Move over Mater Dei, there is a new No. 1.
In a girls’ volleyball showdown between the top teams in the nation, according to MaxPreps.com rankings, Mira Costa swept the Monarchs 25-21, 25-21, 25-19 on Tuesday night before a noisy home crowd in Manhattan Beach, staking a claim to the No. 1 spot.
The clash between two of the winningest programs in Southern California featured multiple Division I college commits on both sides of the net. The Monarchs (12-1) entered the match having won the Volleypalooza in Texas to vault to No. 1 in the country. They had dropped only three of 30 sets this season, but Mira Costa was able to neutralize University of San Diego-bound hitter Isabel Clark and Stanford-bound libero Malyssa Cawa.
“We were excited and super hyped to play in front of our fans, students, friends and families,” said junior defensive specialist Taylor Deckert, an early commit to USC. “Obviously it was No. 1 versus No. 2, so we put our all into this. When we got down in the third set it was all about taking it one point at a time, cleaning up our communication errors. There’s no drama on this team. We’re all really close friends.”
Mater Dei forged leads of 10-4 and 15-8 in the third set, but Deckert’s serving and back-to-back kills by Audrey Flanagan and Charlie Fuerbringer moved the Mustangs in front, 19-17, and they closed it out from there, much to the delight of Lakers studio host and former AVP Tour emcee Chris “Geeter” McGee, who watched from the stands and gave Mira Costa coach Cam Green a pat on the back afterward.
Green acknowledged the scheduling might have worked in his team’s favor.
“We probably caught them at the right time coming off that tough tournament but we respect the heck out of that team and I knew they were going to make a change to start the third set,” he said. “For us it was about weathering the storm, putting Hayden [Lin] in to set and letting Charlie hit.”
A four-point serving run by senior libero and California commit Trixie McMillin gave Mira Costa a 23-19 lead in the first set and it drew first blood on a set attempt out of bounds. A six-point serving run by Deckert and a quick kill by Fuerbringer gave the Mustangs (12-1) the second set.
Flanagan finished with 16 kills, Rachel Moglia added 10 kills, while Deckert had 22 digs and Chloe Hynes contributed 11 digs and six kills.
Fuerbringer, a senior setter headed to Wisconsin, savored the rare opportunity to swing away.
“We haven’t really been practicing that, but when we’re in a rut, that’s one way we know we can get out,” she said. “We trust our other setters. We know they can get it done. Once we were up two sets we pushed really hard. We wanted to sweep.”