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Mater Dei reaches Division 1 final as Berty leads way

STAFF REPORTS

Sophomore outside hitter Natalie Berty was referred to as a secret weapon by Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell.

By this point of the season, the secret has been unlocked and Berty continued to prove it in Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division 1 semifinal.

The sophomore outside hitter recorded 14 kills to help the host Monarchs (34-5) defeat Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach, 19-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18 to advance to Saturday’s final.

The Monarchs will face Trinity League rival Santa Margarita in the final Saturday night at Cerritos College at 8 p.m. The teams have met three times this season (twice in league and once in tournament play) and Santa Margarita has won all three matches.

“I think a lot of people were always wondering, who is going to be the second option behind (Shannon) Scully all year,” O’Dell said. “We have a lot of options that it can be on any given night, but she has stepped into the role where after Shannon, she’s the kid we’re going to feed and trust to get us a lot of kills.”

The new role fits Berty just fine. She was a late-season call-up to varsity last season and was on the bench during their run to the CIF title.

“At first, I wasn’t so sure,” she said of her role. “I was going to work really hard and see if I would be able to play and after I ended up starting, I wanted to be more controlled.

“It was cool to be part of it (last year) and this year it is so cool to even be there.”

Mater Dei and Mira Costa met Oct. 12 in a nonleague match, with Mater Dei winning in four sets. This time around, the Monarchs dropped the opening set, but O’Dell said their level of play heightened as the match progressed.

“I don’t think either team played the cleanest game,” O’Dell said. “Both sides made some silly mistakes throughout that match and by game four, I think we were finally clicking and getting all options going. I would like to start like that, but a win is a win.”

Also in Division 1:

Santa Margarita 3, Long Beach Poly 0: The top-seeded Eagles swept their way to the final with a 25-19, 25-19, 25-13 home victory over Long Beach Poly. Meghan McClure led the Eagles with 18 kills. Sarah Ciszek added 10. Julianna Reisinger and Gretchen Reinert had 12 and 10 digs, respectively.

In Division 2:

Beckman 3, Chino Hills 0: The host Patriots continued their playoff run sweeping the host Huskies, 25-20, 25-19, 25-21 to advance to the finals.

Jill Schneggenburger led the Patriots with 27 kills. She also had two blocks and 11 digs. Hannah Schneggenburger had eight kills.

Beckman will face top-seeded Ventura in the finals.

In Division 8

Katella 3, Providence of Burbank 1: The Knights (21-5) are headed to their first ever CIF final thanks to their 25-18, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19 home victory.

Katella will face Grace Brethren in the finals.

In Division 9

Capistrano Valley Christian 3, Upland Christian 2: The Eagles rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat second-seeded Upland Christian, 25-19, 19-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-9.

Keara Rutz led CVC with 38 kills. Riley Dungan had 40 assists and Sophia Pluhar had 19 digs.

CVC will face San Gabriel Academy in the finals.

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@scng.com


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