Mater Dei’s girls volleyball team looks like the best team in Orange County this season, and the Monarchs should be considered among the top teams in the CIF Southern Section.

The Monarchs won the Queens Court preseason tournament’s Elite Varsity division championship earlier this month by defeating JSerra in the final. They are 3-0 and getting ready to head to Texas to play in a tournament against some of the nation’s top teams.

Mater Dei senior libero Malyssa Cawa, who is on the preseason All-America team, is committed to Stanford. Sophomore outside hitter Layli Ostovar is on’s preseason All-America second team. Senior outside hitter Izzy Clark, a University of San Diego commit, was All-Orange County first team last season.

Monarchs senior Cymarah Gordon committed to Michigan and junior Ayva Ostovar to UC Santa Barbara. Another senior, Julia Kakkis, is bound for Brown.

Dan O’Dell, in his 11th season as the Mater Dei girls volleyball coach, likes the quality and depth of this season’s team.

“We’re very strong across the board, at all starting spots,” he said. “This was always the year we had circled when we were starting four sophomores a couple of years ago. I think the chemistry of this group is very strong.”

Cawa, who had 322 digs last season, agrees.

“We’ve already had moments this season, like in Queens Court, where we didn’t have everyone there to play but we still stepped up to the plate and we were victorious at the end,” she said. “I like the grit we show on the court in those moments.”


Santa Margarita won the championship of the Gold Division of the Tesoro Tournament on Monday at Tesoro. The Eagles defeated Palos Verdes in the division final in three sets. Santa Margarita junior outside hitter Brooklyn Drumwright was named tournament gold division MVP. …

Also on the Tesoro Tournament gold division all-tournament team were Presley Johnson of J Serra, Stacy Reeves and Victoria Turner of Beckman, and Santa Margarita’s Brooklyn Kostoff. …

Los Alamitos senior outside hitter Kaia Herweg was All-County second team last season as were Huntington Beach senior outside hitter Haylee LaFontaine and Oilers senior setter Dani Sparks. Other returning All-OC second-team selections are San Juan Hills senior outside hitter Alex Stone and Edison senior outside hitter Summer Witherby. …

JSerra opposite hitter Charlotte Nowak was All-County third team last season as a freshman. JSerra senior setter Payton Mossbarger also was All-OC third team in 2022. Huntington Beach junior opposite Taylor Ponchak was All-OC third team last year as was Capistrano Valley Christian senior outside hitter Kenna Henjum.

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