VSN Louisiana is here to give you your high school volleyball fix with a triple-header this week of top-tier matchups across the state.
Each game will be live streamed through VSN On Demand as well as through our apps, and up first is a contest between 6-time defending Division II champion Teurlings Catholic (31-5) hosting one of last year’s Division II semifinalists St. Thomas More (21-9) Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Wednesday’s game will feature 5-time Division I champion Mt. Carmel (24-9) hosting Chapelle (24-15) in a rematch of last year’s title game Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., and Thursday’s 5:30 p.m. meeting pits an up-and-coming John Curtis team (23-7) against Thomas Jefferson (13-16).
Tuesday’s and Thursday’s matchups also have district implications in 2-II and 5-IV, respectively, and there are few contests with a more intense rivalry than the one between Teurlings and STM.
“No matter who’s good or who’s bad, years ago we had a tough time beating them and the last few years we’ve had some success,” Teurlings Catholic coach Terry Hebert said. “But you never, ever count them out, I don’t care if they say they’re having a down year or not, Jessica (Burke) does a phenomenal job getting those girls ready.”
The two teams have already met twice this season in the regular season opener on September 3 and in the St. Joseph’s Academy tournament on September 28. Teurlings Catholic took both meetings winning five of the six sets, but only two of those sets were determined by more than a 3-point margin.
“It’s always an emotional game because of the close proximity geographically and they’re our biggest cross-town rival,” Hebert added. “We’re going to have to play our best no matter what’s on the other side. No matter what they ‘lose,’ they’re always ready to play.”
Ditto for Mt. Carmel and Chapelle, who will meet for the first time this season Wednesday at the Cubs’ gym. The two squads are more than familiar with one another, though, having been district opponents last season that met a total of four times.
The Cubs swept each matchup in the series including the Division I title game, 25-12, 25-9, 25-15, but Mt. Carmel coach April Hagadone doesn’t expect her team to have much trouble getting prepared for a scrappy Chipmunks group.
“It’s our ‘Pink Game’ so we should have a nice crowd and I think they’ll want to play well, and we’re also raising money for breast cancer and for Tulane’s cancer center,” explained Hagadone, whose team has been busy lately winning six of their last nine games in the last seven days.
After last Tuesday’s five-set loss to Dominican, the Cubs dropped another matchup against Mandeville (27-4), but bounced back winning their next six outings. Five of those wins came in a two-day stretch during a tournament at the Pontchartrain Center where Mt. Carmel took down an elite Cabrini squad as well as a previously undefeated Lafayette Christian team.
“We went into the Pontchartrain Center tournament and got to the finals which I was really proud of the team for doing after those two losses (to Dominican and Mandeville),” said Hagadone, whose team eventually fell to still-undefeated Country Day in the finals during their fourth game of the day.
“I think we ran out of gas but Country Day is playing on another level. They were definitely the better team but I was really proud of how we played over the weekend.”
Mt. Carmel hopes to pick up win No. 7 in their last eight games Tuesday at home against District 8-I foe Higgins before taking on Chapelle.
The Chipmunks are a young team that lost eight seniors from last year’s group, five of which are now playing at the collegiate level. As former district rivals to the Cubs, Chapelle is fully aware of the type of environment they’ll be facing Wednesday night.
“You know what to expect going in, it’s going to be loud and rowdy,” said Chapelle coach Anne Marie Stelly, who experienced the scene first-hand two years ago during her first season as the Chipmunks’ head coach.
“Sometimes in might take a game to get used to it. We’ve got a young team, we’ll see who shows up. It’s kind of like a crap shoot with the young ones.”
While Mt. Carmel and Chapelle have routinely found themselves among the very most upper-echelon teams in Division I over the past few years, John Curtis is looking to break through.
In the past 10 seasons, the Patriots have been to the second round three times, the quarterfinals six times and the semifinals once back in 2009.
Juli Hartley is currently in the midst of her fourth season as Curtis’ head coach, and hopes the group can become the first team this decade to get back to the Division IV semis.
The Patriots head into their ‘Pink Game’ playing well as of late taking Country Day to four sets and Assumption to five in losses, but have still won four of their last six games and nine of their last 12.
They’ll look to make it 10 of their last 13 Tuesday night at home against St. Charles, then travel to Cabrini on Wednesday before Thursday’s live streamed matchup against Thomas Jefferson.