Cabrini, Ursuline among state volleyball champions
Coaches Greg Castillo of Cabrini and Jay Jay Juan of Ursuline Academy agreed that the staunch competition their teams received by opponents from the Greater New Orleans area was instrumental in the two schools winning state volleyball championships last week.
Facing district and non-district competition like Mount Carmel, Dominican, Archbishop Chapelle, De La Salle, Ben Franklin, Country Day and even a young Academy of the Sacred Heart team provided the push the two needed to win their respective division championships.
Cabrini completed a 37-9 season with victory over top-seeded St. Thomas More, winning the Division II crown by the scores of 25-22, 25-21, 27-29, 25-20. The title is the Crescents’ fourth since 2001. Their nine regular season losses were to teams that made it to the state tournament.
Losses to Cabrini, Mount Carmel and 17-time state champion Episcopal of Acadiana propelled Division III top seed, Ursuline, to its victory over St. Louis in three games.
The Lions won by scores of 25-15, 28-26, 25-21 to end the season with a 39-4 record. The title was the school’s second in two years and gave head mentor Jay Jay Juan his fifth championship coaching victory.
Two other schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans reached the finals in their divisions.
Mount Carmel fell short in its attempt to repeat as the Division I champion and to claim its eighth title when it dropped a four-game decision to powerful Fontainebleau.
The Cubs provided the only blemish on the Bulldogs’ 44-1 record when they upset the Mandeville school in the Dominican Tournament on Oct. 21 in three games.
Mount Carmel, runner-up to Dominican for the District 6-I championship, finished the season with a 37-8 record.
A new name surfaced among the state’s elite teams when De La Salle reached the Division IV championship game.
The Lady Cavaliers, coached by former Dominican and UNO standout Jessica Helgeson, met and lost to two-time champion and No. 1 seed, Notre Dame of Crowley, in three games. But they proved worthy of the No. 2 seed by defeating Runnels, John Curtis and University Lab to get to the finals.
Following the hard-fought, four-game victory in the semifinals, De La Salle’s top gun, Brittany Deckwa, suffered a dislocated knee while celebrating with her teammates. She played in the finals with a protective cast, but was virtually immobile.
But De La Salle, which returns 10 of 12 players next season, completed the campaign with a 35-11 record.
Dominican, Chapelle, St. Scholastica and Archbishop Hannan also earned their way into the state tournament.
Under second-year coach Rachel Lindelow, Dominican won its district championship, but as a No. 5 seed, was placed in part of the Division I bracket that included Fontainebleau.
After easily defeating Covington in three games, Dominican survived a difficult five-game quarterfinal round match against No. 4 St. Amant to get to the semis.
Dominican led the taller Fontainebleau squad in all four games, but except for a 25-16 win in the third game, Dominican let the Bulldogs come from behind to win and advance to the finals.
Chapelle defeated Lafayette in the regional round, but was overmatched by Fontainebleau in the quarterfinals, 25-10, 25-10, 25-9.
No. 6 seed, St. Scholastica, topped No. 11 St. Michael of Baton Rouge, 25-20, 25-14, 25-15, but had trouble with the taller No. 3 seed, St. Martinville, and fell in four close games.
Making its third straight championship tournament, Archbishop Hannan completed a 24-13 season by advancing to the Division V semifinals, where the Lady Hawks lost to Central Catholic of Morgan City in three games. Prior to that, Archbishop Hannan eliminated Catholic of Pointe Coupée in three games.