Sacred Heart Cathedral girls' volleyball coach Margi Beima has been at the helm for 12 years, and she can't quite recall a start to the season like the one she is watching develop.
The Irish are 21-1, have won 17 matches in a row and remarkably have lost only two sets in their 21 victories.
Senior Madison Murtagh, a USF recruit, and junior libero Alexis Dirige, who has committed to Washington State, have set the tone for a team looking to play deep into the Central Coast Section playoffs and possibly a state championship.
“It's a real talented group, and when we step into the gym, the level of play never dips too low,” Beima said. “It's a great group, great team environment and the kids are really focused on getting better every day.”
The one loss SHC suffered this season was at the hands of West Catholic Athletic League rival Mitty. The Irish will have an opportunity to avenge their lone blemish Tuesday.
“So far, so good,” Beima said. “We're coming together and playing well, which is exciting. We have sets and rotations, and little things that we can improve on, but I'm excited to see this bunch finishes the season.”
Riordan rises up: The Riordan football team came into its matchup against archrival Sacred Heart Cathedral 0-4, but it was a bit deceiving. After dropping the season opener to Milpitas 27-0, the Crusaders lost by a touchdown to Sacred Heart Prep (5-0) 14-7, fell to Menlo-Atherton (1-4) 21-20 and dropped their West Catholic Athletic League opener to St. Francis (4-1) 25-23.
But Riordan (1-4, 1-1 WCAL) presevered and showed their mettle against the Irish on Friday at Terra Nova High School, defeating SHC 14-7, keeping the Stanfel Cup at the Ingleside campus for the second consecutive year.
Riordan junior running back scored the go-ahead touchdown with 9:39 left in the fourth quarter with a 9-yard scamper.
Junior Jamar Williams-Sheppard, came into this matchup with 886 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns for SHC (3-2, 0-2).
However, he didn't have much room to roam against Riordan's defense, rushing for only 32 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Riordan hosts Valley Christian (3-2, 1-1) this Saturday, while SHC looks to rebound and snap its two-game losing streak when it travels to Bellarmine.
AAA soccer battle: With four games left in the regular season, the race for the Academic Athletic Association regular-season championship and No. 1 seed in the San Francisco Section playoffs is an intriguing one as first and fourth place is separated by four points. Galileo (8-0-3) has 28 points and leads a bundled pack at the top that includes Lowell (8-0-2, 27 points), Lincoln (7-1-3, 24 points) and Mission (7-2-2, 23 points).
Galileo and Lowell — who tied in their only matchup this season — do not face each other again during the regular season, but are in line to receive a first round bye in the AAA playoffs.