Mater Dei is the No. 2 girls’ volleyball team in the United States, according to Maxpreps’ pre-season poll of the nation’s top 25 teams.

The Monarchs were ranked No. 3 at the end of the 2018 season with a record of 43-2 and won the CIF-SS Division 1 and California State tournaments. Even with the loss of CIF D-1 player of the year Natalie Berty (now at Stanford), Coach Dan O’Dell’s team returns a solid group that includes senior setter Mia Tuaniga (a Maxpreps All-American last season and All-CIF D-1 selection), Meg Brown, Reagan Merk and Lauren Tarnoff.

Ranked 11th nationally are the Marymount Sailors, the one team to consistently push Mater Dei in 2018 and handing the Monarchs a regular season defeat before losing to Mater Dei in the 2018 D-1 and SoCal Open Division finals. 

All-CIF choices Grace Frohling and Devon Newberry have graduated, but sophomore outside hitter Ella Rubin (a Maxpreps All-American freshman team choice last year) heads another solid corps that includes seniors Amara Aimufua and Marisse Turner, junior Caroline Altergott and sophomore Kerry Keefe.

Several other All-CIF selections in 2018 will return this season for their respective teams, including Bishop Montgomery junior Dakota Quinlan, St. Anthony seniors Isabella Bareford and Tiare Jennings, and Holy Family senior Meghann Velasquez.

The girls’ volleyball season began Aug. 17 with non-league matches. League play starts in mid-September. Last year’s league champions included Mater Dei (Trinity), Marymount (Mission), Bishop Amat (Camino Real), St. Joseph/Lakewood (Del Rey), Alemany (Sunshine), St. Genevieve (Santa Fe), Sacred Heart and Holy Family (tie, Horizon), St. Monica Academy (International) and Mayfield (Prep, tie with Poly of Pasadena).

Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).

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