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"It happened so fast," she said. "I still get chills every time I watch that last point."
The fifth-year varsity player and third-year captain dove so hard to the Pontchartrain Center floor for a dig that she didn't hear the referee's final whistle. An opposing hitter had brushed the net. It was point, set and match, and triggered a wild, raucous celebration near midcourt.
The Academy of the Sacred Heart (New Orleans), a small all-girls Roman Catholic school founded in 1867, had won the Louisiana state Division IV girls volleyball championship in four sets Nov. 14 over favored Pope John Paul II.
It was the Cardinals' first state crown since 2006, and 14th overall, and came against a squad that had won three titles in four years and downed Sacred Heart earlier in the season.
"We went into the playoffs thinking, 'Hey, we're the underdogs here. Let's take advantage of that and surprise some people,' " May said.
The Sacred Heart title came a season after a 2019 dud that ended below .500 and with an early playoff exit, followed by a year that was beaten and battered by COVID-19. Practice schedules and matches were altered or skipped; fans were required to largely stay home.
"We were just lucky to play this year," May said.
Especially fortunate for May who knew she wouldn't play after 2020. Her focus by next summer will be on college, academics and new surroundings. A game she's played year-round for Cajunland Volleyball since she was 9 would be in the rear view mirror.
"It feels funny that that was my last volleyball match ever," she said. "It's bittersweet that it's over. But that's the only way you want to end a career. With a state title."
Especially with all the family who had given her so much in attendance, all decked out in bright Cardinal reds and Sacred Heart swag.
Mom and May
Leading the charge was her mom Ellen, a 1987 Sacred Heart graduate and talented 5-9 middle hitter on the volleyball team. May's mother, then Ellen Heidingsfelder, and current assistant coach Betsy Laborde (then Becker) propelled the Cardinals to the school's first state title as seniors in 1986.
Ellen, like May, was named the championship game's MVP of that title game, a fact she didn't reveal until after last month's match.
Dad and May
May's dad Cooper is grinning also. He is the oldest of Archie and Olivia's three boys and by many accounts, the most athletic.
There was plenty of hollering during May's championship match from her younger brothers, along with a group of other Newman football players behind the Pope John Paul II bench.
The Manning siblings are tight and all within four years in age. The boys would have made more volleyball matches this season, but COVID restrictions kept them away. Nothing restricted them on championship day. May noticed all the Greenies, dressed in Sacred Heart colors, and even volleyball practice jerseys.
Roughly 300 fans were allowed into the title match and the football kids were perhaps the loudest. Their enthusiasm and excitement has barely simmered.
"They all support and love each other," he said. "Everyone is equally excited for others' successes. If I ever have to talk about it, I would simply say: ‘Look at me. I'm a guy who has two brothers that won Super Bowls and been on the highest level and I've been nothing but thrilled for them. Jealousy is a nasty thing, so let's never go there.' "
"As we've gotten older we've got closer. All our friends hang out together. But he'll always be my little brother. It will definitely be weird seeing him on TV in interviews or getting fan mail later. I don't think any of it right now affects him. He's oblivious to it sometimes. He doesn't realize that it's kind of a big deal. … Arch is probably one of the most humble people I've ever known."
"I think my friends and Arch's friends make it all so normal, so comfortable," May said. "It's not as big a deal as it might seem. Obviously my grandfather played for the Saints, my uncles played in the NFL. Everyone in New Orleans knows the Mannings and is so used to it."
Going to Sacred Heart has also helped with the spotlight or possible scrutiny, she said.
Ultimately, her healthy perspective comes back to a balanced, enthusiastic family who shows its true color, whether at championship matches or practice or school.
"I think it's everybody — my parents, my grandparents, my brothers," she said. "It's just having such a huge support system that's so separate from football.
Grace Carr, Mountain Brook (Birmingham)
The Class 7A state Player of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, Carr led her team to a state championship and finished with 713 kills and 583 digs on the season.
Destiny Reimers, Anchorage Christian (Anchorage)
Reimers earned all-state honors three times in her career and led Anchorage Christian to a 23-1 record and a state championship.
Alyssa Brown, Sahuaro (Tucson)
One of the leading scorers in the country, Brown averaged 31.4 points in leading Sahuaro to the state championship game and a 28-2 record.
Jersey Wolfenbarger, Northside (Fort Smith)
The MaxPreps state basketball Player of the Year is one of the top recruits in the Class of 2021. She led Northside to a 25-3 record while averaging 18.7 points per game.
Te-Hina Paopao, La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla)
A MaxPreps first team All-American, Paopao averaged 22.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in helping La Jolla Country Day to a No. 1 ranking in the nation.
Julianna Dalton, Chaparral (Parker)
Dalton earned All-American honors by Under Armour after leading Chaparral to a Class 5A state championship. She had 313 kills and 289 digs and was the state's 5A state player of the year.
