Central Catholic High School will begin play at the State Farm State Volleyball Tournament Thursday against a familiar foe when it faces St. Martin’s Episcopal at 1:30 p.m. at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.
Approximately a month ago at Metairie Park Country Day’s tournament, Central Catholic defeated St. Martin’s, 25-15, 25-16.
Now, both teams will meet again with their playoff lives at stake.
Central Catholic (25-11) enters the matchup as Division 5’s No. 3 seed, while St. Martin’s (21-15) is the No. 6 seed.
Both teams received a bye in first-round action, while in second-round play, Central Catholic defeated No. 19 seed Christian Life 3-0 (25-9, 25-11, 25-5) and St. Martin’s knocked off No. 11 seed Archbishop Hannan, 3-1 (25-19, 25-20, 24-26, 25-22).
For Central Catholic, this is the fourth consecutive trip to the Pontchartrain Center. During the past two years, the Lady Eagles have finished as state semifinalists.
Central Catholic coach Kendra Halverson said that the experience from the Lady Eagles’ previous trips will make this year’s trip a “comfortable” one.
“They’re ready to go,” Halverson said of her squad. “They know exactly what they need to do to get it done. It’s just a matter of coming together to do it.”
Besides each other, both teams have faced various other common opponents.
Both fell to H.L. Bourgeois and both beat the Academy of Sacred Heart–New Orleans.
Central Catholic has defeated Belle Chasse, Morgan City, Covington and John Curtis, while St. Martin’s fell to each of these squads.
However, during its season, St. Martin’s took Ben Franklin, Division 3’s fourth seed, to five games before falling, and they did take one game from Division 3’s No. 1 seed, Ursuline Academy, in a four-game loss.
“They’re a very scrappy team,” Halverson said of St. Martin’s. “They’re a very good defensive team. They have some good (servers). We have them in the hitting category and blocking probably, but they do have some great defense so we’re going to have to once again serve tough and try to get them in a bind early.”
In Monday’s second-round win, the Lady Eagles recorded an impressive 19 aces, led by Celine Flores’ seven and Brittany Longman’s six.
The Lady Eagles also received solid net play led by Brie Hill’s 12 kills and Meo Knight’s and Gee Garrett’s eight kills apiece.
CCHS setter Caroline Byrne dished out 25 assists in the win, while Abbie Bergeron led the squad in digs with 10.
In other quarterfinal matchups Thursday, No. 1 seed Episcopal School of Acadiana will take on No. 8 seed Catholic-P.C., No. 5 seed Ascension Episcopal will face No. 4 seed St. John, and No. 2 seed Metairie Park Country Day will play No. 7 seed Ascension Christian.
The winner of the Ascension Christian-Metairie Park Country Day matchup will meet the Central Catholic-St. Martin’s Episcopal winner at 11:45 a.m. Friday.
Central Catholic’s game Thursday will be broadcast on KBZE 105.9 FM and KFRA 1390 a.m. with pregame beginning at 1:15 p.m.
If the Lady Eagles advance, the broadcasts will continue with pregame set for 15 minutes prior to game time.