Area schools split a pair of Division III semifinal matches Thursday at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, with Westlake winning to advance to Friday’s semifinals while Iowa lost to Ursuline Academy in its first appearance at the state volleyball tournament.
No. 3 Westlake (32-10) will play No. 2. E.D. White in the semifinal round at 11:50 a.m. today after beating No. 6 Lutcher (23-14) Thursday by scores of 25-17, 25-18, 20-25, 25-15. E.D. White (35-8) advanced with a four-set win over No. 7 Archbishop Hannan
The Westlake win ended years of heartbreak for the Rams, who had reached the quarterfinal round three times in the previous four years, only to lose the first game at the state tournament each time.
The Rams were led by Keonda Johnson with 12 kills and 15 digs, and Catherine Armentor, who had 11 kills and 14 digs.
“It is a great feeling — awesome, kind of unreal,” Rams head coach Gloria Fontenot said. “The girls said the same thing. It is a great feeling but also kind of hard to believe.”
Fontenot said the Rams came out strong.
“We were really aggressive in the first set and stayed composed in the second set,” she said.
“In the third, we got kind of lax. Before the fourth we talked about how we had beat ourselves in the third set. We made too many errors. We just needed to clean that up and go right at them again. We played really well together. We were moving together and going after balls together.”
Fontenot said the Rams face another tough challenge today.
“E.D. White has a very good team and program,” she said. “They always are strong with the fundamentals and this year they have two good hitters, one outside and one middle, and a pretty good setter so those are three players we are going to have to focus on. We have to clean up some mistakes. We weren’t talking enough so we were running into each other going after balls.”
No. 5 Iowa lost to No. 4 Ursuline Academy by scores of 21-25, 25-11, 25-22, 25-18. The loss was the first in 22 matches for the Yellow Jackets (36-8).