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Archbishop Hannan gets revenge with sweep of E.D. White for Division III volleyball title

Hawks avenge last season's semifinal loss to Cardinals by winning third championship in four-year span

LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA - Archbishop Hannan coach Rebekka Bonnaffee didn’t want to dwell on last season’s semifinal loss to E.D. White entering Saturday’s Division III title match. 

Her players, on the other hand, were more than determined to get revenge.

The Hawks did just that on Saturday, getting key plays late in each set as Hannan avenged that semifinal defeat with a 3-0 win (25-20, 25-22, 26-24) at the Cajundome.

“We didn’t talk about it much in the locker room before the game, we just talked about making sure that we took care of our business and did what we could do,” Bonnaffee said. “But I know it was in the back of all of their minds; I know it was.

“But these girls have, all season, just been focused; we wanted to do our thing and they did.”

And the Hawks themselves confirmed afterward they were more than eager to get payback on the Cardinals.

“Last year, it was really rough losing to E.D. White, and we moved on, but we never forgot it, and this year, we knew we really wanted to come out and show them that we can beat them,” senior setter Sarah Kirsch said.

“I think, for that, it was a bunch of energy to finish that game and fight for every point, and I think we just did really well on defense, like hustling for every single ball, which is contagious on the court, and our blockers did a really good job of closing the block and just being tough out there.”

Hannan (41-2) resumed its recent run of state titles, now having won three of the past four championships.

“I am just so proud of these girls and the way that they all stuck together throughout the entire season, and to have them work so hard and get what they’ve worked for is just super special,” Bonnaffee said. “It’s a super special, amazing experience; I hope they realize that, and I just couldn’t ask for more of them.”

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Hannan broke a 19-all score in the opening set by scoring the next four points, capped by an ace from junior libero Miranda Holincheck. Then a kill from sophomore middle hitter Bailey Bevolo on set point gave the Hawks a 1-0 match advantage.

The Cardinals (33-9) led 13-10 in the second set before Hannan clawed back. Just like the opening set, the Hawks got a key spurt late, this time scoring three straight points to break a 21-all score.

Junior outside hitter Mia Phillips capped that run with a kill; then also had another kill on set point to put the Hawks up by two sets.

“It was needed, I guess,” Phillips said. “I really did not want to lose again this year, so I was like, I might as well do whatever I can to get the points.”

Then in the third set, E.D. White built a three-point lead, 20-17. That’s when Bonnaffee called a time out.

The Hawks responded, reeling off four straight points. They went up 24-22 before E.D. White scored the next two points to prolong the match.

But junior hitter Reese Foster’s kill gave the Hawks another chance at the championship point. This time, they got it, as Phillips placed a kill that wasn’t returned as Hannan players converged onto the court in celebration.

“A couple of times when we took a time out, I just told them that the next point is the only one that matters, and that we had to get that one, and they did,” Bonnaffee said. “They were amazing.”

Senior outside hitter Sophia Bonnaffee was named the MVP, finishing with a team-high 24 kills to go along with 10 digs, sharing the team lead with Holincheck.

“I think we were never worried,” she said. “We saw that it was tied and we knew it was going to be a tough fight to finish first, but we were never worried that we were going to lose; we were just very confident in ourselves.”

Archbishop Hannan coach Rebekka Bonnaffee (center) and match MVP Sophia Bonnaffee are interviewed following the Hawks' Division III state championship win Nov. 11, 2023.

Archbishop Hannan coach Rebekka Bonnaffee (center) and match MVP Sophia Bonnaffee are interviewed following the Hawks' Division III state championship win Nov. 11, 2023.

Phillips had nine kills as well for Hannan. Kirsch recorded 34 assists, and Holincheck also had 10 digs.

For E.D. White, senior hitter Brightyn Ratcliff had 15 kills and 10 digs, while freshman middle blocker Kiley Johnson had 11 kills. Sophomore setters Karsyn Breaux and Kat Harrison finished with 19 and 15 assists, respectively.

-- Buck Ringgold | | @SBLiveLA