Mount Carmel goes into ‘spirit mode’ to win Division I

KENNER — Silly is serious business for the Mount Carmel volleyball team. Especially when it kicks into what coach April Hagadone calls “spirit mode,” basically a bunch of screaming and jumping around during a timeout.

It worked again Saturday night. The Cubs won their second Division I championship in three years and eighth overall as Mount Carmel knocked off defending-champion Fontainebleau 25-20, 22-25, 17-25, 25-21, 15-8 in a battle of heavyweights in the LHSAA State Volleyball Tournament.

Tournament MVP Katie Kampen, a sophomore who had 27 kills Friday in her team’s victory over Dominican, adedd 30 more against Fontainebleau.

“We all stepped it up tonight,” Kampen said. “We’ve been working all year for this and this is when it mattered and this is when we showed up and this team really pulled together at the end.”

Kampen ended a hard-fought battle with a no-look, back-handed tip that fell to the floor and set off a wild celebration as MCA improved to 42-4.

“We really, really picked it up in the fourth game, and in the fifth game, I knew they didn’t have a chance,” Hagadone said, “because I just saw the same thing from the night before when we played Dominican. I saw the exact same heart and determination and spirit that my team had, I knew they had no chance in the fifth set.”

Perhaps, but back in the fourth set, MCA trailed 13-11 when Hagadone called a timeout and the Cubs got silly.

“It helps us get into the game,” MCA senior Jade Sorrell said. “Sometimes we can lose focus, and we get those timeouts we do our spirit and it brings us back and gives us energy to go out and fight.”

Sorrell had four aces and sophomore Megan Davenport had 15 blocks as Mount Carmel won the tiebreaker with their rivals from the Northshore. They had split their two previous meetings this season.

Fontainebleau saw its 21-match win streak end as it ended the season 39-5. Junior Megan Zulli led with 15 kills, while senior Ava Zimmerman and junior Nora Bloemer had 14 apiece. Senior Megan Meyer had 51 assists.

“It was what a state championship should be,” Zimmerman said. “It should go to five games, it should be a battle point for point, people diving across the floor, hitting the ball 70 miles an hour.”

“I thought it was a great match. Mount Carmel played hard,” said coach Danny Tullis, who lost in the 2008 final before breaking through last year.

“I think all season not very many people thought we were supposed to win a lot of the matches we played,” Tullis said. “I’ve said it on five or six occasions, all anybody wanted to talk to me at the beginning of the season was about who we didn’t have. I tried to use it as fuel for them as us against the world. So to me, even getting to the finals is a great accomplishment because we don’t have a lot of size. We play very hard.”