Tawa’s HS Dots: Annointing Cathedral Catholic, wrapping up 2022 with state titles galore


This is “Dots,” VolleyballMag.com’s weekly look at 10 things in high school volleyball, past or present. It’s been a great fall. Look for club Dots in the spring and we’ll also have a club Dream Team on Wednesday:

• Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you today the Cathedral Catholic Dons, the consensus 2022 national high school champions. On Saturday, the San Diego team swept previously-undefeated Saint Francis of Mountain View to win the California Open Division state title. The sweep, sparked by Oregon-bound RS Noemie Glover and junior MB Jenna Hanes, a Michigan commit, completed a 42-0 season in which the Dons lost just one set.

Lest you think Cathedral Catholic played a cupcake schedule, please think again about a team that was 11-0 against California’s top 25 and won the Kamehameha Tournament in Hawaii, the Las Vegas Durango Fall Classic and the made-for-ESPN GEICO Volleyball Invitational.

Cathedral Catholic swept the Lancers despite having its top player, senior OH Julia Blyashov, a Stanford signee, sidelined by an ankle injury. The Dons overwhelmed a Saint Francis team, which played well, with their deeper than deep roster and power at every position.

“What a fantastic way to top off our season,” Cathedral Catholic coach Juliana Conn said. “There was a lot on the line today beyond state…our streak, sending 10 seniors to college. It was beautiful to see them fighting and knowing that it meant more than just a volleyball match.”

***

Branson and Archie Williams were among five other teams to win state in California this past weekend. Each has a sister who played a major role in her team’s victory. Branson sophomore OH Sadie Snipes had 16 kills, nine digs and two blocks in Friday night’s five-set win over Palos Verdes in Div. I. Senior OH Elsa Snipes helped Archie Williams the next day in Div. III. She had 25 kills, 12 digs, two blocks, five assists and an ace in the Falcons’ four-set victory over The Buckley School.

• Marian and Wayzata, two other schools that were in the national championship discussion to start the year, also won state titles in the past couple of weeks.

Marian won its third straight Michigan Division I title in four sets on Saturday, avenging a loss to Northville that was its only loss of the season. Izzy Busignani had 27 kills and 20 digs to lead the Mustangs (49-1). Ava Sarafa, perhaps the best senior setter in the nation, added 45 assists and 10 digs. Abby Reck, Northville’s star, finished with 21 kills, 19 digs and three aces.

Wayzata won state in Minnesota for the third time in a row/Adrian Nistor photo

Wayzata (30-4) also won its third straight title, defeating Lakeville North in three last weekend for the Minnesota Class 4A title. Senior RS Kaitlyn Vogt, sophomore middles Katie Kelzenberg and Reilly Kurth, junior OH Avery Jesewitz and junior DS Bianca Nistor complemented the Trojans’ “big three” of setter Stella Swenson, libero Sophia Johnson and OH Olivia Swenson.

“It certainly felt vindicating,” said coach Scott Jackson. “I felt like we were the most talented team all fall, but we kept dealing with nagging injuries and illnesses in important moments. However, being battle-tested proved helpful – really helpful. Many of our players played our best when it mattered most.”

• Sacred Heart won the Michigan Division 4 title for the first time ever and accomplished the feat in the most improbable way. The Irish were blown out by Athens over the first two sets. They then won the next two sets at deuce, coming from behind in each, to set up a fifth set, where they trailed, 11-9, before scoring the final six points to complete the stunning comeback. Lillie Laney’s block put Sacred Heart up for good, 12-11. She finished with 19 kills and seven blocks.

***

North Branch and Pewamo-Westphalia won the other two Michigan titles.

North Branch, coached by Michigan Hall of Fame coach Jim Fish, won in Division 2 for the fourth time. Two of Fish’s daughters are head coaches in the collegiate ranks, Sam Erger at SMU and Jordan Fish at Dallas Baptist.

Pewamo-Westphalia was a first-time winner in Division 3 in its first finals appearance in almost 30 years.

• Dripping Springs rode the arms of Mackenzie Plante and Henley Anderson to the Texas 6A title, The Tigers swept Katy Tompkins to win their second championship overall and first in 6A. Plante, a senior, was named MVP after recording 14 kills in the 3-0 win. Anderson, a freshman, had 10 kills and eight digs. Dripping Springs previously won 5A in 2015.

