Coming into Saturday night’s Southern Section Division 1 girls’ volleyball championship game, Redondo Union hadn’t dropped a set all season when fully healthy.
The Sea Hawks faced a familiar and worthy challenger at Cerritos College in Mater Dei, the twice-defending section champions in the division and a team that was making its seventh consecutive finals appearance.
Redondo started quickly, taking the first two sets with an ease about its game that was fitting of a team with 37 match wins on the season, but in the third set, Mater Dei showed the Sea Hawks were human with a 25-16victory.
“I could tell that we were a little shocked,” senior libero Nalani Iosia said. “But not enough to get in our heads and make us timid. We all used that as motivation for the next set.”
Redondo secured its first section title since 2014 in that fourth set, defeating Mater Dei, 25-19, 25-16, 16-25, 25-21, on a cross-court kill from Iosia.
Sea Hawks coach Tommy Chaffins credited his team’s ability to bounce back from that shock in the third set to its experience.
“We have 12 seniors and a tremendous amount of experience,” he said. “We talked about three things before the match: Compete, our D and love one another. Mater Dei did an awesome job of elevating their game and I asked [my team], ‘What are we going to do about that?’”
Redondo (40-3) jumped to a quick 4-0 lead in the fourth and final set on two kills from Kami Miner and a two more from Jody Smith.
Mater Dei (29-5) battled back behind outside hitters Zaria Henderson and Meg Brown.
Brown’s kill helped pull the Monarchs to within two, 13-11, midway through thefinal set.
Redondo extended its lead again to six points with another quick 4-0 run capped by a kill from Mele Corral-Blagojevich, before holding off another push from Mater Dei.
The Monarchs cut Redondo’s lead to 22-20 on a kill and block from Brown.
But the Sea Hawks, as they have done all season, rallied as a group and closed out the Monarchs with another 3-1 scoring run.