Cathedral girls volleyball team stays unbeaten, wins Open title

Nation’s top ranked girls volleyball team, Cathedral Catholic, still hasn’t lost a set after sweeping Torrey Pines to win the San Diego Section Open Division crown


Before the season began, Cathedral Catholic High was the odds-on favorite to win the Open Division girls volleyball , championship.

Through a long regular season, a few elite tournaments as well as a made-for-TV four-team event in Nebraska for ESPN, Cathedral Catholic High has never stumbled.

The San Diego Section’s defending Open Division champion Dons are still prefect.

The top-seeded Dons (38-0) remained undefeated with a 25-20, 25-10, 25-19 win over their rival, No. 2 Torrey Pines, to win the San Diego Section playoffs Friday night at Westview High.

With back-to-back Open championships, Cathedral, ranked No. 1 in the nation, also is perfect on the court and has yet to lose a single set all season.

“This feels so good in my first year playing here,’’ junior middle blocker Jenna Hanes, who sat out last season after transferring from Rancho Bernardo. “In the first set, when we got a big run, I knew we had them again.’’

Torrey Pines, which has dropped just 31 sets this season, won Open Division championships in 2013-15, 2017 and swept Cathedral 25-19, 25-23, 26-24 for the 2019 section title before eventually winning the Open Division state championship.

On Oct. 18, Cathedral swept Torrey Pines 25-9, 25-14, 25-9 in a nonleague match-up.

“The first time, I thought we played really well against them,’’ said Hanes, who had 10 kills and 10 blocks. “We always try to play our best game, but we were more energized this time.

“We knew we had to bring our best game for the finals.’’

Besides Hanes’ offensive numbers, the Dons got 11 kills and four blocks from Julia Blyashov, five kills and five blocks from Noemie Glover and four kills from Ryleigh Patterson.

Torrey Pines (26-9) countered with Layla Williams getting eight kills and a block and Grace Flanagan with five kills and four blocks.

“We didn’t expect them to play this well,’’ Dons coach Juliana Conn said. “They played great defense all night.

“We talked how they would be underdogs so they would get some kills. I told the girls to do what we do best and we’d overpower them in the end.’’

The first set started out in Torrey Pines’ favor, building a 6-1 lead before the Dons got started.

Cathedral finally grabbed the lead, using a 7-0 run for 14-12 lead, but the road to winning the first set was not that easy.

Hanes checked in with three kills and five blocks to lead the Dons back from the rocky start.

In the second set, Cathedral started fast this time with a shorter lineup, racing to a 9-0 lead, putting the Falcons in deep trouble. The Dons also had a 7-0 run in the set.

The third set, with the Falcons facing elimination in three sets again, Torrey Pines stayed tough, closing the deficit to 11-9.

But the Falcons could never grab the lead after Cathedral took it for good at 2-1.

Blyashov, last year’s CIF player of the year, injured her right ankle just five points shy of the crown.

The final kill was by Hanes.

And the perfection continues.

Monahan is a freelance writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune.