By Ron Brocato, Clarion Herald Sports
The Academy of Our Lady (AOL) is in the midst of a magical season, having won 16 of its 18 matches entering the final weeks of the season.
Coach Don Landry’s Penguins have lost just twice, to Central Catholic of Morgan City and to Country Day, and may be on their way to the school‘s first 25-win season.
AOL, the No. 6 seed in Division II, is one of nine outstanding local Catholic school volleyball programs eyeing berths in the Nov. 14-16 state tournament at the Pontchartrain Center.
Five-time Division I champion Mount Carmel has been on a roll since mid-September, and has run its record to 20-6 while holding on to the No. 1 power rating.
District rival Dominican (18-7) has earned a No. 4 ranking.
Four of Dominican’s losses have come in tournaments. And two impressive wins were against Notre Dame and St. Thomas More in the Catholic League tournament.
Since Kasey Baird Dennies has been Cabrini’s head coach, the Crescents have been a rising force in Division III. This season, they sport a 20-3 record and the No. 1 power ranking.
Cabrini has beaten past state champions Mount Carmel, Archbishop Hannan, Pope John Paul II and St. Joseph’s Academy.
Pope John Paul II experienced a slow start, but has since rallied to win 21 of 26 matches and the No. 8 power position in Division IV.
The Lady Jags are the girls of November, having gone unbeaten in 10 consecutive matches during the month.
Another former champion is playing its best volleyball. Coach Jay Jay Juan’s Ursuline Lions began a string of victories that lasted nine matches before losing to the Academy of the Sacred Heart on Oct. 10. The run pushed the Lions’ power ranking to No. 4 in Division III.
With Ashley Ruckert at the helm, Sacred Heart has recorded a 14-6 record and is the District 6-IV leader. Additionally, the Cardinals have built their power rating to No. 10.