Girls’ volleyball’s league woes continue with 3-0 sweep by Cate School


Rihanna Samples

The team huddles together in the middle of the court with their hands in the air, celebrating a successful block and a much-needed point.

Sam Noah, Reporter

On Sept. 15, the Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) girls’ volleyball team entered their home gym at Cabrillo Middle School with the goal of punctuating the midpoint of league competition with a win against the Cate School (Cate) Rams. The energy in the gym, packed with Foothill Tech supporters, slowly dissipated as the Rams pulled away set after set to complete a 3-0 sweep. 

The opening set began promisingly for the Dragons, as Ashlyn Mullin ‘24 scored the first point with the first of many resounding kills. However, three more swings from Mullin and two kills from Channing McClure ’25 were drowned out by a smattering of passing errors, miscommunications, Cate kills and aces untouched by the Foothill Tech back row, leading to a 9-17 deficit.

Madi Thompson ’23 spoke of her teams’ communication failures, “We did not talk at all, a lot of anger out there.”

Galvanized by their struggles, Foothill Tech attempted a comeback, as three more kills from Mullin and one from starting middle Danielle Bishop ‘23 caused Cate to call a timeout to stem the bleeding. The Foothill Tech crowd sprang alive for the first time of the night, chanting “let’s go Dragons” and “we love free points.”

The timeout seemed to return the Dragons back to their woes from earlier in the set, as Cate swings landed untouched and yelling ensued between backrow players and the bench. With a final error between pass and set on the Foothill Tech half of the court, the first set was awarded to the Rams 25-18.

The second set swayed back and forth in nearly identical fashion. Kills from Bishop, McClure and Mullin paired with aces from Madi Thompson ‘23 and Kaili Garrett ‘24 to take the Dragons all the way to a 16-11 lead. However, Cate staged the beginnings of a comeback to pull within 20-17 before they once again took advantage of the Dragons’ lack of communication to storm to a 23-20 lead and eventual 25-22 score to take the second set. 

Now down 2-0, the Dragons lacked energy in the third and ultimately final set. More back and forth criticisms flew between players, coaches and the bench. A last ditch effort was mounted to pull from down 10-19 to within reach at 19-23, but a long rally punctuated by a Cate kill defeated the Dragons once and for all. 

To fix her teams’ failure to talk on the court, Thompson suggested “It’s just a lot of yelling, even though it sounds harsh, it’s just how it is.” 

Head Coach David Benedik declined to comment on the loss. Cate coach Jordon Dyer said a major component of the sweep was, “We served well, all of our players are good servers.”    

The teams’ next competition is another league match against Bishop Diego High School at home on Thursday, Sept. 22.

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