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Mater Dei boys volleyball sweeps Servite, clinches second straight Trinity League championship

ANAHEIM >> The Mater Dei boys volleyball team had one objective in its penultimate Trinity League game Tuesday night and it was simple: win league.

The Monarchs succeeded by sweeping Servite, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20, in front of a raucous crowd at Servite High to clinch the league title in back-to-back seasons.

A win Tuesday by Servite (18-10, 7-2) would have put the Friars in position to likely share the league title with the Monarchs (23-4, 9-0), so Mater Dei coach Jake Nuneviller was glad to see his team secure the outright championship with a sweep.

He also made it clear that he and his team want much more out of this season.

“It’s definitely something that we wanted to accomplish this year but certainly not the end goal,” Nuneviller said.

“Servite’s a great team,” he continued. “We knew we had to play well if we wanted to beat them, especially in their house. As you can see, they bring the crowd, so it’s great, but it’s only one step closer to where we want to be.”

Outside hitter Zach Berty had 12 kills and three aces for the Monarchs while middle blockers Jackson Walker and Sean McNaughton had six kills each. Danny O’Neill finished with seven kills and Eli McGhee added six kills with two aces and Cole Schobel collected 26 assists.

All three sets were up for grabs but the Monarchs made all the crucial plays necessary to pull away and secure each set.

Nuneviller credited his team for being comfortable enough to manage the tense scenarios.

“We’ve been in those moments a lot of times,” he said, “so once you’ve done it so many times, it alleviates the stress and we know what we’re supposed to do in that position.”

After taking the first set, Mater Dei was tied with Servite 16-16 in the second when McGhee’s two aces sparked a 3-0 run and forced the Friars to use a timeout. Berty got a pair of kills after the timeout and the Monarchs took the second set after a service error by Jack Morikawa (five kills) on set point.

“I think tonight they were the better team,” Servite coach Matt Marrujo said. “They definitely won with serving and passing, they put a lot of pressure on us and we didn’t respond with tough enough serves.”

The Friars’ attack was paced by opposite Eamon Rigdon, who had 10 kills, and outside hitter Riley Rosenkranz, who finished with four kills.

The Friars will host St. John Bosco in their league finale on Wednesday.

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