Vista Murrieta was the last remaining local girls’ volleyball team that had extended their playoff run deep into the semifinal round, until they met up with Mater Dei this past weekend. Jordyn Schilling and Babi Gubbins combined for 28 kills as Mater Dei swept the Lady Broncos 25-19, 25-14, 25-22 in their CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinal match, which was a rematch of a nonleague bout that was also won by Mater Dei in four sets about eight weeks ago.
Vista Murrieta (20-9) jumped out to a 6-3 lead in that first set, but momentum shifted when Claire Little rotated into the back row. Mater Dei went on an 11-2 run to take command of the set. Schilling and Gubbins had five kills apiece in that set to lead the Monarchs who used a 17-6 run to pull away from the Broncos in the second set. Schilling and Gubbins combined to register nine kills, and middle blockers Liv Hertzog and Isabel Clark each chipped in with three kills.
Sophomore Abby Jones helped the Lady Broncos compete in the third set. She registered eight kills while Little added six more kills. The last tie was at 21, but Mater Dei scored three straight points after kills by Clark, Gubbins and Amber Thompson brought them to match point. Jones registered her ninth kill of the match to give Vista Murrieta some hope, but a service error brought an end to the match.
Junior outside hitter Little had 24 kills for the Lady Broncos when they first met up about eight weeks ago, and this time around she registered a match-high 16 kills while hitting at a .429 clip. Beth Bellfi added seven kills for the Broncos. Schilling did not play in the first meeting, but her 15 kills and 15 digs in the semifinals sent a clear message from the Monarchs.
Mater Dei (35-4) will square off against Marymount (30-0), who can be regarded as the No. 1 team in the nation, for the Division 1 crown Saturday, Nov. 6, at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach.
Vista Murrieta’s season is not finished just yet. The Lady Broncos will get to compete in the CIF State playoffs in the coming weeks. They will find out Sunday, Nov. 7, if they will be part of the Open Division field or if they will be defending their Division 1 state title from 2019.
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JP Raineri can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.