Player of the Year: Rachel Aragon, Mayfield, Senior
Co-Coaches of the Year: Cuong Chau and Silvia Apodaca, Gabrielino
Taylor DeGraaf, Arcadia, Junior
Courtney McCutchan, La Canada, Senior
Tara Rallis, La Canada, Senior
Hannah Schraer, Mayfield, Junior
Madisyn Spence, Mayfield, Senior
Hayley Woodford, La Canada, Senior
Alexis Genske, Pasadena Poly, Sophomore
Tirah Le’au, Monrovia, Junior
Taylor McLeod, Maranatha, Senior
Mary Schroeder, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Senior
Ashley Van Oosten, Gabrielino, Junior
Melissa-Rose Villasenor, Gabrielino, Senior
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There is nothing more consistent than winning CIF-Southern Section championships.
It’s a yearly habit for the Mayfield Senior School volleyball team. Six seniors have won 15 consecutive CIF-SS playoff matches, which is three consecutive titles in two divisions.
No player has been as consistent in those three years as Rachel Aragon. The 5-foot-8 outside hitter, who will play at Division I Dartmouth next season, led the Cubs in kills this season and was among the team’s leaders in kills in all four of her years.
The four-year starter finished with 614 kills, an average of 153.5 kills a year. Aragon, who finishes each kill attempt with an unusual skip-like finish, had 222 kills with a 46.7 percentage in a season in which she also had only 15 errors and 18 aces.
All were career-best numbers for the Star-News Player of the Year.
“We won it with our drive,” Aragon said of the championships. “It was exciting when we won them closely.”
The CIF-Southern Section also named her Division 3 co-Player of the Year.
“Rachel is thick,” Mayfield head coach Ernest Banaag said. “You know what you’re going to get from her.”
In the CIF-SS Division 3A title match, a four-game victory over Cerritos, she had 14 kills.
“This just solidifies what we’ve done,” Banaag said of the titles.
“I think the core group of seniors will relish this more than anything else.”
Opposite hitter Madisyn Spence had the difficult task of replacing the 2008 Player of the Year, Mayfield’s Susan Carlson, but the 5-foot-7 senior succeeded with a powerful spike and arguably the most wicked jump serve in the west Valley.
“It was a great season,” she said. “Besides winning, we really came together as a team. It was so much fun.”
Also on Mayfield’s front line was 6-foot-2 middle blocker Hannah Schraer, who has committed to USC.
It truly was a banner year for area volleyball teams. La Ca ada reached its second consecutive CIF-SS Division 2-A championship match, where it lost to Elsinore in four games.
The senior trio of 6-0 outside hitter Courtney McCutchan, 5-foot-10 setter Hayley Woodford and 5-foot-8 libero Tara Rallis nearly helped the Spartans pull off back-to-back CIF-SS titles.
All three, who have helped the Spartans to a 37-match league winning streak, will play Division I ball next season. McCutchan will play at Lehigh, Woodford at Loyola-Marymount and Rallis at George Washington.
“It was successful, even though we didn’t win (the title),” said Rallis, who had 405 digs this season.
“We came together and became a family.”
McCutchan had 390 kills for a 41.4 percentage and 48 aces. Woodford averaged 9.1 assists and had 37 aces.
“We won the games I wanted to win,” McCutchan said. “There were a lot of wins along the way.”
Gabrielino and Pasadena Poly reached the Division 3-A semifinals, a first for both schools. Gabrielino lost to Mayfield and Pasadena Poly lost to Cerritos.
Gabrielino has a 59-match league winning streak still intact.
Cuong Chau, in his 10th year with the Eagles, had to change the team’s practice habits because of his work schedule. He promoted assistant coach Silvia Apodaca, who has been with the program for three years, to co-head coach and the Eagles did not miss a beat. They were named Star-News co-Coaches of the Year.
“It’s been a wonderful season,” Chau said. “Each year we try and push it to the next level.”
Arcadia finished off an undefeated Pacific League season with 5-foot-10 junior outside hitter Taylor DeGraaf leading the charge.
The Apaches went 21-3 but lost in the CIF-SS Division 2-AA second round to eventual finalist Corona del Mar.