Servite clinches Trinity League championship
It took a fight for second-ranked Servite to survive eighth-ranked Mater Dei, but it was certainly worth it.
After winning the third game, the Friars (26-3-1, 8-1) dropped the fourth and appeared to be in danger, trailing by four in the fifth.
Several points later, danger was averted as Madison Hayden put the finishing touches on the match with his 36th kill, giving Servite the 25-22, 24-26, 28-26, 20-25, 15-13 road victory over Mater Dei (10-5, 6-3) Thursday.
"It was an emotional game for our team," Hayden said. "It was for the Trinity League title, against our rivals and we usually have a tough time winning here. I really wanted to come out and have a great game and carry the team if I needed to but, we had a great all-around performance."
The victory clinched the Trinity League title for the Servite. It is the first title since 1999, when the Friars were in the Golden West League.
Servite leads both Mater Dei and Santa Margarita by two, with one match remaining.
"Our senior leadership and experience really showed right there," Marrujo said of the fifth game. "They decided to go out for each other. It is a really unique thing about this team that they play for each other.
"We always talk about we want to leave a gym with our heads held high, knowing that we gave our best effort, and that was a big thing in game five."
Mater Dei had a 9-5 lead in the fifth game, forcing Servite to take a timeout. Out of the huddle, the Friars rallied back, cutting the score to 10-9.
At 12-12, Kyle Palmer gave the Friars the lead for good off of one of his kills.
"We've wanted this the whole year," Servite senior middle blocker Sam Hunt said. "This was the moment that we've been waiting for.
"We had to take it play-by-play. We knew game five was the championship game. We just went after it and got the victory."
Hunt had 15 kills for the Friars.
Servite swept the first meeting between the teams, March 29. It wasn't going to be an easy night this time around.
The Monarchs showed great balance, led by Michael Such's 22 kills. Tucker Pikula had 19 and John Zappia had 16 and Matthew Lopez added seven.
However, Hayden proved to be too much.
"He's a great player," Marrujo said of Hayden. "It is great to see your big-time stud come through in a big game. He passed and played defense. He's taking more of a vocal leadership and being like a big brother to some of these guys."
This match had it all.
Mater Dei withstood a late Servite charge in the second game, to win 26-24, evening the match at 1-1.
The Monarchs served for game point in the third game on two occassions, but Servite was the one who emerged victorious, scoring the final three points to take a 2-1 lead in games.
Mater Dei never trailed in the fourth game, winning by the widest margin of the night.
"We were tested tonight," Marrujo said.
Also in the Trinity League
No. 9 Santa Margarita 3, St. John Bosco 1: Mitch Vallis led the Eagles (15-12, 6-3) with 30 kills and he had 13 digs in the 26-24, 25-21, 22-25, 25-22 home victory.
Corey Lowe had 39 assists. Erik Sikes had 24 digs.
Santa Margarita is tied for second with Mater Dei.
In the South Coast League
No. 4 Dana Hills 3, No. 5 San Clemente 0: The Dolphins (22-3, 8-0) clinched the league title with their 25-21, 25-23, 25-22 road victory over the Tritons (17-4, 6-2).
Christian Hessenauer led Dana Hills with 18 kills. Doug Hamann had 10 kills and Bryce Yould added seven.