Mount Carmel’s April Hagadone: Expect unexpected at tourney

With their long string of state tournament appearances, the Mount Carmel volleyball team knows just what to expect when play gets under way Thursday at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner:

Just about anything.

“We know that we just have to take one match at a time,” said Mount Carmel coach April Hagadone, whose team entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed. “It’s new every year. Every year it’s a different set of girls.”

Mount Carmel, last year’s state runner-up and the No. 1 seed in this year’s Division I bracket, will take on No. 8 H.L. Bourgeois at 8:30 p.m. Right beside them, arch-rival Dominican, the No. 5 seed, will play No. 5 seed St. Joseph’s Academy.

“Yeah, we get the Midnight Game,” Hagadone said of the annual nightcap feature match, which inevitably runs late into the night.

Hagadone doesn’t even need a scouting report for this one. The Cubs and the Braves met two weeks ago in a match Mount Carmel swept in three games.

“They’re very athletic and very well coached,” Hagadone said. “Peter Verrett has been there forever. He just got his 500th win over there.”

The Cubs bring solid outside hitting from senior Jade Sorell and sophomore Katie Kampen. But this year’s tournament will be a new experience for sophomores Jillian Clark and Megan Davenport.

“It’s exciting, with the three nets up and the three games going,” Hagadone said. “We have a lot of girls getting to play for the first time.”

And the Cubs aren’t taking anything for granted. After winning the 2010 title, Mount Carmel was unseated last year by Fontainebleau, which enters the playoffs as the No. 3 seed. That’s just fine with coach Danny Tullis.

“Seeding really doesn’t have anything to do with how good you are or how well you’re playing,” Tullis said. “I don’t think anyone is overlooking us.”

Fontainebleau will play No. 6 Barbe at 6:45 p.m. Also at 6:45 p.m., No. 10 Northshore will play No. 2 St. Amant.

In Division II matches, defending champion Cabrini (No. 5) will play No. 4 St. Scholastica at 5 p.m.; No. 7 Lutcher will play No. 2 St. Martinville at 11:45 a.m., and No. 8 Belle Chasse will play No. 3 St. Thomas More at 3:15 p.m.

In Division III, defending champion and No. 1 seed Ursuline will play No. 9 Lakeshore at 5 p.m., and No. 4 Ben Franklin will play No. 5 St. Louis at 3:15 p.m.

In Division IV, No. 9 McGee will play defending champion and No. 1 seed Notre Dame at 11:45 a.m. No. 5 Curtis will play No. 4 University at 1:30 p.m. No. 3 Newman will play No. 6 Iota at 6:45 p.m. and No. 7 Riverside Academy will face No. 2 De La Salle, last year’s runner-up, at 3:15 p.m.

In Division V, defending champion Country Day, the No. 2 seed, will play No. 7 Ascension Christian at 11:45 a.m., and No. 6 St. Martin’s Episcopal will play No. 3 Central Catholic at 1:30 p.m.

Play will continue Friday with the semifinals. All five championship matches will be played Saturday.