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Redondo's Jody Smith spikes the bal for a point during game action Girls CIF Volleyball Playoffs San Juan Hills High vs. Redondo Union at Redondo Union High School, Redondo Beach, October 24, 2018 (photo by Mike Mullen)

The Redondo girls volleyball team had the perfect start to Saturday’s CIF SoCal regional Open Division semifinal.

“The first set we played great,” Redondo coach Tommy Chaffins said.

Unfortunately for the Sea Hawks the first set, only seemed to awaken the top-seeded Monarchs, who would eventually won 19-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-19.

Mater Dei (41-2) will host third-seeded Marymount in the regional final Tuesday, Nov. 13.

After falling behind in the second set, Redondo rallied to take a 23-22 lead and appeared on the verge of handing Mater Dei a second consecutive set loss, something that’s only happened once this season (Sept. 22) for the Monarchs.

Mater Dei responded with a kill from Brielle Mullally and Meg Brown and an attack sent long by Redondo to even the match and helped turn the momentum.

“They got a tip that went down and then they scored and we hit it out,” Chaffins said. “I think mentally, I know we didn’t recover from that, at least in the third set. In the fourth set, we were right there, we had some point scoring opportunities and we didn’t convert and I really feel like that was the difference.”

“They’re a veteran team, they lost in the state finals and I don’t think they had a sophomore out there. Those little things were probably the different.

This was the second meeting of the season between the two teams. Mater Dei, who won the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title, defeated Redondo in four sets, Sept. 5.

“They came out (in the first set) and were fantastic and took it to us,” Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell said. “We not prepared to see some of that. It takes our girls a little bit to adjust to that style, we didn’t execute in transition, we had a lot of swings to score points and we weren’t scoring points early.

“Then our first contacts kind of settled down in sets two, three and four and that allowed us to get everybody involved and start rolling from there.”

Natalie Berty led Mater Dei with 20 kills. Mia Tuaniga had 12 and Mullally had nine.

“Set three, I thought, might have been one our cleanest, smoothest sets we’ve had all year,” O’Dell said. “We passed great, defensively we were phenomenal we just had an answer for everything that they were throwing at us. That was a really good set.”

Kami Miner led Redondo with 10 kills, Jasmine Davis and Jylen Whitten had nine kills apiece. Jody Smith had seven blocks and three kills. Nalani Iosia had 14 digs and nine assists.

For Redondo, the last two seasons have ended the same with a loss in the CIF Southern Section semifinal and the CIF SoCal Regional semifinal.

“You have to real well (against them). When we didn’t close out (the second set) it kind of took the sails out of us and took us awhile to recover,” Chaffins said.

“We lose five seniors, three who were in the playing rotation. We will return a lot of players and we hope to use this as motivation for next year. We had aspirations of a CIF title and a state title, it didn’t happen, but kids were phenomenal, they were great teammates, battled hard every day …we just weren’t good enough tonight.”

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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