By Mitch Stephens
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Nobody could blame Mount Madonna's players from being nervous.
The girls volleyball team from nearby Watsonville brought a healthy entourage to San Jose State's Event Center for the Hawks' first-ever appearance in a CIF State Division V championship match.
When Central Valley Christian-Visalia scored the match's first six points, Mt. Madonna could have tightened up mentally and physically.
Instead, the Hawks (30-6) constricted their defense en route to a 25-21, 25-15, 25-12 victory on Saturday.
"We dug practically everything," Mt. Madonna coach Gabby Houston said. "Our defense was great."
Leading the diggers were also the team's top two hitters, Hannah Meade and Alexa Rosendale, a pair of 5-foot-10 seniors.
Each had game-highs of 11 kills, while Meade added 17 digs and Rosendale 10.
Sophomore settter Erin Mitchell (24 assists) and senior Joanna Koda helped calm the Hawks, who eventually took the first game.
Once that was out of the way, Mt. Madonna was in complete command though senior setter Amber Nederend (18 sets), senior 6-1 hitter Whitney Van den Berg (seven kills) and Erica Nederend, Alexandra Parades and Brelle De Groot (four kills apiece) kept the Cavaliers (30-7), also making their first state-appearance competitive.
NOTES: Meade was picked as the game MVP while Mt. Madonna's Mitchell, Rosendale and Central Valley Christian's Nederend and Jessica Monteiro were picked to the All-Tournament team. . Sportsmanship award winners were Meade and Nederend.