Sacred Heart Cathedral sweeps Lowell in battle of City champs

Madeleine Beima (12) of Sacred Heart Cathedral runs for a ball while her mother, head coach Margi Biema (left) looks on during the third set of a volleyball match against Lowell at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Skylar Canady (7) and Megan Lenn (16) warm up before a volleyball match against Lowell at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Sarah Cheng (13) of Sacred Heart Cathedral spikes a ball against Lowell in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Mariko Tanaka (23) of Lowell spikes a ball against Sacred Heart Cathedral in a game at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Megan Lenn (16) of Sacred Heart Cathedral serves a ball against Lowell in a game at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Alyssa Taylor (8) of Sacred Heart Cathedral serves a ball against Lowell in a game at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Megan Lenn (16) and Alyssa Taylor (8) of Sacred Heart Cathedral celebrate a point against Lowell in a game at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Skylar Canady (7) of Sacred Heart Cathedral serves a ball against Lowell in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Megan Lenn (16) of Sacred Heart Cathedral readies to jump up for a ball in a volleyball match against Lowell at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Lowell’s Kailani Wang (25) watches teammates celebrate after scoring a point against Sacred Heart Cathedral in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Sophie Seljeseth (13), Sarah Cheng (17), Alyssa Lee (5), and Megan Lenn (16) of Sacred Heart Cathedral celebrate a point against Lowell at a game at Lowell High School in a volleyball match San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Kelsey Ma (8) of Lowell serves against Sacred Heart Cathedral in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Maya Medina (18) of Sacred Heart Cathedral readies to dig a ball against Lowell in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Heather Liu (5) of Lowell spikes a ball against Sacred Heart Cathedral in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Mariko Tanaka (23) of Lowell spikes a ball against Sacred Heart Cathedral in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Eliana Brown (18) of Lowell sends a ball back at Sacred Heart Cathedral in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Megan Lenn of Sacred Heart Cathedral sits on the floor after diving for a ball against Lowell in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Mariko Tanaka (23) of Lowell serves the ball in a volleyball match against Sacred Heart Cathedral at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Mariko Tanaka (23) of Lowell serves the ball in a volleyball match against Sacred Heart Cathedral at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Alyssa Taylor (8) of Sacred Heart Cathedral serves a ball against Lowell in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Lowell’s Mariko Tanaka (23) spikes a ball against Norah Thompson (3) and Amaya Keiper (4) of Sacred Heart Cathedral in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Lowell’s Mariko Tanaka (23) spikes a ball against Norah Thompson (3) and Amaya Keiper (4) of Sacred Heart Cathedral in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Mariko Tanaka (23) of Lowell waits for a serve from Sacred Heart Cathedral in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Mariko Tanaka (23) of Lowell waits for a serve from Sacred Heart Cathedral in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Eliana Brown (18) of Lowell returns a ball to Sacred Heart Cathedral in a volleyball match at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Libero Alyssa Lee (5) of Sacred Heart Cathedral runs up to the net in a volleyball match against Lowell at Lowell High School in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)

LOWELL HIGH SCHOOL — As Madeleine Beima ran off the court during the third set of Thursday’s three-set win over Lowell, she high-fived her teammates, coaches and her mom.

Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach Margi Beima was able to play her sophomore daughter in the 25-13, 25-22, 25-12 sweep over the Cardinals. It’s Madeleine’s first time being coached by her mom since she was 12.

The Irish’s win over last year’s Academic Athletic Association co-champions was Beima’s 491st of her career. Within the next month, she’ll likely notch her 500th. The 2018 state coach of the year isn’t sentimental, though. If she has a chance to reach the milestone, she won’t be Mom.

“Whatever the 500th game is, if it’s a tough match, we’re going to go with the people who we know for sure,” Margi said. “But, I had not thought of that at all.”

Madeleine has seen nearly each win of her mother’s illustrious career, and on Thursday, she was able to play a part in one, helping secure the third-set win. There’s one match, though, that sticks out in her mind, back when she was just 10.

Sacred Heart Cathedral was playing for the state title at Santiago Canyon College in Orange, on their way to a No. 2 national ranking and a 37-3 season, but Madeleine, her brother and father missed their flight. They drove as fast as they could down from San Francisco just in time.

After a long rally, middle blocker Kaitlyn Jochum scored the winning kill, and the Sacred Heart Cathedral contingent rushed the court.

“I remember the last play of the game, it was so back and forth, it seemed like the longest rally of their lives,” Madeleine said. “The last hit, the middle — which is weird, because I ended up playing middle — slammed it down on an over pass … It was all worth it.”

On Thursday, she tallied a pair of aces and a pair of kills, along with several volley-saving blocks to finish off the Cardinals in a match between two league champs — the Irish won the West Catholic Athletic League in 2018, and Lowell won the Academic Athletic Association.

“She did a good job,” Margi said. “I’m always happy for all of them when they’re successful, when they can get to some good stuff and work through the jitters. She works very hard, and I’m proud of her for working so hard.”

“It was so much fun,” Madeleine said. “The energy on the court was great.”

The Irish (8-2) got off to a slow start in the first set against Lowell, holding a 4-3 edge before a pair of errors by the Cardinals (1-3) and a kill by Sarah Cheng (five kills) opened up a 7-3 lead. Then came a pair of kills by Lowell’s Mariko Tanaka, her first of 11 on the evening. Enter: Megan Lenn. Three kills by the UC Davis-bound senior upped the lead to 11-6, and Sacred Heart Cathedral wouldn’t lead by less than four for the rest of the set, despite some of their passes bouncing between the low girders in Lowell’s gym.

The Irish had a passing rating of over 2.0 on serve receive for the match (with 3.0 being perfect, being able to run all options off an on-target serve), which satisfied Margi Beima after their passing was sub-par in the opener against North Coast Section power Marin Catholic.

Tanaka and Eliana Brown helped put the Cardinals up 8-6 in the second set, but senior middle blocker Norah Thompson (who had four kills, and whose block sealed the first set) broke serve with a kill, setting up a service ace from Madeleine. Lowell, though, wouldn’t go away, taking an 11-9 lead before Lenn broke serve with one of her team-high 14 kills. Amaya Keiper got a tip-over (oneof her four kills) to tie things up, but the Cardinals scored three straight points to take a 14-11 lead.

The Irish edged back in, with a serve by Alyssa Lee hitting off the tape and dropping in for one of her five aces (the team had 12) to tie things up at 14-14. A kill by Thompson put Sacred Heart Cathedral in the lead. Two Tanaka kills and a block gave Lowell another lead, but Thompson tied things up with an outside swing. Thompson then blocked a Tanaka kill to put the Irish in front for good, 21-18. A soft changeup by Lenn ended the tense set, 25-22.

The third set was markedly easier, with Lenn hitting through Tanaka, then nailing a cross-court shot, followed by one of six kills for UCLA-bound Skylar Canady, who also had three aces. An ace by Lee put the Irish up 10-3. Madeleine came on late in the set and got her second ace for a 17-8 lead. After her only miss on the evening, she came out for senior setter Alden Standley, and hit the receiving line.

“It’s really bizare, but honestly, I like it a lot,” Madeleine said. “Even though she’s my mom, and we [bicker] like every mom and daughter do, I really respect her as a coach. I used to come and watch all her games when I was little little. Actually being able to play on a team that I’ve watched for so long is the greatest thing ever.”

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