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Mater Dei breaks through, takes title from Redondo
NORWALK The third time was the charm for the Mater Dei girls volleyball team.
After losing two consecutive CIF titles in 2013 and last year, Mater Dei finally grabbed the elusive crown, edging Redondo 25-21, 16-25, 25-18, 26-24 at Cerritos College, in the CIF-SS Division 1AA final, Saturday.
“It feels so good,” junior outside hitter Shannon Scully said. “Everyone looked past us this year because we didn’t have Alyse (Ford) or Frankie (Shebby), but this team was definitely more balanced and we had a lot more options and we fought and proved everyone else wrong.”
The title is the first for the Monarchs since 2003. That was the last of three consecutive titles for the program.
Mater Dei had struggled to get a positive result against Redondo in the previous two years. The teams met three times last year, including the CIF and SoCal Regional Final and both teams Redondo managed to edge Mater Dei.
They met earlier this year with Redondo sweeping Mater Dei in three sets.
However, all of that was erased thanks to their valiant comeback in the fourth set. That was the moment that fight that Scully pointed to was on display.
Mater Dei trailed throughout the set, but rallied for an 18-17 lead. Redondo came back with three points, two coming on Mater Dei miscues to take a 20-18.
Mater Dei responded with four points to take a 22-20 lead on a kill from Sienna Secrist.
Redondo managed to stave off championship point tying the match at 24-24. Scully, who led the Monarchs with 22 kills, then moved the Monarchs back to championship point and one point later she sealed the deal, placing a kill in the deep corner.
“We never gave up and we were confident in ourselves,” Scully said. “We knew how hard we had worked all year and we weren’t going to let that get away.”
After splitting the first two sets, Mater Dei showed another level of resiliency bouncing back from a wide defeat in the second set. Despite missing five serves, the Monarchs were able to take control midway through.
With an 18-16 lead, the Monarchs scored three consecutive points off of two kills from Scully and one from Abbie Cherin to take a 21-16 lead en route to the victory.
Scully had seven kills in the third set for the Monarchs.
“After losing two years in a row, it obviously feels good to get this one,” Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell said. “At the same time, I think it feels extra special because people kind of wrote us off this year.
“This was supposed to be Mater Dei’s down year. We lost a lot of girls (to graduation), we were going to be good, but not great, but I think it shows what a team we were to be able to execute like that on that stage and to come through with the win is fantastic.”
Not only is the present bright for the Monarchs, but the future is too. Aside from Scully’s 22 kills, the attack was paced by underclassmen. Junior Rachel Ritchie had 13 kills and sophomores Secrist and Cherin, had seven and six, respectively.
Senior setter Angela Gonzalez had 25 assists. Freshman Brielle Mullally had 19 and led the team with nine digs.
“This is great for the program,” O’Dell said. “I think the girls know that our goal each year is to win CIF. We need to have that expectation and I think the girls know that and that’s only going to make them more hungry, not just one, but let’s go win two in a row. That has to be the focus for them.
“We’re going to enjoy this win, it is awesome for the seniors to be able to close with a win like this, but I think the program … our goal is to be the best program in Southern California, not just this year, not just next year, but for the next 10 years. Hopefully this is the start of things to come.”
Megan Rice led the Sea Hawks with 22 kills. Kyla Doig added 10.
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