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Mater Dei shows their depth in four-set volleyball victory over Marymount

The top-seeded Mater Dei girls’ volleyball team reached a consensus Saturday night in its CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship match against Marymount at Cerritos College.

The Monarchs are better, and nearly impossible to beat, when everyone is getting a piece of the action.

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For the second consecutive season, Mater Dei took down Marymount in the the finals of the top division, this time in four sets, 25-14, 28-26, 22-25, 25-18.

The match marked the sixth straight year that the Monarchs reached the Division 1 championship game, winning its third title in the last four years, and the second time it had defeated Marymount this season.

“I always say we’re at our best when we’re contributing across the board,” said Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell, in his sixth season leading the Monarchs. “And we’re really hard to stop when that happens.”

Three Mater Dei players reached double digits in kills. Natalie Berty led the way with 23, Brielle Mullally adding 12 and Mia Tuaniga 10.

In addition, the Monarchs had two players dish out double-digit assists — Tuaniga had a match-high 32, and Mullally added 19.

“I love when we have the entire team on its ‘A’ game,” Berty said. “It just makes it more fun because the other team doesn’t know where we’re going to go. We can hit them on the left, or the right, or the middle.”

Mater Dei (39-2) jumped to a quick 10-3 lead in the first set behind the hitting, blocking, and aggressive attacking nature of the middle and outside hitters.

The Monarchs finished the first set strongly, turning a 19-13 lead into a 25-14 game victory behind two kills from Mullally, one from Kristina Pepek and a final one from Berty.

Mater Dei again got out to a big lead in the second set, leading Marymount 10-4 before the Sailors retooled and mounted a comeback with a 12-5 run to take their first lead of the match, 16-15, on a block by Marisse Turner.

After consistent back-and-forth efforts from both sides, Marymount, leading 26-25, committed a service error to keep the door open for Mater Dei. The Monarchs made the most of that opportunity, polishing off a second-set victory with a kill from Pepek and another from Berty.

Marymount (31-9) stayed alive by winning the third set as it battled back from an early four-point deficit, tying the set at 20 on a kill from Turner. Three late attack errors from Mater Dei helped the Sailors take the set.

Marymount took an early 4-2 lead in the fourth set, thanks to two kills from Devon Newberry, but Mater Dei responded with a 10-2 run, capped by an ace from Tuaniga and a tip shot from Meg Brown, to take a 12-8 lead and never looked back.

Newberry led Marymount with 12 kills, while Turner and Grace Frohling added 10 apiece.

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