Back-to-back for MCA, PJPII
Little has changed over the course of a year in the sport of volleyball.
Four of the five 2014 division champions flexed their muscles to win titles in the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA tournament again ... and in a big way.
Two of those repeat champions are Mount Carmel and Pope John Paul II in Divisions I and IV, respectively.
The others that returned to collect first-place trophies were St. Thomas More in Division II and Teurlings Catholic in Division III.
A new champion was crowned in Division V when Country Day had its run of seven division crowns snapped by Ascension Episcopal, which, in turn, lost to Louise McGehee in the championship match.
The five division champions played a total of 61 games. They combined for 60 wins. Lutcher scored the only win by taking one of four games against Teurlings before falling.
St. Thomas More has been the most dominant team. Having now won three consecutive titles, the Lafayette school has a run of 44 straight games without a loss.
Once again, volleyball proved to be a sport unfavorable to public schools. But unlike recent state tournaments, Mandeville and Lutcher did make it to the finals and took home a bounty of runners-up trophies.
Cubs again dominate
A reloaded Mount Carmel repeated its 2014 feat by racing through the tournament without losing a single game.
The Cubs easily won over public schools Acadiana, Northshore, Barbe and Mandeville in the finals. All were three-game sweeps.
As a matter of fact, Coach April Hagadone’s brown team has not lost a single tournament game since the finals of 2013. That’s 24 straight.
Mandeville had beaten MCA in an early-season tournament, 2-0. Hagadone realized that she had to re-shuffle positions at that point. That move was the spark that carried the Cubs through an unbeaten district schedule and success in the playoffs.
The championship was Mount Carmel’s 10th overall and gave the Cubs a final record of 40-5.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans sent 12 teams to the playoffs. Nine made it to the Pontchartrain Center.
Youth vs. Youth
An interesting rivalry has developed between Division IV twice-champion Pope John Paul II and its district rival Archbishop Hannan.
The rivalry is natural for the two northshore schools. One is located in Slidell, the other a half-hour ride west on I-12 to Goodbee.
The Jaguars got the better of Hannan this year, beating the Lady Hawks in three easy games. But this will undoubtedly be a tussle to watch for the next few years.
Pope John Paul II’s 16-player roster is losing just one player (Bailee Maillet) to graduation.
Of the 15 players in Hannan uniforms, just two (Hannah Summersgill and Danielle Ledet) are seniors.
Coach Rebekka Bonnaffee's Hannan squad made its presence known when, as a No. 6 seed, it upset No. 3 seed and four-time champion Notre
Dame in five grueling games. That semifinal-round win propelled the Lady Hawks into the championship match for the first time since 1995.
Pope John Paul II is a relative newcomer to championships, having won its first last year in a division that had been dominated by Notre Dame and Newman. And with six-time champion McGehee now participating in a lower division, the Lady Jags and Hawks could be the new Division IV powers.
High fives all around
The local Catholic schools acquitted themselves well in the post-season after beating up on each other during the regular season to get tourna- ment tough.
As a group, the 12 compiled a record of 22 wins, 10 losses.
Most notably, Archbishop Chapelle, under second-year coach Shannon Spafford, pulled off a zinger when it knocked off nine-time champion St. Joseph Academy in the quarterfinal round in four games before losing to the No. 2 seed, Mandeville.
First-year coach Kasey Laird took her Cabrini Crescents to the championship match for the first time since 2011 when they defeated No. 1 St. Thomas More in four games.
Cabrini and STM have swapped serves in three of the past four Division II tournament games, all won by the Lady Cougars.
Another program on the rise seems to be the Academy of Our Lady, which made the tournament as a No. 8 seed.
Laden with 12 underclassmen, the Penguins won 28 matches this season and defeated No. 9 Terrebonne to make it to the semifinals.
Football playoffs resume
The remaining Division I regional round playoffs will take place on Nov. 20 (Friday). Choose one wisely be- cause they will all be played on the same night.
The prime time (7 p.m.) match seems to be the St. Paul’s vs. John Curtis game at Hunter Stadium. The winner will meet Archbishop Rum- mel or Jesuit in the semifinals on or about Nov. 27.
Rummel and Jesuit will play at Yenni Stadium, while the other local Division I game will match Brother Martin against Catholic High at Tad Gormley Stadium.
De La Salle will take its 9-1 record to Teurlings Catholic, and No. 5 St. Charles Catholic (9-2) is at undefeated No. 4 Madison Prep.