The Coast News Group
The San Dieguito Academy girls' volleyball team will play Francis Parker Tuesday night in a CIF semifinal game. Photo by Bill Slane
The San Dieguito Academy girls' volleyball team will play Francis Parker Tuesday night in a CIF semifinal game. Photo by Bill Slane
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Mustangs top Mater Dei to advance to CIF semifinals

ENCINITAS — The San Dieguito Academy girls’ volleyball team kept its playoff hopes alive after defeating Mater Dei High School 3-1 on Friday night in Encinitas.

San Dieguito Academy won the matchup against the Monarchs in four sets, 25-21, 25-18, 21-25 and 25-13, to advance to the semifinals of the CIF San Diego Section Division II Championships.

Led by senior captain Hannah Waite and freshman phenom Hannah Demiter, the Mustangs took the first two sets 25-21 and 25-18 of the quarterfinal matchup on their home court before dropping the third set. But San Dieguito responded by making adjustments in the final set, defeating Mater Dei 25-13 to clinch the program’s second CIF tournament win.

“We have a habit of doing this,” Mustangs coach Will Raschke told The Coast News after Friday’s victory. “They get in a groove and they play and they play and then the other team starts picking it up and they don’t adjust. Then they realize it’s the fourth set and we have to get going and I see their best volleyball in that set.”

San Dieguito Academy is currently on a seven-game win streak, improving its overall record to 27-8. The Mustangs went undefeated (11-0) in league play.

The biggest turning point in the final set came with Demiter serving, helping the Mustangs go on a 6-0 run to put the game out of reach for the Monarchs.

“It made the game,” Raschke said. “It’s hard to come back from six in a row like that. They had a similar run in the third set and we had to fight to come back from that too and it’s difficult.”

The Mustangs were successful in the early sets blocking at the net, a component of their game they have relied on all-season long led by senior Hannah Waite and juniors Elizabeth Paul and Tori Tingum, who combined for a total of more than 30 blocks this season.

“We work on that a lot,” Raschke said. “Blocking and servicing are probably the two things we spend the most time on.”

San Dieguito advances to face a familiar yet challenging opponent in Francis Parker (17-10). The two teams faced each other in August when the Lancers swept the Mustangs in three sets.

The Mustangs will be anxious to get that win back to punch their ticket to the CIF championship.

“It was early in the season and our servicing hadn’t settled so we couldn’t do much of anything,” Raschke said. “We have a bone to pick.”

The semifinal matchup will take place Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Francis Parker High School in San Diego with the winner advancing to the CIF championship against either Otay Ranch or Olympian on November 6.