The eighth-grade volleyball team of St. Leander in San Leandro won its third consecutive diocesan CYO playoff championship by defeating the team from St. Philip Neri 25-14, 25-10 in the tournament finale.
A 'three-peat' for St. Leander 8th-grade volleyball
Before a gym packed with cheering fans, the Girls' CYO eighth-grade volleyball team from St. Leander, San Leandro, captured the Oakland Diocese CYO playoff championship for the third consecutive year, winning over the team from St. Philip Neri School, Alameda, 25-14, 25-10. The final set was highlighted by Sydney Mendoza-Beck, who served 13 of 25 points including an ace serve on the final point to win the eighth-grade championship.
St. Leander had a scare in the semifinals, when they won a close match, winning the third set of a three-set match, 15-13, over St. John, El Cerrito. The team from St. Leander CYO won the diocesan championship in its sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
In the seventh-grade division, Holy Spirit, Fremont, repeated its championship by winning over St. John, El Cerrito, 25-15, 25-17. The match was highlighted by the serving of Isabella Del Rosario, who served 19 of 50 total points in the two-set match.
The sixth-grade division saw the most exciting match of the finals with St. Anne, Union City, winning the crown over St. Felicitas, San Leandro, 25-17, 17-25, 15-13. St. Felicitas trailed for most of the final set and then surged at the end, tying St. Anne, 13-13. St. Anne then scored two quick points to end the match, with the final serve by St. Anne's Mia Lum, securing the parish's first-ever diocesan volleyball championship.
The final games were held in February at St. Bede Parish Center, Hayward, with games over the weekend at St. Theresa Parish Center, All Saints Gym and St. Leander Hall.
Other parishes and schools who participated in the playoffs were: School of the Madeleine, Berkeley; Assumption, San Leandro; St. David of Wales, Richmond; St. Joseph, Pinole; St. Joseph, Fremont; Corpus Christ, Piedmont; St. Joseph, Alameda; All Saints, Hayward; and Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fremont.
These teams represented more than 125 teams and 1,300 players who participated in CYO girls' volleyball this past season. The annual CYO volleyball playoffs culminated the individual league seasons in this sport that has gained increasing popularity for girls. Skilled volleyball play, good sportsmanship and large, enthusiastic crowds of families and friends were featured in this year's CYO volleyball playoffs.
(Bill Ford is director of CYO for the Diocese of Oakland.)
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