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Santa Fe Christian's Lexi Sun, left, spikes the ball past Mia Tuaniga and Kyla Waiters in the Open Division semifinals of the CIF Southern California Regionals at Mater Dei in Santa Ana on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

Mater Dei ousted by Santa Fe Christian

STAFF WRITER

Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell expected to see a lot of senior outside hitter Lexi Sun during the Monarchs’ match against Santa Fe Christian of Solana Beach on Tuesday night.

Sun, the top-rated recruit in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com, recorded 31 kills as the visiting Eagles defeated Mater Dei, 26-24 26-24, 25-23, in a CIF SoCal Regional Open Division semifinal.

Santa Fe Christian (32-7) will face top-seeded Santa Margarita in the regional final Saturday.

Mater Dei ends its season at 35-7.

“She was everything I knew she would be,” O’Dell said. “I was joking with her dad before the match, saying if we can keep her at nine kills per set or below, it will be pretty good for us, but if she got 10 or higher, that’s not going to be good.”

Mater Dei appeared headed toward an opening-set victory, taking a 23-16 lead, but the Eagles scored seven consecutive points and eventually snatched the set on Sun’s 10th kill.

“Anything that could have gone wrong, went wrong,” O’Dell said. “We had a few bad passes, then we got a good pass, then we had bad sets. If we had both of those, then we had a bad swing. It was just a bad run and we had trouble scoring points.”

The second set was close throughout, and the Monarchs reached set point first on a service error by the Eagles. From there, Sun tied the score and the Eagles followed that with an ace by Grace Patel and a kill from Emily Hubbard to take a 2-0 lead.

Sun had 13 kills in the second set.

“She was phenomenal,” O’Dell said. “She was everything they needed for her to be and then they also did a good job defensively. Their block did a good job of touching us and allowing them to transition. I thought we were going to be able to get a few more kills than them and we weren’t. Credit the rest of the girls for being able to slow us down a little bit.

Shannon Scully led the Monarchs with 12 kills.

Mater Dei trailed early in the third set, but fought back to cut score to 24-23 before Sun connected on her final kill to end the match.

“I think it was a good year,” O’Dell said. “Normally, we don’t have high preseason expectations and we kind of come on and surprise teams late, but we had high expectations and I thought our girls did a good job all year of maintaining a high level of volleyball against every opponent we played.”

Also in the Open Division:

Santa Margarita 3, Torrey Pines 1: The top-seeded Eagles (37-4) continued their successful path toward a state title with a 25-18, 25-27, 25-19, 25-13 home victory.

Meghan McClure led Santa Margarita with 19 kills. Sarah Ciszek had 10.

In Division I:

Huntington Beach 3, Ventura 1: The top-seeded Oilers (32-4) regrouped after dropping the opening set and defeated the Cougars, 15-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-20.

Cami Sanchez led the Oilers with 19 kills. Jillian Kim and Maggie Baker had 12 and 11, respectively.

Huntington Beach will host Sunset League rival Edison in the regional final Saturday.

Edison 3, Lakewood 2: Hannah Phair led the Chargers (34-8) with 21 kills and Cassidy Dennison and Taylor Gray had 15 apiece to lead the way to a 25-18, 20-25, 25-20, 14-25, 15-11 home victory.

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@scng.com


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