BAY ST. LOUIS — Our Lady Academy Crescents (42-4) volleyball team won its third consecutive South State Championship with a 3-1 win over St. Patrick Fighting Irish (21-6) on Monday in the Class 3A South State playoffs.
The Crescents won the first two sets 25-13 and 25-17 before finding themselves in a battle as the Fighting Irish took off in the third set, opening up with a 12-4 lead. The Crescents would fight back, getting within four points of the lead at 20-24, but the Fighting Irish would close out the third set on the next point to force a fourth set.
The Crescents would get off to a strong start to open the fourth set, going up 9-2. But the Fighting Irish would battle back to score four consecutive points late to tie the set at 20-20, then at 22-22. And that’s when the poise and experience of the reigning state champions took over, as the Crescents would score three consecutive points to close out the match.
“We knew they would come ready to beat us,” said OLA coach Emily Corley. “We just tried to remain calm and play our game the way we always do. We put them through high-pressure situations in practice so when they get that way in a game, we just remind them to relax and play through it.
“I am very proud of them,” said Corley. “They remained calm, they kept listening to us, and they believed in themselves. I’m really happy with how they did tonight.”
Ava Davis led the Crescents with 46 assists, 16 points and 5 aces. Mya Favre had 19 kills. Loralai Williford had 12 points and 7 kills.
The Fighting Irish had their best success of the season against the Crescents as they made a serious run, winning a set and getting within three points of potentially taking the match to a fifth set. The Crescents won both matches in the regular season, 3-0.
“We took a time out, and I told them that you got to go to work out here, and they did,” said SPHS coach Dee Blakeney. “They got some kills and the sets were good, and we played all around good ball.
“We played well in that stretch,” said Blakeney. “I’m so proud of the way they fought.”
The Fighting Irish season came to an end with the loss. The Crescents will compete for their sixteenth state championship, as they will play Alcorn Central for the 3A State Championship on Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. at the Gillom Athletics Performance Center in Oxford on the campus of the University of Mississippi.
Alcorn Central swept Belmont 3-0 Monday night in the Class 1A North State finals.