
Academy of Our Lady (23-8) is the No. 15 seed and opens at home against No. 18 Leesville (16-15). To gain a berth in the quarterfinals in Kenner, the winner must then get past No. 2 Lakeshore (34-6) on the road.
St. Scholastica drew the stronger side of the bracket with defending champion St. Thomas More (32-9) and No. 4 Ben Franklin (25-12)looming. The Doves lost to Franklin in a marathon tournament match last month, but the Lady Falcons enter the playoffs on the heels of three consecutive losses.
➤ Division III – Its high seed earned Ursuline a first-round bye and a regional-round home match against the winner of No. 14 De La Salle (16-17) or No. 19 DeQuincy (16-13).
Although the two have identical number of victories, De La Salle has played the more competitive schedule and will host DeQuincy. The Lady Cavs have lost to Ursuline twice in three games apiece.
The Lions’ high seed places them on the bottom half of the bracket, away from No. 1 Teurlings Catholic (35-4) and No. 4 Lutcher (29-8). Their main competitor will be No. 2 E.D. White, having a bit of an off-season at 29-10, but formidable nevertheless.
➤ Division IV – The archdiocese qualified the remaining five schools in this division. At least one will have been eliminated in the first round.
The highest seed is No. 5 Pope John Paul II (25-10), which has played well enough to draw a first-round bye. Then the Lady Jaguars will host Episcopal of Baton Rouge (17-16) on Nov. 11.
No. 8 Academy of the Sacred Heart (23-16) has played well as the season progressed and also draws a bye to await No. 9 Northlake Christian (25-12).
As the No. 10 seed, Archbishop Hannan (18-21) is favored over No. 23 Cohen (7-6), but then faces No. 7 John Curtis (23-15).
Two local Catholic schools – No. 16 St. Katharine Drexel (13-19) and St. Charles Catholic (9-24) – will have met on Nov. 7 at Drexel with the winner then traveling to No. 1 Notre Dame (35-6).
And St. Mary’s Academy (10-18) rounds out the field as the No. 18 seed. The Cougars have a short trip to Metairie to meet Haynes Academy (12-16). The prize for this victor is a regional-round date with No. 2 Newman (34-7).
This will be the most difficult volleyball division for a local Catholic school to survive.