“There were a lot of momentum swings, but I think we handled it well. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s match.” Lindsay flory, University sophomore
KENNER — Northshore, the 10th seed, stunned second-seeded St. Amant in four sets on Thursday night, scoring one of the biggest upsets in LHSAA State Volleyball Tournament history on a quarterfinals day that was tough for some Baton Rouge teams.
Also in the state’s largest class, Division I, fourth-seeded St. Joseph’s Academy, which won seven state titles in the last decade, was swept by No. 5-seeded Dominican. And another area team, Brusly, was knocked out of Division III by E.D. White.
University High is back in the semifinals, trying to get to championship Saturday for the first time in five years after grinding out a four-set victory over John Curtis.
The Cubs’ victory punctuated a day marked with long, hard-fought matches that kept all three courts in the Pontchartrain Center running behind as five divisions competed in quarterfinals.
Accordingly, Breaux Bridge, back in the semifinals for the first time since 2008, took five exhausting sets to oust perennial power Assumption in Division II. Most longtime tournament observers put St. Amant’s defeat in the category of Slidell upsetting Mount Carmel in the 1997 Division I final and Northshore’s first-round upset of SJA in 2000. Northshore (26-11), won 25-21, 25-15, 17-25, 25-21.
St. Amant was led by junior Toni Rodriguez, who had 19 kills and two blocks. Senior Brooke deVeer added 15 kills and four blocks.
SJA (38-6), which hasn’t been back to the final since winning three titles in a row from 2007-09, lost to Dominican (33-9) 25-21, 25-15, 25-21 after beating the New Orleans team three times this season. Junior Parker Harrell had six kills and sophomore Katherine Young five for the Redstickers.
In Division II, seventh-seeded Lutcher won the first set, 25-15, just couldn’t close out the second set before losing 27-25, and then was no match for No. 2 seed St. Martinville’s quickness and size as the Tigers ran away 25-18, 25-14 to make it back to the semifinals for the second straight year. St. Martinville (31-11) plays Breaux Bridge at 1:30 p.m. Friday
Third-seeded Breaux Bridge (32-8) advanced 25-16, 12-25, 25-19, 21-25, 17-15, ending Assumption’s season at 29-16.
Junior Taylor Alexander led with 15 kills and 12 blocks, while junior Jada Broussard added 10 kills and six blocks.
“That match could have gone either way, and I think that’s the best thing about high school sports,” Breaux Bridge coach Laurie Simon said, “when it’s that close and it’s that fun.”
St. Martinville got 21 kills, six blocks and 17 digs from senior Chanelle Gardner, who will play for Louisiana-Lafayette next year.
“We have ups and downs like any other team,” St. Martinville coach Lucinda Mason said. “It seems like we get off to a slow start but then we get started, they become the team they need to become to win.”
Lutcher’s season ended 26-10. Freshman Jariel Tureaud led with 11 kills and three blocks.
“I don’t want to take credit away from St. Martinville because they won the match, but we just made way too many mistakes,” Lutcher coach Ricky LeBlanc said.
In Division III, E.D. White cruised past Brusly 25-9, 25-12, 25-12. The Cardinals (30-13) play Vandebilt Catholic (21-17), which defeated Tuerlings Catholic 25-16, 25-20, 25-21.
“They outserved us, they outpassed us,” said Brusly coach Karen Owens, whose team returned to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2003. “E.D. White is an excellent team and their experience came out. They just played really good ball. They dominated the game.”
In Division IV, University High grinded out a 25-22, 25-13, 19-25, 27-25 victory over John Curtis to improve to 35-6 and get the opportunity to play top-seeded and two-time defending champion Notre Dame of Crowley at 10 a.m. Friday.
Notre Dame (33-10) had a huge scare and had to rally for a 24-26, 17-25, 25-50, 25-17, 15-6 victory over McGehee of New Orleans.
“We’re happy to be in the semifinals and hope to play well and compete,” said U-High coach Bonita Johnson, who made it to the 2007 state-title match. “This being a completely different team from last year and wanting to do well, they have really worked hard and believe in themselves.
“I am proud of how far they have come thus far and hope to be able to pull out two more games.”
Sophomore Lindsay Flory led U-High with 14 kills, four blocks and 15 assists, notching the winning kills in the first and final sets. Senior Lauren Halliburton had 11 kills and three aces, while sophomore Mary Grace Constantin had six blocks.
“I think we did really well as a team and pulled together especially in the end when we really needed to,” Flory said. “There were a lot of momentum swings, but I think we handled it well.
“I can’t wait for tomorrow’s match.”
In Division V, 12 was the perfect number for fifh-seeded Ascension Episcopal, which broke through to the semifinals after three consecutive quarterfinal defeats. The Blue Gators from Lafayette improved to 29-8 with a 25-12, 25-12, 25-12 sweep of St. John (38-6). Junior Shanelle Charlot led with 13 kills and three blocks, while junior Danni Duck had five kills and three aces. Senior Jessie Brown led St. John with six kills.
“It’s been a great year,” said AE coach Jill Braun, who now must figure out how to beat top-seeded Episcopal School of Acadiana after losing twice in three-set matches to the district-rival Falcons. They play at 11:45 a.m.
“Third time’s a charm,” Braun said. “We know them very well, and they know us very well. We’re all friends. (Friday) if we can continue rolling like we are right now with high energy and low mistakes, it could prove to be a great match.”
ESA, trying to win its first state tite since 2006 and 18th overall, also swept Catholic High-Pointe Coupee 25-12, 25-18, 25-18. ESA (37-5) got nine kills each from senior Bailey Brown and junior Elasha Williams and 27 assists and three aces from senior setter Adela Munson. CHSPC ended its season 18-21.
In the other Division V semifinal, Central Catholic of Morgan City (26-11) is back in the semifinals for the third consecutive year and will face three-time defending-champion Metairie Park Country Day (38-6). Central Catholic rolled past St. Martin’s Episcopal 25-16, 25-20, 25-19 behind 15 kills from Meo Knight and 11 by Brie Hill.
Country Day was a 25-11, 25-13, 25-12 winner over Ascension Christian (18-10).