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St. Margaret's Does a Repeat Performance


Top-seeded St. Margaret's jumped on Pasadena Poly early and held off a late rally to beat the Panthers, 15-5, 15-0, 15-11, in the Southern Section Division V-AA girls' volleyball championship match Saturday at Cypress College.

Sophomore outside hitter Polly Bendush had 12 kills, Kammeron Hauser had nine kills and two aces and Monique Kettler had seven kills for St. Margaret's (30-1), which repeated as division champion.

The Tartans jumped to a 6-0 lead in the first game, with Hauser and Kettler repeatedly finding holes in the Poly defense. The Panthers got to within 6-3 behind some impressive hitting by Katrina Damasco before St. Margaret's pulled away and won, 15-5.

Things got worse for second-seeded Pasadena Poly (20-5) and a lot easier for St. Margaret's in the second game as the Tartans had eight service aces and coasted to a 15-0 win. They were so dominant that Poly managed only one sideout.

"I thought that was the game," said Poly Coach Steve Beerman. "They had way too many easy points, but they definitely caused our mistakes. It was them playing at a high level and they're deserving champions."

Mara Balak led the Tartans with five aces, four coming in the second game, and Kettler had three.

"We just looked for their holes and did the best we could to get the ball down on the other side," Hauser said.

After St. Margaret's took a 7-1 advantage in the third game, the Panthers rallied behind the play of Damasco (four kills) and middle blocker Ashley Weber (six kills, four blocks), scoring six consecutive points against the suddenly error-prone Tartans. St. Margaret's Coach Susie Maga called a timeout.

"I had to be patient because young teams make young mistakes and that's what we were doing," said Maga, who has only one senior on the team. "I told them that it's about finishing, getting the job done without getting these other mental things in our head because that's where we could be weak."

Her players responded by moving out to 10-7 and 12-9 leads before Bendush sealed the win with a kill on the team's second match point.

Setter Erin Balak had 32 assists for St. Margaret's.

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