With Redondo leading in the match and possessing a four-point advantage in the fourth set, all signs pointed toward the Sea Hawks clinching Saturday night’s CIF State Regional Open Division semifinal match against Mater Dei.
However, the celebration never materialized for the Sea Hawks.
Mater Dei (30-5) rallied to win the fourth set and carried that momentum into and through the fifth set, eventually coming away with the victory, 19-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-23, 15-6.
“We didn’t get enough kills tonight,” Redondo coach Tommy Chaffins said. “They (Mater Dei) passed better than they did the first time and we didn’t get enough stops and we had trouble finding ways to score.”
On Nov. 9, Redondo (38-4) defeated Mater Dei in four sets in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship match.
Both teams had a bye in the first round of the regional tournament, setting the stage for Saturday’s meeting.
“State (tournament) is such an interesting item,” Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell said. “It’s hard to come back and have a desire because you put some much into (winning) CIF, but I think it is a testament to the girls. They believed they could win and even when their backs were against the wall, they kept fighting and fighting until the end.”
Mater Dei showed that resiliency in the second set, handing Redondo perhaps its worst defeat in a set this season.
“Things went haywire in that second set,” Chaffins said.
Redondo was still able to bounce back in the third set as Mele Corral-Blagojevich and Laila Ricks led the offense.
In the fourth set, Redondo led 20-16. Later, with the Sea Hawks holding a 22-20 lead, the Monarchs scored four consecutive points, punctuated by consecutive blocks by Mia Tuaniga, to get to set point and soon the victory to even the match at 2-2.
“We made back-to-back unforced errors and then Mater Dei made some great plays,” Chaffins said. “We opened the door a little bit, but I proud of the way … after getting hammered in set two, that we came back and won set three. We played well, but Mater Dei is the (defending) state champion. We’ve had two weeks to prepare for one another and we just didn’t get enough offense tonight.
“We don’t lose at home very often and we expected to win and play in the SoCal regional final. It is hard to say that it is a hard loss, but it is …Any time you win the (CIF-SS) Division 1, the highest division in Southern Section, so we do have that for a lifetime of memories, but tonight will hurt, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort.”