Photo gallery: Bishop’s boys water polo falls to Cathedral Catholic in CIF final


History repeated itself almost exactly during the CIF San Diego Section Open Division title match in boys varsity water polo Nov. 13 at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex in La Jolla.

As they did in 2018, the Cathedral Catholic High School Dons of Carmel Valley defeated the Bishop’s School Knights of La Jolla to win the championship. The score, 11-8, was nearly identical to the 11-7 decision in ’18.

History repeated itself in another way as well — this was the fourth straight final between the two schools. Just five months ago, the Knights completed a pandemic-altered season by defeating the Dons for the title, 16-14.

Cathedral’s victory over the weekend denied the Knights a third consecutive championship.

Senior Kenly Axline scored six goals to power the Dons. Junior Chase Landa led the Knights with three goals, and sophomore Justin Stone scored two.

Going into the fourth quarter trailing 6-5, “we basically asked ourselves what we were doing and what was going on,” Bishop’s coach Doug Peabody said. “I wanted them to step up, they wanted to step up. They knew the hard work they had put in all season and what they wanted to get out of the game.”

The Knights kept the game close, down 8-7 with 3:45 left. “The hardest thing was when we got that close, we really thought we could win,” Peabody said. “But [Cathedral Catholic] just executed better.”

“A couple of calls didn’t go our way, and I think that energized the other team,” he added.

Bishop’s went 21-10 in the regular season and posted playoff victories over Carlsbad and Vista en route to the final. “We feel good ... considering we had such an ambitious season, playing some of the best teams in the county multiple times,” Peabody said.

The Knights and the La Jolla High School Vikings, who lost to Cathedral in the CIF semifinals, are proceeding to the Southern California Regional Tournament starting Tuesday, Nov. 16. Bishop’s, seeded No. 6, will square off against No. 3 seed Mater Dei. La Jolla, seeded No. 8, will play No. 1 seed Newport Harbor.

— The San Diego Union-Tribune contributed to this report.