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Mater Dei Finally Enjoys Happy Ending

November 18, 2001|Mike Bresnahan

The mantra was one simple word, yet it was part of a complex, season-long effort to do one thing at Santa Ana Mater Dei--finish.

The Monarchs had made a habit of losing in Southern Section finals, reaching the title match the last two seasons only to dissolve amid a series of hitting errors, missed passes and, ultimately, tears.

This time, there were more tears ... of joy.

Mater Dei won its first Southern Section girls' volleyball title, defeating Irvine, 15-9, 15-6, 15-1, in the Division II-A championship Saturday at Cypress College.

Whitney Pavlik had 15 kills, Breegan Mulligan had 13 and top-seeded Mater Dei (31-3) had a reason to celebrate.

"From the beginning, it's been finish, finish, finish," said Mulligan, who signed with Pepperdine. "We did it."

Second-seeded Irvine (18-13) started strong, taking a 6-0 lead in the first game, but managed only 10 points the rest of the match. Middle blocker Olivia Waldowski, who has signed with Nebraska, had 19 kills for Irvine, but no other player had more than three kills.

Mater Dei, on the other hand, could go to Pavlik, Mulligan or Ashley Bayer, who had 11 kills.

"We had some business to take care of and we did," Mater Dei Coach Craig Panzanti said.

Every team in the Southern Section finals qualified for the state playoffs, beginning Tuesday.

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