If 2018 ends up like a repeat of the 2017 girls’ volleyball season, do not be surprised.
Several of the same high schools which won and/or came close to CIF-Southern Section and California state championships have key players returning this season, and their strong histories of success makes them logical choices to continue that pattern.
Mater Dei, for example, returns junior setter Mia Tuaniga, a Maxpreps Sophomore All-American and a Large Schools All-State player last season (and headed for Cal State Long Beach after graduation in 2020).
The Dan O’Dell-coached Monarchs won the CIF-SS Division 1 and Southern California Regional championships last year, losing to nationally-ranked No. 2 Archbishop Mitty of San Jose in the state finals, and have graduated several All-CIF players including D-1 Player of the Year Siena Secrist (now planning to play beach volleyball at USC).
Marymount, the team that Mater Dei beat in the D-1 title match and and Regional semifinal in 2017, features senior Devon Newberry, a Maxpreps’ Underclass All-American and an All-State Large Schools choice headed for UCLA in 2019. Coach Cari Klein’s Sailors ended the 2017 regular season ranked No. 1 in D-1.
St. Paul, winner of the 2017 CIF-SS Division 5 title and a D-III Regional finalist, lost Player of the Year Hannah Tostado (now at Concordia/Irvine) but returns senior setter Joy Lee, who made the All-State Small Schools team. The Swordsmen, coached by John Van Deventer, have been moved up to Division 3 of the Southern Section.
But many more Catholic schools will be in the championship mix in 2018, including Santa Margarita, Mater Dei’s Trinity League rival and the defending State Division I champion. The Eagles also were fourth-ranked in California, one spot behind Mater Dei and one ahead of Marymount.
La Salle, the 2017 Division 3 runner-up and regular season No. 1, is now in the group of D-1/D-2 schools that will be divided come playoff time in late October. La Reina, last year’s regular season No. 1 in D-5, is now in D-4, minus All-State Small Schools selection Michelle Shaffer, now at Santa Clara University.
Holy Family of Glendale, No. 2 in the Horizon League last year to Sacred Heart, is led by junior outside hitter Meghann Velasquez, an All-CIF D-9 first team pick in 2017. The Gaels have moved into D-8 this season, while Sacred Heart is in D-7.
Local Catholic HS talent at UCLA, USC
Two All-State and All-CIF D-1 players from 2017 who were key factors in their teams’ success have moved on to UCLA: Kelsey Campeau of Mater Dei and Devon Chang of Santa Margarita.
Returning for her senior season at UCLA is defensive specialist/libero Zana Muno, twice an All-CIF-SS first team selection while at Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks. Muno also plays on the UCLA women’s beach volleyball team, which Marymount’s Newberry hopes to join in 2019.
At USC, meanwhile, the 2018 women’s volleyball squad includes senior middle blocker Brittany Welsh, formerly of Mater Dei who transferred from LSU in 2017, and senior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley, formerly an All-CIF selection at Marymount who transferred from Washington in 2015.
At Loyola Marymount University, the 2018 women’s volleyball team will present two former local Catholic high school stars on its roster: senior outside hitter Savannah Slattery from Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks (an All-West Coast Conference honorable mention choice in 2017) and freshman defensive specialist Ella Boehle from Notre Dame Academy in West L.A.
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