In what will likely be our last girls volleyball post for a while, we’ve selected the best of the best San Francisco high school girls volleyball players. Listed below the story are all of the first and second team selections, along with honorable mentions. Feel free to make your own selections and discuss ours in the comment section.
By Jeremy Balan
With Lincoln, St. Ignatius, Sacred Heart Cathedral and University all advancing to the CIF state tournament, it was clear that some of the best girls volleyball was played in San Francisco this season.
With the success of the teams, comes a stable of talented individuals certainly worth honoring with our All-City Team.
While the list is senior-laden, it’s the presence of several juniors and other underclassmen that ensures productive teams in the future.
The most dangerous team next season should be St. Ignatius again, which won its first CIF-Central Coast Section title this season with juniors Michellie McDonald-O’Brien (first team), Claire Healy (honorable mention) and Maria Kemiji-McDonald (honorable mention).
Mercy of San Francisco could also be a threat in CCS and beyond next year, with junior outside hitter Courtney Sabahi and junior setter Lauren Tom returning.
The same can be said for University in the CIF-North Coast Section. Juniors Katherine Evers (first team), Pauline Ryan (second team) and Emily Lee (honorable mention), could be leading a Red Devils squad that some consider to be the Bay Counties League West favorite next year.
Even though the future appears to be bright for City teams, it was several seniors who often took control of games that highlight most of the list.
In many instances, senior hitters like Kelly Ostello (first team, Sacred Heart Cathedral), Jessica Nicerio (second team, Washington), Emily Townsend (first team, Drew), Clara Cardillo (second team, Bay) and Isabel Kuhel (second team, Waldorf) took over games, often leading inexperienced teams to key victories.
While those hitters frequently displayed awe-inspiring attacks that rang through local gyms, first-team setter Christina Lee from St. Ignatius had just as much, if not more impact on any match, directing a balanced and lethal Wildcats attack.
Sacred Heart coach Margi Beima may have said it best after St. Ignatius’ third win over the Irish in the CCS Division III title game.
“She’s just a stud,” Beima said.
Just like football’s Coach of the Year in Mission’s Joe Albano, our selection of St. Ignatius’ Lisa Becerra for Coach of the Year is a rather obvious one.
Leading the Wildcats to their first CCS title was the main factor, with the icing on the cake being a 3-0 record against cross-town rival and defending state finalist Sacred Heart Cathedral in the process.
Sure, the talent was there for Becerra, and the Wildcats figure to be a force in Division III again next season, but taking a team to new heights in only her second year at the helm of the program put her over the top.
Coach of the Year
Lisa Becerra, St. Ignatius
SanFranPreps.com First Team All-City
Katherine Evers, junior outside hitter, University
Christina Lee, senior setter, St. Ignatius
Elizabeth Leighton, senior libero, Convent
Michellie McDonald-O’Brien, junior middle blocker, St. Ignatius
Kelly Ostello, senior outside hitter, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Emily Townsend, senior middle blocker, Drew
SanFranPreps.com Second Team All-City
Clara Cardillo, senior middle blocker, Bay
Isabel Kuhel, senior middle blocker, Waldorf
Jessica Nicerio, senior outside hitter, Washington
Pauline Ryan, junior libero, University
Courtney Sabahi, junior outside hitter, Mercy
Lauren Tom, junior setter, Mercy
SanFranPreps.com Honorable Mention
Cathy Cai, senior middle blocker, Lincoln
Anastasia Danich, senior libero, International
Jody Fu, senior outside hitter, Lick-Wilmerding
Claire Healy, junior outside hitter, St. Ignatius
Maria Kemiji-McDonald, junior outside hitter, St. Ignatius
Katie Kirkland, senior middle blocker, University
Emily Lee, junior setter, University
Sophin Ngoun, senior outside hitter, Balboa
Precious Sagaiga, senior outside hitter, Burton
Maritza Sazo, senior middle blocker, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Jacqueline Shim, junior outside hitter, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Briana Silvestre, freshman setter, Leadership
Kelly Sung, senior outside hitter, Lincoln
Stephanie Willemsen, senior outside hitter, Lick-Wilmerding
Kara Wong, junior setter, Lincoln
Ivy Yu, senior setter, Balboa