University High had to dig deep in the second set of the finals of the Sixth Annual South Louisiana Volleyball Invitational Tournament on Saturday.
Up one set to none over Barbe, U-High (7-1) was down 24-21 after a 7-3 Barbe run. But kills by Riley Tomeny and Lindsay Flory, followed by a long point featuring three digs by Presley Stoltzfus, pulled them even at 24.
U-High notched the next two points, wrapping up the set 26-24 and the tournament championship on a block by Marygrace Constantin.
“This is the first big tournament that we’ve won in a long time,” U-High coach Bonita Johnson said. “We had some great competition in Barbe and Riverside and some of the other teams we played.”
Johnson substituted freely throughout the final set, partly because of the fatigue factor at the end of a long tournament.
“It’s hard to keep that energy level up,” she said. “Everybody played today and everybody contributed.
“Terri Drake did an awesome job setting. Lindsay Flory stepped up big. Marygrace (Constantin) and (Terriel) Ross did an awesome job at the net.
“Presley (Stoltzfus) had some great digs in those last few points.”
Stoltzfus best moments came with the Cubs down 24-23. The Barbe front line pounded three kills to the deep right corner, and Stoltzfus saved all three.
“We all went for everything, and that’s what we do best,” Stoltzfus said. “Riley Tomeny did a great job serving us through, and our defense paid off great in that time. I knew we would come back once we got that fire lit under us.
“Last year we lost to St. Martinville in the semis of this tournament, so it’s an honor to come back and win this year,” she said.
The Cubs were the last team standing after the two-day event that encompassed 30 teams, three sites (Woodlawn High, Woodlawn Middle and Baton Rouge High) and 125 matches of two sets to 25 points and a third, if necessary, to 15.
Four teams went undefeated in pool play to advance to bracket play. In addition to U-High and Barbe, Catholic of Pointe Coupee, Ben Franklin, Lakeshore and Riverside Academy had 4-0 pool records.
Ben Franklin ousted Lakeshore 21-25, 25-21, 15-10 before losing to Barbe in the semifinals 25-21, 25-20.
Riverside defeated CHSPC 25-17, 25-9, then fell to U-High 25-20, 25-13 in the semifinals.
Barbe coach Jeremy White said his team made progress in reaching the tournament finals.
“We’re a young team, and we’ve played well against some tough competition, but we just haven’t quite made it over the hump,” he said.
“Ebony Lewis came strong and hammered it in at the end, our setter Courtney LaFarge kind of leads us, and I thought Bailey Thibodeaux did a good job controlling the ball.”
Flory had six kills, six assists, six digs and two aces to lead the Cubs, while Stoltzfus contributed
six digs and two aces.
Thibodeaux had nine digs and five aces for Barbe (5-3), and LaFargue finished with 14 assists and five digs.
Chelsea Soileau, Zachary Justus Sanders, Northside Kacey Freeman, Lakeshore; Nicole Lester, Belle Chasse Emily Ely, Mckinley Kendra Turner, Riverside; Emily Venable, East Ascension Kayleigh Sticker, St. Michael Claire Herwehe, Ben Franklin; Allance Synder, East St. John Madaline Tarver, Central Lindsey Flory, University; Kaycee Keller, St. John of Plaquemine Tori Jarreau, Catholic of Pointe Coupee Ebony Lewis, Barbe; Presley Stoltzfus, University, MVP.