Cathedral Catholic, La Jolla repeat in beach volleyball after both winning inaugural titles a year ago

La Jolla High's Lindsay Laumann dives as Paisley Mahn looks on during their match against La Costa Canyon on Saturday.
(Denis Poroy)

No. 3 Ava Stoddard-Mia Compass clinches it for Cathedral over Torrey Pines in Div. I, while La Jolla rallies to win at both No. 1 and No. 5 to defeat La Costa Canyon in Div. II


The second one ended the same way the first one ended.

On May 7, 2022, in the inaugural San Diego Section championship matches for girls beach volleyball, Cathedral Catholic High as well as La Jolla captured titles at San Diego Mesa College.

This time, both Cathedral and La Jolla were again crowned champions.

Cathedral (11-1), the top seed in Division I, swept the three matches in the second round Saturday at Mesa College to defeat Torrey Pines 4-1.

In last year’s finals, Cathedral downed Torrey Pines 4-1 too.

No. 2 La Jolla managed to rally from the brink of defeat to claim back-to-back Division II titles with a 3-2 stunner over top-seeded La Costa Canyon.

Torrey Pines (13-1) split the first two matches to open the finals, but the Falcons nearly swept those two matches, which could have changed how the second round went.

“It was insane because we almost had to win all three matches in that second round,” said 5-foot-8 junior Ava Stoddard, who helped the Dons win the clinching match at No. 3 with partner Mia Compass. “We expected to lose at No. 1 without Julia (Blyashov), but we won anyway.

“Cathedral has a chance to win all of the volleyball titles this year.”

The Dons won the section and state titles in indoor volleyball and were crowned national champion.

Cathedral’s boys volleyball team is deep into the postseason too.

Blyashov was at nationals with her club team and skipped the finals.

Cathedral also got wins from Carly Hixson and Lauren Hansen at No. 1, Tehya Maeva and Maria Neves at No. 4 and Maya Evens and Gracen Daniels at No. 5.

Maeva and Neves were victorious in three sets for the Dons.

La Jolla grabbed the Division II title again.

But it was not easy this time.

“I was never relaxed,” La Jolla coach Kelly Drobeck said. “I tried to focus on the No. 5 pairs to get them to a third set. They were pretty stressed out.

“This feels great for these girls to cap off season with back-to-back titles.”

La Jolla (17-2), which beat Classical Academy 4-1 for last year’s title, fell behind 2-1 and the Vikings trailed in both the No. 1s and No. 5s in third sets against La Costa Canyon (12-3).

But sophomore Lindsay Laumann and freshman Paisley Mahn rallied back to win their third set at 15-10 to go with 21-15, 9-21 scores at No. 1.

Junior Natalie Fu and junior Anais Reneaum Lavoie at No. 5 took control and ran off a 15-3 victory to clinch the team title after rebounding from a 21-14 loss in the first set and a 22-20 win in the second set.

“I was in panic mode there for a few minutes,” senior Grayson Lejuwaan said after she and partner Mia Jessen won at No. 4 by a 21-11, 21-14 score. “We need No. 1 and No. 5 to go to a third set and they did.

“I was just kind of hoping for the best. Thankfully, it turned out right.

“This is the way senior year is supposed to end.”

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