After so many consecutive trips to the CIF Southern California Regional Playoffs, the Clovis West girls volleyball team knows that the competition there rises to another level.
The Eagles witnessed just how high that level is Tuesday night against Mater Dei-Santa Ana, falling in straight sets 25-18, 25-13, 25-19 to the second-seeded Monarchs (32-7).
"I wouldn't be surprised if Mater Dei is in the Southern California finals," said Clovis West coach Rhonda DeRuiter. "That was a fantastic team."
Behind thunderous attacks by Oregon-bound Frankie Shebby and Jaden Pickell, the Monarchs hammered their way to the SoCal semifinals.
But it didn't come easy in the beginning for Mater Dei.
Clovis West (24-14) came out of the blocks with five kills and an ace.
The last of those five kills came from setter Sydney Rigby on an overpass by the Monarchs that gave Clovis West an 8-5 lead and prompted Mater Dei to use an early timeout.
The quick timeout served the Monarchs well. They followed it with a 9-1 run and never looked back.
After a quick second set, Clovis West tried to make things interesting late in set three after Mater Dei jumped out to a 20-12 lead and appeared to be headed to another quick set win.
The Eagles managed to cut that lead down to five points on four occasions, but they couldn't get closer before bowing out on a net violation.
Despite losing 10 players off last year's team, Clovis West's run of domination in the Central Section continued this season with a third consecutive Division I title.
"They were strong as a team," DeRuiter said. "This was a group of girls that played their highest potential in matches when they were playing together."