Tribune sets pace, rallies in five-set thrilling win over Star-News in inaugural Tribune vs. Star-News Senior All-Star Game at Monrovia.


By Miguel A. Melendez
MONROVIA — This much is now clear: there’s rich talent on each side of the San Gabriel Valley.

That message was sent loud as the East withstood a frantic rally from the West to record a thrilling 25-22, 27-25, 23-25, 21-25, 16-14 victory in the inaugural San Gabriel Tribune vs. Pasadena Star-News Girls Volleyball Senior All-Star game at Monrovia High.

The East All-Stars, made up of senior standouts from the Tribune circulation area, were thought to be a more balanced team. But the West All-Stars, made up of players from the Star-News circulation area, proved every bit their worth.

No more than three points separated each team in the first two sets, eventually won by the East. There also were 13 ties in each set.


It wasn’t until the third set when the match saw its biggest lead as the West raced to a 12-3 lead. The East would storm back to take a 22-21 lead, its first since leading 1-0 to open it. Bonita’s Katie Kirby landed the soft touch to give the Tribune the short lead before Gabrielino’s Amanda Watkins served an ace to record the set-point and allow the West for a chance at a comeback.

South Pasadena’s Mercedes Binns, who finished with five kills and five solo blocks, sent a powerful return down the line to win the fourth set, 25-21, and force a fifth and final set.
Los Altos’ Amanda Brown, headed to Eastern Washington, recorded the final kill to seal the match for the East, which again had to rally after trailing 6-2.

“It was very relaxed but then you saw it tie at 11 in the fourth (set) and they started rallying,” said St. Lucy’s coach Sean Douglas, who coached the East. “You saw that they didn’t want to lose this one.”

St. Lucy’s, the CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA champion, is not used to losing, and Alissa young would make sure of it. The Sacred Heart University-bound standout who finished with a game-high 21 kills said there was a relaxed mental approach heading into the match.

“We played with other teams who we consider our rivals,” she said, “but it was fun to play with them on the same court. It was all fun and there was no pressure.”

Monrovia coach Wayne Teng, who coached the West, said the match had a lot of quality plays with exciting back-and-forth rallies.

“You have to give a lot of credit to Sean and his staff for coming back,” he said. “That’s why he’s (the Tribune) coach of the year.”

It was a bittersweet night for Monrovia’s Tirah Le’Au, the reigning Star-News player of the year who is headed to Georgia and finished with 18 kills.

“It felt good to play in this new gym because we had been waiting for it since freshman year,” she said. “It was a bummer when we found out the gym wouldn’t be ready until basketball season, but I at least got to play one game here.”

St. Lucy’s Megan Callen had three blocks and Bonita’s Ashley Maxfeldt, headed to Loyola Marymount, had 49 assists. La Caada’s Eirene Kim had 15 digs and three aces.

Gabrielino’s Ashley Van Oosten had 40 assists to go along with four kills and four digs. Arcadia’s Taylor DeGraf had a solid all-around game with 13 kills and 13 digs. San Marino’s Kelsey Buckner had 12 kills and eight digs.

Douglas couldn’t help but praise the overall talent.

“You hear the beach schools this and the beach schools that,” he said. “But the San Gabriel Valley is just as talented as you can see.”

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  • St. Lucy’s Mom

    Tonight should be a good night with some amazing talent. We are blessed to have the amazing Maxfeldt, Russel, Brown, Haebe, Kirby, Siko, Ellis, Young, Dalton and Callen working together on the same team. Maxfeldt has been in the mix with almost everyone on this list and will quarterback the evening and Haebe will be doing what she has been doing for Chino Hills all along which is an almost unbeatable defense.

    But the Stars have some big time players too. St. Lucy’s played Monrovia and Tirah Le’au is the real deal and the fact that she will be playing with a supporting cast will be even more impressive. Schraer and Binns will offer a brick wall tonight.

    SGV should prevail on speed and court placement tonight. SGV in 4.

    Thanks Fred!!!!!!!!!

  • Basic

    WOW!!! Yes I went with 3 exclamations… That was a great game to watch, exciting, well played, outstanding athletes.

    I know it does mean much for an individual school or even an individual lady, but seeing VB being played at that level was fun, and I hope this grows.

    My MVP has to go the Star-News and our Trib…THANKS

  • VB Fan

    It was awesome to see so much talent out there on one court and for it to be fun and light hearted, but at the same time, each side wanted to show who ruled the valley. It was a great showcase and thank you to the Star and Tribune for putting this together. I hope this is a tradition that will continue.

    By the way, what happened to Schraer and Siko?

  • Great Night

    Tremendous Talent and Class all throughout. Monrovia’s new gym was beautiful and all involved made the event a success. From the organizers, the coaches and the athletes.

    There is a great deal of talent that is coming up the ranks for volleyball but I want to say what a priviledge it was watching so many of these players grow up in front of us. They have graced the covers of the SGV time and time again and on their own terms of success.

    It was a wonderful sight to see the SGV team coming together, having a fun time and showing us why they are the best.

    I wish all the seniors the very best in the future and you can see why so many are all Division I committed. Very talented group of young women and were shining representatives of their schools.

  • Thankful Fan

    I was awed by the athleticism and speed of the East players. My only regret was that USC bound Hannah S. did not participate. There were no private school kids on the West Team so while I am a big believer in scoreboard,
    this game might have been even more exciting. Congratulations as all were winners and thanks to Coach Teng for making this happen.