Santa Margarita's Gretchen Reinert, center, celebrates after scoring against Mater Dei in the CIF-SS Division 1 championship match at Cerritos College on Saturday night.

Santa Margarita outlasts Mater Dei in tense D1 final


NORWALK - Katy Daly and her Santa Margarita girls volleyball team have finally reached the top of the CIF landscape.

However, Saturday night’s CIF-SS Division 1 final against Trinity League rival Mater Dei didn’t come without several twists and turns on the wild emotional roller coaster.

“Every ball was hard-fought,” Daly said. “Every rally mattered.”

In the end, the top-seeded Eagles (35-4) prevailed over the Monarchs, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18, 26-28, 16-14, Saturday at Cerritos College for the CIF-SS Division 1 title.

This is the first CIF title for Santa Margarita since 2008.

“The outcome could have gone both ways,” Daly said. “I’m proud of my girls. This feels amazing.”

Santa Margarita led 2-1 after the third set, but that’s when things started getting wild.

Mater Dei led 17-8 and just when the victory to force a fifth set seemed like a foregone conclusion, Santa Margarita wouldn’t go quietly into the night.

Eventually, a kill from Meghan McClure tied the set at 21-21. Mater Dei then scored three consecutive points to get to set point. However, three points later, Haley Carmo’s block tied the set at 24-24. Later, they were again tied at 26-26, but Mater Dei’s Natalie Berty connected on consecutive kills to give the Monarchs life and force a fifth set.

“They kind of had all of the momentum, when they made that big comeback to tie it up,” Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell said. “But credit to our girls for not backing down. We did a really good job fighting to the last point.”

If the fourth set wasn’t wild enough, the late stages of the fifth made up for it.

With the set tied at 5-5, the Eagles scored three consecutive points. Their lead would to 11-6 on a kill from Sarah Ciszek. That seemed to be the wake-up call that the Monarchs needed. Mater Dei tied the set at 14-14 on a kill from Shannon Scully.

Carmo gave the Eagles championship point again with a kill and the Eagles were finally able to celebrate when a net violation on Mater Dei ended the match.

“That was an amazing volleyball game,” O’Dell said. “Two really, really high level high school teams, battling for every single point …it was great volleyball. I told my girls I was really proud of them. I mean one point different here, one point different there and we’re on the winning side of this. For how much fight we showed and how much courage we showed, I mean we were backs against the wall and to come and tie that game at 14, it was unbelievable."

McClure was out front of the Eagles attack. The senior had four kills in the first set, yet she finished with 30 in the match.

“This is surreal,” McClure said. “I said let’s win CIF since my freshman year and four years later it finally happens. This team is amazing. We fought through some adversity in the beginning of the season but we turned it on.

“This game we didn’t let it out of our reach … This is a dream come true for me."

Ciszek finished with 21 kills for the Eagles, including five in the fifth set. Carmo added 11. Devon Chang had 63 assists and 21 digs. Julianna Reisinger led the Eagles with 25 digs.

Scully led the Monarchs with 17 kills. Berty added 14 with Siena Secrist and Mia Tuaniga chipping in with nine and seven, respectively.

Santa Margarita defeated Mater Dei three times during the regular season, twice in league and once in the finals of the California Challenge.



Saturday, at Cerritos College

Division 1: Santa Margarita def. Mater Dei, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18, 26-28, 16-14

Division 2: Ventura def. Beckman, 25-14, 25-23, 25-16

Division 3: St. Joseph/Lakewood def. Glendora, 20-25, 25-12, 25-9, 25-22

Division 7: St. Anthony def. Notre Dame/Riverside, 20-25, 26-24, 25-20, 25-23

Division 10: Hillcrest Christian def. Lake Arrowhead Christian, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18

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