When the match ended – fittingly on senior outside hitter Cara Thomason's cross-court smash -- the team's nine seniors gathered at mid-court for photos, exchanged hugs and cried happy tears. The team's coach, Cari Klein, was so choked with emotion she couldn't speak.
"We're really close and do everything together," Thomason explained, looking at the rustic gym she'd played in for the last time. "It's emotional for all of us. Cari's sentimental as it is."
The Sailors (32-4) showed no sentiment to their opponents from San Diego County, however. The Knights (29-6) came in with six straight CIF San Diego Section Div. IV championships under their belts, but were no match for the more seasoned Sailors. Marymount came out fired up, focused and determined to dominate in their last home game of the year.
UCLA-bound setter/right side hitter Haley Jorgensborg set the tone early for the Sailors, serving seven straight points in Game 1, including three aces, to stake her team to a 10-1 lead. When Jorgensborg wasn't serving aces, she was rocking the gym with powerful left-handed kills, launching perfect sets to outside hitters Thomason and Stesha Selsky and diving on the ground to dig up balls that would go for points against other teams. In other words, she gave an outstanding accounting of herself, a true All-American performance from a true All-American.
As good as Jorgensborg was, Marymount would have defeated the Knights even without her because of the way the rest of the team played. Thomason had a team-high 12 kills to match Jorgensborg, while Selsky added nine, including six in a Game 3 that she dominated with powerful rockets to all parts of the court. Margie Young set a great match and middles Elizabeth Cvitan and Virginia Levanas took away The Bishop's hitting options with their size. Add to that 13 aces – from six different players – and there really was little the Knights, who got spirited play from jump-serving junior Jenny McReynolds – could do.
"We don't go into any game expecting it to be easy," Thomason said. "We play up to our level if we want to win."
Marymount advances to the state title game Saturday morning at Cypress College, where it will face The Menlo School, a 15-5, 15-9, 15-12 winner over Golden Sierra, in a re-match of last year's title match.
And while last year's team won with little fanfare, the small all-girls school located across the street from UCLA, appreciates the publicity that comes with its national ranking.
"It's definitely nice to see my teammates, who work so hard every day, get the recognition they deserve," Thomason said.