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Mater Dei cools off surging San Juan Hills in Dave Mohs final
HUNTINGTON BEACH – The view from the top is the ultimate reward for the hard work that goes into a season.
The challenge is fighting off the opposition that’s trying to knock you from that perch, and that’s what the top-ranked Mater Dei girls volleyball team has to do every night.
The Monarchs, ranked No. 1 in the county and CIF-SS Division 1, were challenged Monday night by second-ranked San Juan Hills in the Dave Mohs Tournament championship game, but they triumphed, 25-19, 27-25, in the Division 1 final at Edison High.
“We’re just starting to get to play with each other a lot better,” Mater Dei senior Shannon Scully said. “We’re just coming along. Now that we have the pressure since we’re No. 1, we have to meet up to everyone’s standards, and I think that it’s almost a good thing, since it makes us rise up and play better.”
Scully was selected tournament MVP. She recorded 11 kills in the match.
The Monarchs missed six serves in the second set, but rallied to take its first lead, 18-17, on a kill from Natalie Berty. Later, Mater Dei moved to set point, 24-23, on a block by Berty.
San Juan Hills rallied to get its first shot at set point, but Mater Dei fought its way back with three consecutive points to win the match.
“They (San Juan Hills) made some big swings to challenge, us and their serve started getting us out of system in the second set,” Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell said. “The girls stayed pretty even keeled with everything. They’re aware that we’re going to see a team’s best, and for us it is a good challenge to make sure we come out and we’re playing our best every time we’re on the court.”
Mater Dei junior libero Kelsey Campeau earned all-tournament honors as did Madi Mercer and Katie Lukes for San Juan Hills.
The Stallions began the tournament ranked eighth in the county, but knocked off three teams Saturday that were ranked ahead of them, and they have vaulted to No. 2 in the county.
“They were so excited to be here that I think they started out a little tight and kind of let the pressure get to them of being in a final, which this team hasn’t been to before,” Coach Jessica Papell said. “I still don’t think we competed at the level we did on Saturday. I think we have the pieces, I just think they need to get a little bit more confident and comfortable in situations like this and just keeping working on the little details.”
In the Division 2 final:
Esperanza 2, Long Beach Wilson 1: The Aztecs (13-1) regrouped after a shaky second set to defeat the Bruins, 25-14, 12-25, 15-7 in the final. Senior Gina Lipscomb led the Aztecs with 18 kills and 13 digs and was selected tournament MVP.
Brooke Beresford had six kills. Allana Cecilio had 12 digs and setter Jessica Streuer had 23 assists. Streuer was selected to the all-tournament team.
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