Los Angeles Preps: Zach La Cavera

CYPRESS -- To get an idea of how much of a breeze the Southern Section volleyball championships had been for Santa Margarita, it had not lost a single game through four playoff matches.

Saturday night, though, the second-seeded Eagles got the air choked out of them by Trinity League rival Mater Dei.

Continuing a run that is nothing short of spectacular, Mater Dei — the unheralded team at the beginning of the season that wasn't ranked by anybody — scored a stunning 22-25, 25-18, 17-25, 25-20, 18-16 victory over Santa Margarita.

Now it doesn't look as if anyone can hang with the Monarchs (28-3), who won their first section title in four tries.

Mater Dei
ESPNLA.comMater Dei players and fans celebrate the victory over Santa Margarita in the Division 1 final.
They beat top-seeded Mira Costa in the quarterfinals, and now have beaten the other team that was the class of Division 1. They also ended the regular season with a sweep of Santa Margarita after getting swept on two other occasions.

"This is straight up unbelievable," said Zach La Cavera, who had 27 kills and held the championship plaque while the throng that circled him chanted "MVP, MVP."

It was unbelievable. No team in the playoffs had finished closer than 25-21 in any game against Santa Margarita (32-3). Even after losing the first game, it seemed a stretch that the Eagles would lose two in a row after seizing Game 3.

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A pair of upsets have refocused the Southern Section Championships for Division 1 in boys' volleyball, which continue tonight with semifinal games that feature six Orange County teams among the eight still playing in the top two divisions.

Zach La Cavera had 35 kills on Saturday to lead Mater Dei to a victory over top-seeded Mira Costa, 29-27, 20-25, 25-14, 18-25, 15-9. The Monarchs will play host to Westlake, which overcame a two-game deficit at home to upset fourth-seeded Newport Harbor, 20-25, 22-25, 27-25, 25-20, 15-12.

Newport Harbor got 32 kills from Cody Caldwell, but an early 4-1 deficit in the fifth game was too much to overcome.

On the other side of the bracket, Thousand Oaks will be at home after beating St. John Bosco on the road and after losing the first two games, 20-25, 22-25, 27-25, 25-20, 15-12.

Second-seeded Santa Margarita was the only team that had an easy time of it in the quarterfinals. The Eagles swept Redondo, 25-21, 25-18, 25-14, but will be on the road, at Thousand Oaks, in the other Division 1 semifinal.

All semifinals are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

The semifinals in Division 2 feature all Orange County teams. Corona del Mar plays host to Trabuco Hills, which came from two games back to upset fourth-seeded Oak Park, 23-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-13. CdM got 12 kills from Parker Brown in a 25-14, 25-16, 25-15 victory over Aliso Niguel.

Second-seeded Laguna Beach will play host to Beckman, which beat third-seeded Valencia in five games, 24-26, 25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 15-11. Laguna Beach beat Irvine in four games, 23-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-13.
1. Zach Handy controlled 22 of 27 faceoffs and Cameron Cole scored a team-high five goals as Foothill (18-4) won its fifth consecutive Southern Section Division 1 lacrosse championship. The Knights defeated Mira Costa, 19-5, on Saturday at Redondo Union High. Josh Giglio had nine saves against Mira Costa before giving way in the fourth quarter. Mission Viejo won the Division 2 title with a 7-5 victory over Loyola.

2. Allie Conrad scored six goals as Los Alamitos (19-3) won a third consecutive Southern Section girls' championship with a 19-5 victory over Redondo Union. Despite playing on Redondo's home field, Los Al led 11-1 at halftime and were never threatened. Julie Crowell and Torrey Bailey scored four goals apiece. St. Margaret's defeated Cate, 17-14, to win the Division 2 title.

3. Shelby Webber of Fountain Valley won the 200 individual medley (2:00.28) and the 100 freestyle (49.90), and Melanie Klaren of Aliso Niguel won the 200 free (1:46.62) and 100 backstroke (53.23) at the Southern Section Division I swim finals at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach. University scored a 125-point victory over second-place Laguna Hills in the overall team scoring. The Trojans got a first-place finish from Maggie Burton in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.69), and won three relays: the 200 medley, 200 free, and 400 free. Other champions were Emily Jiang of Irvine (100 butterfly, 55.36) and Courtney Wilde of Laguna Hills (50 free, 23.39). Alexandra Caplan of Mission Viejo won the diving in Division 1. Also notable was Lindsey Engel of Crean Lutheran, who clocked 49.37 in the 100 free in Division 3.

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