CORONA DEL MAR — A fan kept yelling in the fourth set that Corona del Mar High's Hayley Hodson was running out of steam against Mater Dei. Hodson admitted she was fatigued, and 67 attempts can do that to the best of outside hitters.
But Hodson was really more tired of losing to Mater Dei.
The one girls' volleyball team to beat CdM twice this year wasn't going to on the Sea Kings' court Saturday. When her shot wasn't as lethal as it was in the first two sets in which the Sea Kings won, Hodson dug deep.
At a time CdM needed someone to close out the Monarchs, Hodson swung her arm one last time. The sophomore came through in the fourth set, pounding her 24th kill to clinch the Sea Kings' 25-17, 25-19, 24-26, 25-23 upset of fourth-seeded Mater Dei in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA playoffs.
Hodson still had something left in the tank after so many swings. She swung her arms in the air and celebrated CdM's triumph with her teammates, while Mater Dei looked on in disbelief.
How was it possible that a team that never managed to take a set against Mater Dei during the regular season ended the Monarchs' season? CdM Coach Marissa Booker had the answer.
"We came in hungry," Booker said. "We were really excited to play them and we came in ready to go.
"It was a mentality."
The Sea Kings (28-6) will need that same attitude come Tuesday, when they play a semifinal match at top-seeded Redondo Union (34-3).
This is another chance for the Sea Kings to get revenge on a team that defeated them during the regular season. Hodson had no idea that Redondo Union barely got past Dana Hills in a five-set quarterfinal match on Saturday, but she was looking forward to seeing Redondo Union again.
"We played them earlier in Vegas [at the Durango Fall Classic], but we did not win that one," said Hodson, whose team lost the best-of-three match in two sets. "I want another rematch with them and see what they got."
In order to get another shot at Redondo Union, Hodson and the Sea Kings had to get past the talented Monarchs (30-6). They almost did it in three sets.
Hodson was on fire in the first two sets, recording 10 kills and a couple of blocks, helping CdM go ahead.
Alexis Cage also played at a high level for CdM and it was arguably her best match of the season. She produced 15 kills on 29 attempts.
Stanford-bound setter Kelsey Humphreys, who dished out 52 assists, kept feeding Hodson the ball in the third. And the 6-foot-2 Hodson blasted a dozen kills in the third, but it wasn't enough.
Mater Dei wasn't going away. Sara Hughes, a versatile senior, lifted the Monarchs down the stretch of the third set, keeping their season alive with one of her double-digit kills.
When the fourth set came around, it went back and forth, no team taking more than a three-point lead. The set featured 11 ties. That is how tight it was.
Outside hitter Frankie Shebby tied it one last time for Mater Dei at 23-23. The standout junior's next shot struck the net, putting CdM at match point.
After a timeout, CdM went to its young star one more time. And Hodson made sure to quiet that fan in the visiting stands. She showed she and CdM had it in them to finally knock off Mater Dei.