Confident attitude helps Santa Margarita sweep No. 1 Mater Dei


RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA - Focused, determined and confident were some of the words Santa Margarita girls volleyball coach Katy Daly used to describe her team after Wednesday’s performance.

In a way, the fourth-ranked Eagles were also the perfect storm, taking down top-ranked Mater Dei in a three-set sweep, 25-11, 25-18, 25-23, in a Trinity League match.

“It was a fun environment,” she said. “We played with high energy and we didn’t let things rattle us that we have in the past.

“We played with the confidence that nothing was going to stop us, and I’m proud of the girls.”

After two rather comfortable victories for the Eagles (19-4, 3-0) to open the match, the Monarchs (14-1, 2-1) began to fight back in the third set. They rallied from an 18-13 deficit to get within 19-18. The Monarchs got within one, 24-23, but the Eagles’ Meghan McClure ended the match with one of her 15 kills.

Devon Chang (33 assists) ran the offense, getting several attackers involved aside from McClure. Peyton Ehmke and Abby Van Winkle had seven and six, respectively, and Sarah Ciszek also figured into the attack.

“She made very, very smart decisions in pressure points when we needed to side out,” Daly said of Chang. “She spread the offense around well.”

For Chang, the key, as usual, was to remain calm and trust her hitters.

“So far, this has been one of our best performances,” Chang, a junior, said. “As coach said, all the wheels were turning on the bus, everyone was involved, working together and it was just a great team effort.

“Most teams focus a lot on Meghan (McClure) and a lot on our pin hitters, so once we get the middles going, that kind of makes them stop ... (It also) makes me think other people are open and helps me get them 1-on-1 (matchups).”

The teams will meet again Oct. 20 at Mater Dei.

Both teams had matches Tuesday night. Santa Margarita defeated JSerra in four and Mater Dei swept Rosary.

“It was not our best match,” Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell said. “Santa Margarita was awesome, they were digging everything, they were in system a lot. Devon (Chang) did a good job spreading the ball around and they gave us a lot of trouble.

“We’ve been good all year winning the serve-pass battle, and they just completely out-served us. They did a lot to frustrate us and made life tough.”

Last year, the teams split their two meetings, with the Monarchs winning in five and the Eagles taking the second match in three sets.

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