Ascension Catholic's championship journey ends in the semifinals

Kyle Riviere
Ascension Catholic finished the season with an overall record of 31-11. Photo by Chuck Montero.

After a tremendous season that saw them take home a district championship, the Ascension Catholic Lady Bulldog volleyball team had their season ended just two wins away from a state title.

Ascension Catholic's stellar year saw them enter the playoffs as a No. 4 seed. With such a high ranking, they were awarded a first-round bye.

They earned themselves a spot in the State Volleyball Tournament in Kenner with a straight-sets victory over St. John in the second round--their third victory over the Lady Eagles this season.

They punched their ticket to the semifinals after another 3-0 victory over Houma Christian.

Just one win away from the state title game, they fell to eventual state champion McGehee in three sets.

The Lady Bulldogs finished the regular season with an impressive 29-10 overall record. This included wins in 14 of their final 16 matches. They went a perfect 8-0 in the district, allowing them to take home the league crown.

Their trip to the state quarterfinals was their first in five years, and they certainly made the best of it with a straight-sets victory. They beat Houma Christian by scores of 25-20, 25-18 and 25-17.

Rae'Shaun Melancon led the effort as she piled up 14 kills and two blocks.

In their semifinal matchup with top-seeded McGehee, the Lady Bulldogs were seeking their first trip to the state title game since 2006 and only their fourth trip all time.

McGehee had been a juggernaught all season, entering the contest with a 40-4 record and nine-match winning streak.

They looked every bit as dominant against the Lady Bulldogs as they cruised to 25-6, 25-16 and 25-9 victories in the three sets.

In the loss, Michayla Spano led Ascension Catholic with 21 assists.

The Lady Bulldogs finished with an overall record of 31-11.

Heading into the future, they will be without two of their top three players in Malancon and Spano. Both are seniors, along with Julia Beck.

"We will be losing five seniors, all of whom played a vital role to the team's success. We're losing out setter, two middles, one outside hitter and libero," Ascension Catholic head coach Chandra Ewes said. "Returning will be a strong outside hitter in Grace Villa, a versatile all-around player in Carson Dunn and Hannah Settoon--who would often come off the bench to contribute to varsity."

Though the Lady Bulldogs fell a little short in their quest to bring the school their first ever volleyball state title, Coach Ewes said that she was immensely proud of what her team accomplished this season.

"Our team accomplished many goals that were set this summer," Ewes said. "We finished as undefeated district champions, returned to the Pontchartrain Center and finished as a state semifinalist, losing to the state champion.

"Along the way, we won a tournament, played a very tough schedule, defeating and losing to some phenomenal opponents. The heart and dedication that this team brought to the gym daily will be hard to match."