Lady Pios fall short in title game
KENNER – In a perfect world, Division IV top seed Notre Dame would be hoisting the trophy high into the air and celebrating its fourth consecutive state championship trophy. And, like Gladiators they fought to the end, but it was Newman that walked away with the state title, prevailing in an epic battle 3-2 at the Pontchartrain Center.
Newman (38-7) avenged a 3-2 loss in last year’s final against the Lady Pios, winning 23-25, 25-21, 26-24, 26-28, 15-5.
Notre Dame (38-7) had its sights set on winning a fourth title, and coach Tara Young rallied her squad with an impassioned plea in game four, down 2-1 in games and behind 17-9, facing earlier elimination.
“I remembered the movie Gladiator where the question was asked if people were entertained enough,” Young said. “During a timeout, I told the girls that champions may not win, but they definitely don’t fold. That was when we pulled it together.”
The call to action ignited the team as they fought back to win nine of the next 10 points to tie the game at 22 on a kill by Grace Morgan. But, it was merely the start as the struggle intensified in the form of nine more lead changes until a kill by Anne Faulk seized the lead, 27-26, and one more by Morgan to clinch the game, sending the match to a fifth and deciding game.
Throughout the match, the intensity of the two evenly matched teams and the ferocity of competition magnified the smallest of details that proved to be different makers.
“We could have done better with our serving,” Morgan said. “That made it somewhat difficult to execute our game. As a team, we worked very hard to get to this point, and we have a lot to be thankful for.”
The Lady Pios came out of the game ready for what the Greenies brought to the court, and after a struggle for momentum, they put some distance in between, taking a 17-12 lead in the first game. As they had done so frequently later in the contest, Newman climbed back in. Lindsey Meyer closed the door with a kill, and the team won 25-23.
In game two, Notre Dame held an ever so slight lead early, 9-7, but the Newman passing game produced sets that resulted in a 5-0 run. Trailing 20-19, they made their move and evened the match at one game from a crosscourt kill by Jamie Hawkins, taking the game 25-21.
Game three had a similar intensity and the Grennies once again managed to stay a step ahead at the most crucial points, especially as the score was tied at 24. The frontline produced kills by Katherine Bolyard and Avery Rowan to take a 2-1 lead overall.
In what might have been their last stand, Notre Dame, facing a nine-point deficit in game four, rallied to force a fifth game, keeping alive the hopes of winning a fourth straight title.
“I was hoping for us to have the momentum going into the fifth game,” Young said. “But, what it took for us to come back made it very difficult for us to have more left in the tank. However, I’m extremely proud of the way we fought.”
Lady Pios top
Riverside in semifinals
The Notre Dame Lady Pios knocked off 3-1 Friday morning in the Divsion IV semifinals to advance to their fourth straight championship game.
Lindsey Meyer led Notre Dame with 21 kills and Grace Morgan contributed 18. On the defensive side, Alli Daigle had 30 digs and Meyer followed with 19. The offense was paced by Sam Lyons with 32 assists and Alex Miller tallied 21.
The Pioneers made a statement in the first game with a 25-9 win, but they quickly found out that the Rebels were equal to the task, responding with a hard fought 26-24 victory in the second game to even the match at one game.
In the pivotal Game 3, multiple lead changes were reflective of the back and forth swing of momentum the Pioneers and Rebels were vying for, but it was the Pioneers who would survive to take a 2-1 lead into Game 4.
True to form, Notre Dame held on to take the third set, 34-32 and they’d also find themselves in a similar tussle in the fourth set, but the resiliency factor also pulled them through that one too.