Sydney Masciarelli, Marianapolis Prep (Thompson)
The top distance runner in the state finished seventh at the Foot Locker championships and was second in the Foot Locker northeast regional.
Allie Kubek, Sanford (Hockessin)
Kubek has been all-state three times and helped lead Sanford to an 18-2 record this year while averaging 20.2 points per game.
Kiki Rice, Sidwell Friends
A Gatorade state Player of the Year in soccer and basketball, Rice averaged 26.8 points in leading her team to a 25-6 record this year.
O'Mariah Gordon, Braden River (Bradenton)
A two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year, Gordon was a fourth-team MaxPreps All-American while averaging 23.1 points per game.
Savannah Bray, Etowah (Woodstock)
Named the Class 7A state Player of the Year, Bray led her team to the state semifinals. She posted 734 kills and 705 dogs and had a state record 2,304 kills, according to the Tribune Ledger.
Elena Oglivie, 'Iolani (Honolulu)
A three-time Gatorade State Player of the Year in volleyball, Oglivie played for Team USA during the World Championships and also had 259 kills for ‘Iolani during the fall season.
Peyton McFarland, Boise
At 6-foot-4, McFarland ranks as one of the top post players in the Class of 2020. She averaged 16.2 points and 9.1 rebounds while leading her team to a 17-9 record.
Katelynne Hart, Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn)
The state Class 3A champion in cross country for the fourth time, Hart finished fourth at the Foot Locker National Championships.
Madison Layden, Northwestern (Kokomo)
Layden finished her career as one of the state's all-time leading scorers with 2,360 points. She earned all-state honors three times and averaged 25.6 points this year.
Caitlin Clark, Dowling Catholic (West Des Moines)
Clark twice earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors, including her senior year when she averaged 33.4 points. She scored 2,547 points in her four-year varsity career.
Kendra Wait, Gardner-Edgerton (Gardner)
Wait posted 2,669 assists and 1,078 digs in her high school volleyball career, according to Gatorade. She was also the Kansas Gatorade State Player of the Year in track and field as a junior.
Anna DeBeer, Assumption (Louisville)
DeBeer helped lead Assumption to a state championship and earned MaxPreps first team All-America honors. She had 409 kills and 287 digs on the season.
Jerkaila Jordan, John Curtis Christian (River Ridge)
Jordan led the Patriots to a 27-4 record and a fourth straight Division I championship. She was also a four-time state championship game MVP. She finished the season averaging 21.7 points per game.
Emily Archibald, Kennebunk
A soccer and basketball standout, Archibald averaged 20 points and 13.5 rebounds for the basketball team and was named league player of the year for the second time.
Mary Grace Goyena, Mount de Sales Academy (Catonsville)
Mount de Sales won the IAAM volleyball championship on the play of Goyena, who had 410 kills on the season.
Francesca Frelick, Austin Prep (Reading)
The returning Division III Player of the Year in softball, Frelick was also a four-time CCL all-star in ice hockey.
Jess Mruzik, Mercy (Farmington Hills)
A MaxPreps All-American, Mruzik led Mercy to a 59-1 record and a state championship. She had 495 kills and 209 digs on the season.
Paige Bueckers, Hopkins (Minnetonka)
The MaxPreps National Athlete of the Year will play at UConn next year after averaging 21.4 points and 9.4 assists per game at Hopkins.
Jaccoria Bracey, Ruleville Central (Ruleville)
Averaging 35 points per game, Bracey was the MaxPreps state Player of the Year in 2020. She finished her career as one of the state's all-time leading scorers with 4,334 points.
Birdie Hendrickson, Logan-Rogersville (Rogersville)
A two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year, Hendrickson led her team to the state finals and had 483 kills and 382 digs on the season.
Kyndall Keller , Havre
Keller earned all-state honors three years in a row and led her team to a 20-2 record in 2020. She averaged 18.7 points during the season.
Lindsay Krause, Skutt Catholic (Omaha)
A MaxPreps second team All-American, Krause led her team to a Class B state championship and had 360 kills and 143 digs on the year.
Audrey Boch Collins, Clark (Las Vegas)
Boch Collins became the first girls tennis player to win the single state championship four years in a row. She is one of the top-ranked high school players in the country.
Shauna Vadeboncoeur, Exeter
Just a sophomore, Vadeboncoeur was the Division I girls hockey Player of the Year after registering 42 goals with 17 assists.
Anna Morris, Immaculate Heart Academy (Washington Township)
A basketball and volleyball standout, Morris led her team to a Non-Public Tournament of Champions title in volleyball and had 413 kills for the season. She's headed to Northwestern on a basketball scholarship.
Viane Cumber, Sandia (Albuquerque)
Cumber, a junior, led her team to a 21-5 record and averaged 22.4 points and 10.6 rebounds.
Katelyn Tuohy, North Rockland (Thiells)
The top distance runner in the country for three years in a row, Tuohy is a four-time Gatorade Player of the Year winner. She won the Nike Cross Nationals for the third straight year.
