CdM drops opener

CORONA DEL MAR — Coach Marissa Booker said at times that it's somewhat dreadful to watch film of her Corona del Mar High girls' volleyball team after a match.

She doesn't really have to go back to the film shot on Thursday. Her team's season opener was on full display on two projection screens inside the CdM gym.

A cable company broadcasted the Sea Kings' match against Los Angeles Marymount live for fans to see from their seats in the stands. What they and Booker saw on the court and on the huge screens was the Sailors sweep CdM, 25-22, 25-21, 25-23.

The Sea Kings began the season against the same school that beat them for the CIF Southern Section Division 1A title last year. This one didn't go the distance as the past matchup, a lot less was at stake as well.

The early contest featured the second- and eighth-ranked teams in the preseason Division 1AA poll. The team at No. 2 got the best of CdM once again.

The one program that has given CdM fits is Marymount. The Sailors have defeated the Sea Kings in their last three meetings dating back to last season.

These teams might see each other again. CdM's players told Marymount Coach Cari Klein that they hoped it would happen.

"I was like, 'Ugh! I don't want to play you guys again! You guys look really good!'" said Klein, whose own team impressed her.

She wasn't sure if her team was ready to play on the road and in front of the cameras. In the morning, she said she woke up mad because her athletic director had scheduled such a tough nonleague opponent to begin the year.

When Klein found out from her daughter the night before that the match would be televised on a later date, she was shocked. What's not surprising is how talented her team is again, even after losing four starters from last season's team, which reached the CIF State Division 1 final.

At CdM, Marymount wasn't even at full strength and it made quick work of the host school.

The Sailors played without their two starting senior middle blockers, Ashlie Williams (shoulder) and Chyna Perkins (knee). They jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set and never trailed.

Victoria Jasuta led the way late, recording one of her team-high 13 kills to give Marymount the first set.

The following set proved to be more even, 10 times the score was tied. The last time it was even, at 18-18, Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani took advantage of the Sea Kings' lack of size in the middle.

The 6-foot-3 outside hitter broke the tie. The sophomore smashed back-to-back kills before adding a third to put the Sailors ahead by four. A half dozen service errors in the second set also hurt CdM, the last one sealed the set for Marymount.

"Obviously, if you don't get the ball on the court there's nothing you could really do," Booker said. "It was definitely a mental lapse on our part of missing serves."

The Sea Kings also missed one of their standout players.

Alexis Cage is back on the CdM team after taking last high school season off to focus on academics. Booker said Cage wasn't available to play Thursday because she's recovering from a recent surgery.

Booker said she could not say what kind of surgery Cage underwent, but that her senior would be back in mid-September. The Sea Kings, who return other talented players like sophomore outside hitter Hayley Hodson and senior setter Kelsey Humphreys, will need Cage.

The Sea Kings have a robust schedule early on. They are at No. 9 Mater Dei on Wednesday, followed by a trip to Las Vegas to compete in the prestigious Durango Fall Classic Sept. 14-15, then at home on Sept. 20 against Laguna Beach, ranked No. 1 in Division 1A, and at home on Sept. 29 against rival Newport Harbor, No. 5 in Division 1AA.

"We wanted to have a tough schedule for a reason to expose our strengths and weaknesses early, and there were definitely some weaknesses exposed," said Booker, who's in her second season at CdM.

"I think overall, we have a lot improvement to make, not just improvement physically, but mentally. That is going to be our big thing this year, is just how mentally tough can we be."

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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