Lady Pios fall short in Division III semifinals

By Chris Quebedeaux

SPORTS EDITOR

KENNER – Notre Dame’s run to back-to-back Division III state volleyball championships came to an abrupt end Friday at the hands of Sacred Heart of New Orleans in the LHSAA state semifinals at the Pontchartrain Center.

After falling behind 2-0 (19-25, 19-25), the Lady Pios battled back to win the next two games (25-20, 25-22), forcing a fifth and final set.

With the score tied at 4-4 in the deciding game, a serve into the net gave the Lady Cardinals the break they needed.

Sacred Heart reeled off eight unanswered points before eventually winning the game and the match, 15-7.

“I thought we were going to win that game,” said ND outside hitter Mayme Cook of the final game. “We got down on ourselves and weren’t able to pick it back up.”

The loss ended a remarkable season that saw the Lady Pios finish with a record of 25-13.

“I have to say, I don’t think I could be more proud,” said Notre Dame coach Tara Young following the loss. “All year long this team has done exactly what I’ve asked them to do. I told them every game to get better and that’s what they did today.”

Cook logged 16 kills and three aces in the semifinal contest. Caroline Stewart was the Lady Pios’ leader in blocks with two; Hannah Godeaux was the leader in assists with 25 and Alex Boulet led in digs with 29.

Sacred Heart took on E.D. White yesterday for the Division III state title. Results were not available at press time.

The Lady Pios advanced to the semifinals with a hard fought 25-20, 25-20, 25-22 victory over West Feliciana Thursday in the quarterfinals.

“West Feliciana gave us a game and we had to fight,” said Young. “There were things that we didn’t do right but it was a good game for us to play in the quarterfinals.”

Notre Dame led by as many as six in the first game before West Feliciana stormed back to cut the advantage to three at 23-20. However, the Lady Saints hit the ensuing serve out of bounds and then had a spike into the net to end the game.

The second game went back and fourth before Notre Dame took a 21-19 lead. Again, West Feliciana errors proved costly as the committed three miscues in the final four points before Cook punctuated the game with a spike.

As in both of the previous games, Notre Dame jumped out to an early lead before West Feliciana mounted a rally. The Lady Saints battled back from a 4-1 deficit and eventually took their first lead of the match at 11-10.

Notre Dame regained the lead at 15-14 following a Kylie Pannell spike. From that point, the game saw five more ties with the last being 22-22.

Pannell, who was injured midway through the second game, reeled off two kills to make it 24-22 before Cook hammered down the game-winner.

“Kylie had a finger injury but she came back strong in the final game,” said Young of Pannell, who recorded five of her eight kills in the final game. “That just goes to show that she has a lot of character and a competitive spirit.”

“And another big key was our ball control. I think we did a good job of controlling passes and getting it into our setters hands. We passed well for the most part.”

Cook led the Lady Pios with 14 kills, 13 assists, three digs and four aces while Pannell had eight kills and two digs.

Anne Marie Stoma recorded five kills, two digs and one block while Jeanne Claire Robichaux had three kills, 20 digs and three aces.

Also contributing in the victory were Caroline Stewart with four kills and four digs; Jade Meaux with three kills and four digs; Hannah Godeaux with 16 assists, six digs and one ace; Alex Boulet with 26 digs and two aces; Megan Fall with nine digs and Taylor Simon with two digs.

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