An athletic field or court often is just another type of classroom.
Mater Dei girls volleyball coach Dan O’Dell hopes the Monarchs learned something Saturday in the championship match of the Dave Mohs Memorial Tournament at Edison High.
They lost to San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic in three sets. Mater Dei won the first set 25-19, lost the second set 19-25 and the third set 10-15.
“(Cathedral Catholic’s Dons) have a lot of size,” said O’Dell, in his 11th season as Mater Dei’s coach. “I think our hitters need to do a better job at being able to read the blocks, read the situation and make better choices with where we’re trying to hit the ball.”
Cathedral Catholic 6-foot-3 senior middle blocker Jenna Hanes led the Dons front line that stopped many Mater Dei kill attempts from crossing the net. Hanes, who committed to Michigan, was named tournament MVP.
Cathedral Catholic was 42-0 last season and was named national champion by MaxPreps.com which this season has Mater Det at No. 2 in its national rankings, behind No. 1 Mira Costa, and Cathedral Catholic at No. 8.
Cathedral Catholic in the tournament beat four teams in the Orange County top 10: No. 1 Mater Dei in the finals, No. 2 Huntington Beach in the semifinals (by scores of 24-26, 25-14 and 15-12), No. 5 JSerra and No. 9 Edison.
Dons coach Juliana Conn expected a difficult challenge from the Monarchs.
“They’re so physical,” Conn said. “It had to start with the serve. We served against them very well.”
Hanes provided three of Cathedral Catholic’s final five points of the first set on two blocks and a kill. Mater Dei’s Izzy Clark, Cymarah Gordon and Layli Ostovar led the Monarchs to victory in the second set. Mater Dei had a 6-4 lead in the third set but could not maintain it.
Mater Dei beat San Juan Hills in the quarterfinals and Beckman in the semifinals.
The Monarchs start Trinity League play this week with two home games, Tuesday against Rosary and Thursday against JSerra.
Edison defeated Santa Margarita in a consolation match Saturday to conclude their tournament play.