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Mater Dei boys volleyball beats Servite in a wild five-set Trinity League match

ANAHEIM – If a book is ever written about the history of the Mater Dei-Servite sports rivalry, their volleyball match Wednesday deserves a page or two.

Mater Dei won the first two sets. Servite won the next two sets. In the decisive fifth set, Servite and Mater Dei traded match-point chances before Mater Dei took the set and the match for the victory, 25-18, 25-17, 24-26, 23-25, 23-21.

Servite had a 14-12 lead in the fifth set.

“That was one of the most fun games I’ve ever played in,” said Mater Dei senior outside hitter Eli McGhee. “I loved every second of it.”

Owen Keely with the match-winner for Mater Dei … a 23-21 fifth set(!!!). MD beats Servite 3-2 pic.twitter.com/UtL0PScO4y

— Steve Fryer (@SteveFryer) March 14, 2024

It was the Trinity League opener for both teams. Mater Dei is 9-7 overall. Servite is 8-6.

In the CIF Southern Section Division 1 and Division 2 combined rankings Mater Dei is No. 8 and Servite is No. 10.

McGhee had a team-high 19 kills with 12 digs. Monarchs senior outside hitter Owen Keely added 14 kills. Freshman setter Jeremiah Potasi had 43 assists.

Servite 6-foot-6 senior outside hitter Eamon Rigdon had 24 kills, many of them with the velocity of a Nolan Ryan fastball. Senior middle blocker Cooper Truong had 22 kills.

Led by Rigdon, who was All-Orange County second team last season, Servite had the lead through most of the fifth set and was on the verge of closing out the victory. With the Friars ahead, 14-12, a Servite service error and a point by Mater Dei libero Matthew Wheel tied it at 14.

Mater Dei and Servite took turns serving at match point. The Monarchs had a 21-20 lead when Truong delivered a kill to tie it. Then McGhee, who was All-County fourth team last year, made a kill and Keely smashed the match-winner for the 23-21 win.

“That was an emotional rollercoaster,” said Mater Dei coach Jake Nuneviller. “You think you’ve got it, you think you’re under control. And then (Servite) played way better in that third set.”

Servite coach Matt Marrujo said the Friars needed to settle down and did so starting with the third set.

“We started three sophomores, so a lot of it was just our guys getting comfortable,” Marrujo said. “We talk a lot about being present in the moment. I think at the beginning there was a little distraction.

“I get it. The emotions are there. The competitiveness is there. Our guys did a good job of calming down.”

Jake Schutt with the block for the winning point for Servite 26-24. Tied at 2 sets each. Here comes the fifth set … ⁦@ocvarsityguy⁩ pic.twitter.com/6yZOdUp5MI

— Steve Fryer (@SteveFryer) March 14, 2024

Rigdon was the match’s dominating player from the third set forward.

“The best player on the court started playing like the best player on the court,” Marrujo said.

Mater Dei’s next game is a league home game against JSerra on Friday. Servite plays at St. John Bosco in a league game Friday.

The next Mater Dei-Servite game is March 27 at Mater Dei.

“It’s great to get this win here,” Nuneviller said of the Monarchs’ road victory. “This is a tough place to play.”



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