In the CIF Open Division state title match, Archbishop Mitty gave powerful Mater Dei a fierce battle but fell to the Monarchs from southern California 25-18, 23-25, 25-15, 25-21. Mater Dei (43-2) won via a strong offense, a huge block and solid defense from the back row.
For Mitty (33-5), the appearance in the state finals was their second in the last three years. They remain the overwhelming leader in state titles with 14, ahead of Francis Parker of San Diego and St. Francis of Mountain View, each of whom has nine crowns.
Mitty was paced by sophomore Makenna Crosson with 16 kills, NYU-bound middle Amiya Kuchibhotla with 11 kills, Fairfield-committed Katelyn Cook with 10 kills, and right-side Izzy Romero with nine kills.
“To be able to come to this event and to compete at the highest level is awesome,” Mitty coach Jon Wallace said. “We blocked well and we got some good touches but they were pretty fast.”
Mater Dei was led by Michigan-bound Cymarrah Gordon with 17 kills, Layli Ostovar with 14 kills and USD-bound Isabel Clark with 13 kills.
Romero and Kuchibhotla found success early for Mitty. The first set was just 16-15 in favor of Mater Dei until they pulled away. Mitty regrouped and came out on fire in the second set, building a 19-10 lead. A furious Mater Dei rally tied the set at 22-22 but Cook blasted a kill through the block and Romero smashed home the winner from the right side.
In the third set, Mater Dei improved their block and tightened the back row defense, including on serve receive. In the fourth set,Mater Dei drew out to a 19-10 lead but Mitty fought back. Crosson was finding success from different spots on the floor and Cook belted four kills as Mitty climbed back within 20-19. But Clark and Gordon replied with kills to give Mater Dei the title.
“I love the energy we came out with,” Mater Dei coach Dan O’Dell said. “Mitty did a great job serving and we struggled in the second set. We recovered but Mitty did not back down.”
Campbell Hall swept Sacred Heart Cathedral 25-21, 25-17, 25-14 for the title. Mila Mijailovic led the Vikings (36-5) with 21 kills and Sierra Starkman added 10 kills. The Fightin’ Irish (25-15), third-place finisher in the West Catholic Athletic League behind Mitty and St. Francis, were paced by Sarah Caulder with 10 kills and 12 digs and Rachel Mak with eight kills.
SHC is now 1-5 in state finals, with the title coming in 2014. Campbell Hall, which lost only three matches to California teams this season, won a crown in its first state championship appearance.