Mater Dei, ranked seventh in Orange County, and eighth-ranked Santa Margarita came into Thursday's Serra League boys' volleyball match battered and bruised, but the Eagles didn't mind the pain after posting a four-game victory.
Junior Damien Scott had 24 kills and five blocks and junior Blake Robinson and senior John Costigan pushed through their shoulder injuries to play key roles in Santa Margarita's emotionally charged 15-9, 13-15, 15-12, 15-10 victory at Mater Dei High.
Before the match, Santa Margarita Coach Eddie Rapp didn't know how much Costigan would play. But the 6-foot senior had 14 kills and played most of the final three games to provide a spark for the Eagles (6-3, 2-0 in league).
And Robinson, whose sore shoulder has hampered him all season, finished with 18 kills and five blocks, and also had 13 of his 15 digs in the last two games.
"Blake's a gamer," Rapp said. "We need him out there. This team is starting to rise up to the challenge and we're getting better in crunch time."
Although Mater Dei out-blocked Santa Margarita, 23-12, with the Eagles finding it tough to hit past middle blockers Felix Inga (nine blocks) and Joe Groff (nine blocks, 17 kills), they were still siding out with more consistency than the Monarchs, who struggled at times with their passing.
Santa Margarita setter Vince Prietto (72 assists) spread the ball around, finding Dustin Creager (17 kills) from the right side or Scott or Robinson from the backrow to keep Mater Dei off-balance.
"This win is right up there with some of our early[-round] CIF playoff wins," Robinson said. "Hopefully, we'll keep getting better."
Mater Dei (5-3, 1-1) wasn't at 100% with its two top players--Mike Gazzano and Brian Costanzo--nursing back injuries, Coach Tom Costanzo said. Brian Costanzo still had 17 kills and five blocks and Gazzano had 53 assists and eight blocks.