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    Mater Dei girls volleyball sweeps Marymount, moves closer to spot in Division 1 final
    • October 25, 2023

    SANTA ANA — After taking the first set of the match, things were looking up for the Mater Dei girls volleyball team.

    Suddenly the Monarchs found themselves down by two points late in the second set but were able to comeback and take the set and eventually the match with a 25-10, 26-24, 25-20 victory over Marymount on Tuesday night in pool play of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs.

    Top-seeded Mater Dei (37-2) is now 2-0 in pool play and will face Sierra Canyon on Saturday. If the Monarchs win that match they will advance to the Division 1 final on Nov. 4 at Cerritos College.

    The Monarchs’ last CIF-SS title came in 2018.

    Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell called a timeout with his team trailing 23-21 in the second set, trying to help the Monarchs regroup in a pivotal moment against a Marymount team that upset No. 4 seed Sierra Canyon in five sets in the first round of pool play.

    “We were making runs all match so I knew we could come back at any point,” O’Dell said. “Against Palos Verdes, in our last game, we had multiple times where we were down late and we came back, so this team’s been showing resiliency. They’re showing that even if they’re down late they still have the confidence to make the plays and they’re not getting nervous, so I think it’s a good trait to see the girls act like that.”

    Senior outside hitter Izzy Clark had a match-high 17 kills for the Monarchs while senior opposite Cymarah Gordon added 13 kills and sophomore outside hitter Layli Ostovar also finished with 13 kills.

    Mater Dei setter Julia Kakkis had 40 assists and senior libero Malyssa Cawa finished with 19 digs.

    O’Dell praised his senior core for their performance.

    “I think seniors have a little bit more sense of urgency out there,” he said, “so Julia, the way she set tonight, Cymarah, Izzy, Mal (Cawa) our libero, they’re all just kind of stepping up and they know that this is our last season (together). We want to make sure we finish on a high, so we’re doing a really good job in these moments.”

    The Monarchs raced to an early lead thanks to Clark and Gordon and won the opening set with little resistance.

    But the fifth-seeded Sailors (27-11) fared much better in the next set and went on a 7-0 run after falling behind 20-14. Kate Martin’s swing when the game was tied at 20 gave Marymount a brief lead.

    Mater Dei reacted well after the timeout and Gordon stopped the Sailors’ first attempt at set point with a crucial sideout. Cawa collected a huge service ace before Gordon’s final attack helped the Monarchs take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

    “Knowing that she (Gordon) was going to be on the court late, that’s a big difference maker when she’s front row for us,” O’Dell said.

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    ​ Orange County Register