Tompkins made the final after upended Keller in five in a semifinal. Cindy Tchoungwa had eight first-set kills for Tompkins in the loss.

***

MVP setter Morgan Howard had 51 assists and 17 digs and Suli Davis and Ella Busey combined for 41 kills and 30 digs as Colleyville Heritage won the 5A title in four sets over Frisco Reedy. The title was the first in program history for the Panthers.

Sidney Soria had 37 assists, six digs and five kills to lead Canyon Randall past Aubrey, 3-0, for the 4A title. The Raiders won their second title overall and first in 13 years.

In 2A, Windthorst added to its legacy as the winningest program in UIL history with state title No. 14. The Trojans defeated Lindsey in five sets, 15-12 in the fifth. Junior Rylee Wolf had 24 kills and 17 digs to lead the way. Megg Lindley contributed 25 assists and 17 digs to the winning cause.

• North Hagerstown won the Maryland 3A title for the first time in eight years, defeating Northern 366 days after a loss to 2021 champion Reservoir resulted in a vow to make things right. Aubrey Chamberlin had 40 assists and 21 digs for the Hubs in the four-set win. Area POY Gabby Grantham-Medley contributed 19 kills and 11 digs. Maya Johnson had 25 kills to lead Northern.

***

Urbana denied Arundel’s bid for a third straight 4A title, strafing the Wildcats, 15-11, in the final set to capture its first state title. The Hawks won despite a soul-crushing Game 4 loss, 25-9, which followed a Game 3 loss, 25-12. Senior libero Julia Gustafson served an ace in the fifth to clinch victory..

• West Fargo Sheyenne won its first North Dakota Class A title, but it took two days for the Mustangs to dethrone Bismarck Century, the two-time defending champions.

The final, slated for 8 p.m. Saturday, did not get started until after 10 because of other matches running long. Two hours later, the teams were still playing, having traded the first four sets. The fifth was all Sheyenne and finished, at 12:04 a.m., when Reagan Bogenreif’s kill completed the 15-8 win. Bogenreif had 16 kills and 29 digs in the match, in support of teammate Kailee Waasdorp, who finished with 27 kills and 28 digs. Logan Nissley led Century, which had won eight titles in the previous 12 years, with 20 kills, 23 digs and four blocks. She recorded career kill No. 1,000 during the match.

***

Northern Cass won a five-set marathon over Linton/HMB. The Jaguars won the final two sets to capture their second state title, first since 2013. MB Josie Jensen led Northern Cass with 20 kills and 10 blocks. Senior middle ShayLee Bosch had 26 kills in a losing effort.

• Sioux Falls Christian, which entered the South Dakota Class A tournament as the No. 4 seed, won it all for the sixth straight year. The Chargers defeated Elkton-Lake Benton in four sets behind 31 kills from senior middle Elli Lems.

***

Harrisburg repeated in Class AA title behind a freshman, Gabrielle Zachariasen, who had a game-high 21 kills in the four-set victory over Sioux Falls Jefferson.

Warner and head coach Kari Jung won the Class B title for the eighth time. Kyleigh Schopp had 22 kills as the Monarchs defeated Chester Area in four sets to repeat as champions.

• Lakeside won its second Washington state title all-time and first since 2016 with a dominating win over defending champion Mead in 3A. The Lions lost three times at the Durango Fall Classic in September but were undefeated against in-state competition.

Lakeside dominated Mead to win Washington’s 3A title

“I thought we played our best volleyball of the season in the state championship match,” said head coach Jeff Kim.  “Emily Dean (setter) ran a well-balanced attack. We served really well and kept Mead out of system. Sophie BroesamleBecca DePencier Pinero and Yazzy Muhammad terminated a lot of balls on the left/right. Victoria Gao (libero) was all over the court on defense.  We jumped out to quick leads in each set and never looked back.”

***

Graham-Kapowsin won the 4A title for the first time, downing Lake Stevens in straight sets behind powerful hitters Hailey Brockway and Manaia Toa. G-K had a pair of third-place finishes previously during Brockway’s tenure at the school.

