The Monarchs demonstrated exceptional teamwork to claim a four-set triumph over Cathedral Catholic, securing the CIF Southern California Regional Open Division title on Tuesday at Mater Dei High, with a scoreline of 25-22, 25-20, 19-25, 25-16.
After clinching the CIF-SS Division 1 title on Nov. 4, Mater Dei (42-2) is now set to face Archbishop Mitty (33-4) of San Jose in the CIF State Open Division championship match on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The showdown will take place at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
Cymarah Gordon, delivering a standout performance in the first set with 17 kills, spearheaded the Monarchs. Isabel Clark contributed 13 kills, while Layi Ostovar added 10. Julia Kakkis played a pivotal role with 43 assists for Mater Dei.
Notably, Mater Dei’s only CIF State girls volleyball championship came in 2018, and they stand at 1-3 in state finals. In contrast, Archbishop Mitty boasts an impressive record with 14 state titles, making them the most successful girls’ volleyball program in California.
In a closely contested fourth set against Cathedral Catholic (34-5), Mater Dei freshman Emma Kingston’s decisive block shifted momentum in favor of the Monarchs. Coach Dan O’Dell highlighted Kingston’s game-changing play, stating, “That hyped us up and demoralized them (Cathedral Catholic).”
Mater Dei faced a tough challenge in the first set as Cathedral Catholic, led by senior middle blocker Jenna Hanes, rallied to tie the score at 19-19. However, the Monarchs rallied and captured the set 25-22. The second set saw Mater Dei take a commanding nine-point lead, securing a 25-20 victory. Cathedral Catholic responded in the third set, winning 25-19, but Mater Dei regained control in the fourth set to close out the match.
Reflecting on the ups and downs of the game, Layi Ostovar emphasized the team’s unity, stating, “When everyone is on at the same time, I feel like we’re unstoppable.” Mater Dei aims to carry this momentum into the CIF State Open Division championship, eager to add another title to their accolades.”