Mira Costa, ranked #23 in the nation by Student Sports, improved to 31-4 after taking out the nation's #4 team in three action packed games. The loss by the Monarchs was their first all year in a best three out of five match. Mater Dei dropped to 33-4 and will be kicking themselves over this one.
Mater Dei had leads of 9-4 and 14-11 in game one but could never put the Mustangs away. Costa, who was known more for their offense all year, played incredible defense all night long. They outdug the Monarchs and seemed to win every long rally and get every clutch sideout or point in the match.
The Mustangs scored five straight points and had match point of their own at 15-14 but couldn't put the Monarchs away. Senior middle blocker Whitney Pavlik was huge all night and had some clutch kills to bring Mater Dei back. After the two teams traded points and sideouts, Mustang outside hitter Sydney Donahue, just a sophomore, drilled a cross court kill for game point and middle blocker Hilary Stomath put the marathon game away with a spike down the pipe to give the Mustangs the win in a game that took over an hour to complete.
Mater Dei came out a little deflated in game two and the Mustangs jumped on them to take a 7-4 lead. A big turning point in the game took place when Stomath, who was having an excellent match, came down awkward on her ankle and had to be helped off the court. The Monarchs immediately rallied and tied the game at 10 all and looked in control after taking a 12-10 lead.
It was not be however as the Mustangs roared back to score three straight points and put the game away when Costa outside hitter Jessica Veris served an ace on match point. Veris and Donahue were clutch all night but the key for the Mustangs was their incredible defense. With the exception of Pavlik and Pepperdine bound opposite hitter Breegan Mulligan, the Monarchs struggled all night to put the ball away and never could find a third attacker to take the pressure off the two star seniors.
The match looked destined to head to a game four as Mater Dei came out fired up to start game three taking leads of 6-0, 11-7 and 12-9. Again, it was the Mustangs play on defense digging everything the Monarchs hit over and converting it for points and they soon caught Mater Dei at 12 apiece.
Costa took a 14-12 lead and had four serves for the match before finally put the game away on a Pavlik hiting error to head to the state finals. Mira Costa will likely have to face another national top five team in St. Francis, ranked #3 in the nation by Student Sports, in the state finals this Saturday.