Lake Stevens had previously knocked off top-seeded Puyallup to make the finals.

• Quinn Anderson had 17 kills and 10 digs to propel Westborough to the Massachusetts Division II title in a sweep over King Phillip. The win capped a 21-0 season for the Rangers, who won for the first time since 2017.

***

Newton North won the Division I title over Lincoln-Sudbury in four sets. Did you know that only five schools have won Division I over the past 30 years? Newton North’s title was its fourth all-time but first since 2018. Abigail Wright had 20 kills and Devin Burke and Chloe Lee teamed for 31 more for the victors.

Frontier Regional won its ninth Division III title but first since 2015. Head coach Sean MacDonald has presided over all nine of those since taking over the program in 2003.

• There’s a ton more to report on but this is the tenth Dot, so we’ll “speed write” in this catch-all spot to wrap up our coverage of the 2022 season.

In Florida, Venice’s 7A title two weekends ago was its sixth. Brian Wheatley’s team started the year 6-3 and finished by winning 16 of its final 17. Included in those late wins was a victory over defending champion Plant in the Regional final. Venice trailed two sets to one and faced four match points against in the fourth, 24-20, before rallying to win in five. Venice has won at least one title over the past four decades. With four sophomores in the starting lineup, the team could win again in the near future…

***

In Arizona, Corona del Mar won the 6A title in five over two-time defending champion Hamilton. The Aztecs won the fifth and deciding set, 15-6. In their three matches that went the distance this year, CdM won all three by the same 15-6 score!

Corona del Mar stopped Hamilton’s two-year run in Arizona

Corona del Mar trailed two sets to won after three and was tied, 12-12, in the fourth set. Hamilton would score just 11 more points the rest of the match.

The Aztecs got great defense at the net from Ella Lomigora, Maggie Beauer and Natalie Mantini; and in the back row, where freshman libero Erin Clark, a natural setter, totaled 35 digs in the championship match, tying Beauer, the right side who played all the way around.

***

Connecticut superpower Darien won its first state title in eight years, sweeping Trumbull in Class LL. The Blue Wave now have 18 titles in 20 appearances under venerable coach Laurie LaRusso, who has been with the program for 40 years. Junior setter Aubrey Moore, who had 31 assists, was named finals MVP.

RHAM’s win in Class M was its ninth Connecticut state title since winning its first in 2007. MVP Ally Hadley led the way for the Raptors, who played in Class M this year after winning Class L a year ago.

***

In Pennsylvania, North Allegheny won its sixth straight 4A title, rallying from a set down to defeat Garnet Valley in four. Mia Tuman, an Ohio State setter recruit, led the Tigers to the title. The title was the second for second-year coach Russ Hoburg, who coached the JV the prior 10 years before taking over for Heidi Miller.

Pope John Paul II won its first Pennsylvania 3A state title, in five over North Catholic, the 2021 2A champions. The score of Game 5 was 19-17. PJPII twice had to fight off match point against to stay alive. Hutton Cordrey finished with 17 kills and 14 digs to lead the way.

***

In Virginia, James Wood swept Grafton for the Class 4 state title, the first state championship for James Wood in any girls’ team sport. Grafton fell in the final for the sixth consecutive season. James Wood was led by two freshmen, Kennedy Spaid and Brenna Corbin.

York stunned previously-unbeaten Hidden Valley for the Class 3 title. York rallied from two sets down to win behind Ashley Hunt. Hidden Valley star Caleigh Ponn had 39 kills and 38 digs, both career highs, in the loss.

Alexandria City and Midlothian took home titles in 6A and 5A respectively. Both championship matches went five sets, with the final set decided by 15-13 scores. Alexandria City knocked off defending champion Colgan despite returning only two starters from the year prior.

***

In New York, Shenendehowa is the Class AA champion for the first time after sweeping Lancaster on Sunday behind MVP setter Emma Paliwodzinski, who had 37 assists, 14 digs and four kills.

Calhoun won Class A, 3-0, taking down two-time defending champion Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in the final. Julia Lawrence, Ella Maldonado and Victoria Zovich led the way.

***

That completes our in-season coverage of high school volleyball for 2022. We will have a couple of post-season lists in December before returning in January with coverage of the club season.

Until next time …

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