Central Catholic High School's Yani Johnson serves during the Lady Eagles' regional round contest against False River Academy last week. The Lady Eagles will continue Division V postseason action Thursday when it faces St. John in on of four Division V quarterfinal matches at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. The match, which will be played on Court 3, is set for a 12:40 p.m. start. (The Daily Review/Mico Aloisio)
CCHS to face St. John in Division V quarterfinals
Central Catholic High School will continue Division V volleyball postseason play Thursday when it faces St. John at 12:40 p.m. in one of four quarterfinal matchups in the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.
The two teams are familiar with each other as they have faced each other during the regular season for four straight seasons.
Earlier this season, Central Catholic defeated St. John of Plaquemine in four games (25-16, 27-29, 25-22, 25-16) in Morgan City in the Lady Eagles’ annual Pink Game.
Now, almost a month after that regular-season matchup, the teams will meet again Thursday on court 3. Central Catholic enters the matchup as Division V’s No. 4 seed, while St. John is Division V’s No. 5 seed.
“I like to think about St. John being a real versatile team who’s not going to quit playing,” Central Catholic Coach Latashia Wise said. “They’re going to play really good defense. They’re very scrappy, and they’re going to push the ball in the court and capitalize on our mis-takes.”
St. John has several tal-ented players, Wise said, including an outside hitter that Central Catholic’s coach said gave the Lady Eagles problems in the set they lost this season.
Wise also noted St. John served the ball well.
In that Oct. 17 regular-season matchup, the Lady Eagles won two days after coming off a 6-0 mark at Terrebonne’s tournament to win the event.
While Wise said at the time her team still could have been fatigued from the weekend tournament, regardless, she wasn’t all pleased with her team’s performance against St. John.
Asked what she would like to see her team do better in their second matchup, Wise said she wants her team to get off to a better start and “look energized.”
“Now, we had the Pink Game going on (when the teams met during the regular season), which is no excuse, but I think that we didn’t jump start like we could have early on,” Wise said.
She said she would like to see the team serve better, and play defense better, too.
While the Lady Eagles will have to advance past Thursday before they can worry about any other opponent, if they do win Thursday, they may face top-seed Metairie Park Country Day, which will meet No. 8 seed Episcopal School of Acadiana in another semifinal set for 10:50 a.m. Thursday.
The top three seeds in this year’s tournament are Metairie Park Country Day, Louise McGehee and Ascen-sion Episcopal, all teams who have either won or advanced to the finals in the past five years.
Wise said she thinks Division V has become one of Louisiana’s tougher divisions in prep volleyball.
However, she also believes the time is now for her squad to make their mark.
In order to make the finals and hoist the state championship trophy, though, the Lady Eagles will have to be consistent, Wise said.
“We’re going to have to play consistent at the net,” she said. “We’re going to have to serve the ball consistent, and we’re going to have to serve-receive well, so if there’s one word that I think we need to get us through Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it’s consistency.”
While this weekend will be the team’s toughest stretch in tournament play, the Lady Eagles certainly have done well in tournament play this season with two championships and a runner-up finish.
Wise said she her team’s seed this year.
While the Lady Eagles have lost to Ascension Epis-copal the last two years, it is on the opposite side of the bracket.
With the current group of players she has, Wise’s team hasn’t faced Country Day.
“I think that we have a good shot” this week, Wise said. “We’re just going to have to play all together and be consistent.”
The Lady Eagles are led by sophomore middle blocker Yani Johnson who has 447 kills and 60 aces.
Senior libero Quincee Wiggins leads the team with 409 digs, while sophomore setter Katie Hoffpauir has 504 assists.
All Central Catholic volleyball games this week will be broadcast on KBZE 105.9 FM.