Saniya Rivers, Ashley (Wilmington)
Already a two-time Gatorade state Player of the Year, Rivers returns for her senior season next year as one of the top all-around players in the Class of 2021. She averaged 250 points and 11.8 rebounds at Ashley.
Abigail Duchscherer, Kindred
Only a sophomore, Duchscherer is already one of the top basketball players in the state as she has been named all-state three times and is closing in on 2,000 career points.
Madeline Westbeld, Fairmont (Kettering)
A McDonald's All-Star Game participant, Westbeld helped her team to the regional finals and a 25-3 record. She averaged 18 points and 11.2 rebounds on the season.
Aaliyah Moore, Moore
A MaxPreps All-American, Moore is one of the top players in the Class of 2021. She averaged 21.9 points and 10.9 rebounds this season.
Fiona Max, Summit (Bend)
Finishing 10th at the Nike Cross Nationals, Max earned All-American honors. She is a two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year honoree and she led Summit to the Class 6A state championship this year.
Marlee Starliper, Northern York (Dillsburg)
One of the top cross country and track and field long distance runners in the nation, Starliper finished fifth at the Nike Cross Country Nationals and second at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships.
Keri Spitler, North Kingstown
Spitler led her team to a second straight state volleyball championship and a 19-0 record. She had 283 kills and 129 digs on the year.
Loyal McQueen, Wilson (Florence)
McQueen was one of the top scorers in the state with 27.3 points per game and over 2,000 in her career. She is a three-time all-state pick by the state coaches association and played five years on the varsity.
Kadye Fernholz, Miller
A second team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, Fernholz had 575 kills and 437 digs in leading Miller to a 34-3 record.
Alex Walsh, Harpeth Hall (Nashville)
The nation's No. 2 swimming recruit, Walsh set a national high school record in the 100 backstroke this year.
Paige Flickinger, Byron Nelson (Trophy Club)
The MaxPreps Volleyball Player of the Year, Flickinger led her team to a Class 6A state championship and had 797 kills and 813 digs on the season.
Kennady McQueen, North Summit (Coalville)
A two-sport star, McQueen averaged 20.7 points per game in basketball for a team that went 24-2. In volleyball, she had 215 kills and 222 digs.
Kristyna Kaltounkova, Vermont Academy (Saxtons River)
A native of Czechoslovakia, Kaltounkova has been one of the top hockey players in New England for the past four seasons, recently committing to play at Colgate.
Sydney Reed, Flint Hill (Oakton)
The VISAA Division I player of the year, Reed led Flint to a 31-1 record and a state title. She had 253 digs and 243 kills on the season.
Hailey Van Lith, Cashmere
Van Lith was rated as one of the top guards in the country this year and was the Seattle Times State Player of the Year. She ended her career as the state's all-time leading scorer with 2,994 points.
Skye Stokes, Oak Glen (New Cumberland)
Stokes led Oak Glen to a 38-0 record, a Class AA state championship and was named the state Player of the Year. She had 392 kills, 158 aces and 235 digs.
Lexi Donarski, Aquinas (La Crosse)
A McDonald's All-Star Game selection, Donarski averaged 24 points per game and led her team to a 22-1 record. She is a three-time all-state pick.
Danilynn Schell, Kelly Walsh (Casper)
Schell is a four-time all-state pick and she led Kelly Walsh to a Class 4A state title and a 35-1 record. She also had 528 assists on the season. She was also one of the top players on the basketball team that won the Class 4A state championship.
The event was played throughout last week with state championships in all four classes held Saturday. According to a Twitter account devoted to the Iowa high school baseball tournament, 29,904 fans passed through the turnstiles – the highest turnout since 2014.
Due to virus concerns, ticket sales for each game were capped around 1,800, according to a press release distributed by the IHSAA. Capacity at Principal Park is 11,500.
The best-attended state tournament since 2014, all during a global pandemic and safety protocols. Thanks for your support.— Iowa HS Baseball (@iahsbb) August 2, 2020
13 — 35,095 (record)
14 — 34,428
15 — 26,311
16 — 29,153
17 — 25,709
18 — 27,533
19 — 28,797
20 — 29,904
Total (16 years) — 483,254 pic.twitter.com/MDIPaSQpHq
While reports from last week's championships have been positive, the state's summer baseball and softball seasons haven't been without adversity when it comes to the novel coronavirus. ESPN reported in early July that at least 25 of 338 baseball teams and 20 softball teams have encountered some type of exposure to COVID-19.
Class 4A baseball championship contender Dowling Catholic (West Des Moines) ended its season around the same time after a member of the team tested positive for COVID-19. The school's softball team also ended its season prematurely.
The season got underway a month later than originally scheduled. Those initial baseball and softball contests in Iowa were the first high school sports events since the pandemic shut things down in March.