Marymount wins state Open Division girls’ volleyball title to cap undefeated season

Marymount players celebrate moments after sweeping San Jose Archbishop Mitty.
Marymount players celebrate moments after sweeping San Jose Archbishop Mitty to win the CIF Open Division girls’ volleyball state championship at Santiago Canyon College in Orange on Saturday night.
(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

This isn’t a Cinderella story, Studio City Harvard-Westlake volleyball coach Natalie Morgan says. It’s not a rags-to-riches story. Not an underdog-turned-superhero.

Los Angeles Marymount girls’ volleyball capped off a fairy tale of an undefeated season — not one of a team rising to ascend to a powerhouse, but one that started the season at the top of the peak and just kept firing off spikes down below.

“They were always a force to be reckoned with all year; I think that story is almost more impressive,” Morgan said. “To be that good and that dominant for that long is very hard to do.”


Newbury Park runners take the first six places at Division 1 boys’ cross-country finals on Saturday. The Panthers girls’ team also won a title.

Nov. 20, 2021

Undefeated and 35-0. This Sailors team can finally shout those words loud and clear as a state champion. A dominant season was capped off by a dominant performance in Saturday’s Open Division championship, with a resounding 3-0 (25-11, 25-5, 25-14) victory over San Jose’s Archbishop Mitty at Santiago Canyon College.

Coach Cari Klein has coached some mighty Sailors teams over a sparkling tenure — the last of which was a 34-6 championship team in 2012-13 — but is finally ready to acknowledge this is her greatest team.

“Playing the hardest schedule in the nation — like, it’s ranked by far the hardest schedule of anybody — and to go undefeated, I mean, you can’t do any better than that,” Klein said.

After a back-and-forth opening to the first set, the Sailors rattled off a 13-2 run and never looked back.

Forget an undefeated season, Marymount never even lost more than a set in any match this season. The Sailors lost a total of eight.

Earlier in her Marymount career, Klein had a conversation with Dan Glenn, the coach of Newport Harbor. Glenn offered her some advice — things would truly come together when she had a group of committed seniors.

That class arrived this season: Elia Rubin and Kelly Belardi are committed to Stanford, Kerry Keefe to Duke, Charlotte Rasmussen to Amherst, Megan Verbiest to USC. Juniors Tori Stafford — committed to Pittsburgh — and Dior Charles put together standout seasons.


Marymount’s defense stymied Mitty, repeatedly turning away powerful hits from junior Audrey Liddle and senior Reagan Dryden. Sailors senior Megan Verbiest set the tone with 14 digs.

After Rubin notched the final kill, the Marymount players dogpiled her. The bliss of relief clouded their eyes, with perhaps a twinge of sadness, the knowledge that the page has been turned on a season of glory.