Lady Pios top De La Salle for Division IV state title

KENNER - After eight years of “close but no cigar”, Notre Dame busted through with the school’s first volleyball state championship in 2007.

Since then, the Lady Pios have been a fixture at Championship Saturday, claiming their third state championship in five years this weekend with a straight set victory over No. 2 seed De La Salle, 25-17, 25-22, 25-17.

“I think our experience versus their lack of experience here (state tournament) was a huge advantage,” said Notre Dame coach Tara Young following the victory. “Being here and having been here helps us. It’s an advantage. It’s a different venue when you get out there and you’re on that center court.”

Experience is a plus but it also helps when you can attack from every angle of the court like Notre Dame.

“We knew our strength this year was that we are extremely well balanced,” said Young. “We have a great middle but we can kick it to either left-side hitter and both of our right side hitters can put it away.”

And no one else quite put it away like Alaina Savoy. The senior middle earned the game’s Most Valuable Player honor after recording 13 kills and two blocks.

“Alaina is just phenomenal,” said Young. “She has a decent vertical but she has incredible hang-time. She also has incredible timing and she just hangs in the air forever.”

Savoy had five kills in the first game and added four more and a block in the second to help rally her team from an early eight-point deficit.

“I knew we would pull it out,” said Savoy, whose team trailed 15-7 in the second game before rallying to win, 25-22. “We just had to come together as a team and focus and I knew we could pull it out.”

Notre Dame seized the momentum early in the third game by jumping out to a 7-2 lead. They stretched the lead to 19-12 before the Lady Cavaliers got within five (22-17). But the Lady Pios wouldn’t be denied as they scored three straight to end the game and the match.

Allison Leonards followed Savoy with eight kills and Marie Ledet had one block. Alex Miller logged three aces and 22 assists while Taylor Boulet had two aces and 10 digs. Mallory Chiasson added 21 digs.

SEMIFINALS

The Notre Dame Lady Pios defeated Newman Friday morning, 25-8, 28-26, 22-25, 25-18 in Friday’s Division IV semifinals of the LHSAA State Volleyball Tournament at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.

The victory sent the No. 1 seed Lady Pios to Saturday’s state title game against De La Salle, which defeated University in the other D-IV semifinal Friday afternoon.

“We made a mistake or two, but we bounced back from that,” said Notre Dame coach Tara Young, who guided the Lady Pios to the Division III state title in 2010. “We were relatively calm and we never had that look of sheer terror or alarm. They were ready to take care of business.”

Notre Dame dominated the first game of the match but Newman pushed the Lady Pios to the limit in the second set before winning game three.

However, Notre Dame was up to the challenge in the final set as the Lady Pios closed out the game and the match with a 25-18 victory.

“When we’re up, and in control, our ball control is excellent,” said Young. “A lot of coaches say that. And our defense did a great job. We were digging for balls and frustrating their hitters.”

Alaina Savoy and Allison Leonards paced the Lady Pios’ offensive attack with 16 and 15 kills respectively while Marie Ledet added four blocks, three aces and 29 assists. Alex Miller had two blocks and 19 assists.

Defensively, Mallory Chaisson recorded 35 digs and Taylor Boulet had 20.

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