ORANGE, CALIF. —
No. 1 Cathedral Catholic (San Diego)
capped its unbeaten season Saturday with a 3-0 win over No. 11 Saint Francis (Mountain View, Calif.)
in the CIF Open Division finals at Santiago Canyon College, downing the Lancers 25-21, 25-16, 25-23.
The Dons, without Stanford-bound star Julia Blyashov
, showed off their incredible depth, relentless attacking offense, stifling at-the-net blocking and tenacious defense in the sweep. Jenna Hanes
led the team with 14 kills, Noemie Glover
added 13 and Milan Bayless
chipped in nine. Setter Amanda Saeger
tossed 26 assists and the team had 18 blocks while libero Maya Evens
had 16 digs.
"Just a fantastic way to top off our season," Cathedral Catholic coach Juliana Conn said. "I knew there's a lot on the line."
Cathedral Catholic will finish No. 1 in the final MaxPreps Top 25 after dropping one set all season while going 42-0 against a grueling national schedule that included titles at the Durango Fall Classic, the Dave Mohs and the Kamehameha tournament in Hawaii and the ESPN GEICO High School Volleyball Invitational.
On Saturday, Saint Francis pushed the Dons like few others have this year. Erin Curtis
and Glover traded monster kills in the first set as the Lancers led 10-8 before the Oregon-bound Glover reeled off five straight kills to put the Dons up 13-11. When Glover rotated out, Milan Bayless came in and provided the offense while she and Ryleigh Patterson
combined for a block to close out the first-set victory.
"They stressed me out a lot," Conn said of Saint Francis' play. "They were awesome. I told the girls, they're in the same shoes - they haven't lost. They have very good players and had a good game plan."
The second set was much like the first as the Lancers hung around for a time before Cathedral Catholic's depth provided separation. Glover notched a kill that ricocheted 15 rows into the stands before Hanes and Bayless added kills. Then Hanes ended the second set with a kill.
"It's been the talk of the season, how I'm keeping everyone happy. And I think everyone knew there was a role to be filled and everyone accepted that," Conn said.
Cathedral Catholic led 12-9 in the third before the Lancers' push gave them leads of 16-15 on a Curtis kill. The Dons would get kills from Hanes, Patterson and Bayless before a Curtis kill tied the set at 18.
"I think this team does a great job of handling what's in front of them and not letting the moment get too big," Saint Francis coach Lake Merchen said. "When the lights shine brighter, so do we. We showed that tonight. Not every point went our way but that's what happens when you play an amazing team like Cathedral Catholic."
Saint Francis was able to knot the score at 20, but were unable to return Hanes' kill attempt with the Dons up 24-23 and the No. 1 team for most of the season rushed the court in celebration.
"It doesn't happen everyday. I'm so lucky I get to coach all these phenomenal players," Conn said.
Junior Taylor Williams
led the offense for Saint Francis with 15 kills while Curtis added 10 and setter Havannah Hoeft
tossed 30 assists and added 13 digs.