By Jeremy Balan
So much of St. Ignatius’ success in its breakout season was due to the team’s versatility and multiple offensive weapons, but on the biggest stages, when they needed a point, the Wildcats went to senior Mat Collins.
With a team-high 240 kills this season, Collins played his best volleyball late in the year, including a season-high 19 kills against Bellarmine in the West Catholic Athletic League championship game, giving St. Ignatius its first league title in school history.
That’s why he was chosen as the SanFranPreps.com boys volleyball Player of the Year.
“When you’re a senior, you have to understand the leadership that comes with it,” Collins said. “I can speak [for] myself and [teammate Joel Schow], make or miss, we want the ball in those spots, and our teammates trusted us.”
Schow was also a solid contender for Player of the Year, and earned a first-team All-City selection. Playing out of position for much of the year, the senior may have been the best all-around player for the Wildcats in their unlikely run to WCAL and Central Coast Section titles.
“Not a lot of people thought we would do it,” Collins said. “Winning the WCAL and CCS championships, it was great to prove them all wrong.”
While St. Ignatius holds the most All-City selections, the first team is rounded out by a pair of players from Sacred Heart Cathedral and Lincoln.
Although Lincoln came up short to Galileo in the Academic Athletic Association championship game, the Mustangs featured the most explosive duo in the league, in outside hitters Johnson Li and Philip Xie. Without a doubt the premier hitters in the AAA all season, neither was selected as AAA Player of the Year, but they may have split votes because they were on the same team.
Sacred Heart’s first-team All-City selections, Matthew Tinio and Alex Teranishi, were co-captians for the Irish and a solid combo in their own right. Tinio was Teranishi’s favorite target as Sacred Heart’s setter and pounded a team-high 358 kills this year.
The first team may be entirely composed of seniors, but the City is not bereft of talented underclassmen.
Headlining next year’s core of standouts are St. Ignatius junior setter Teddy Niemira and sophomore outside hitter Ian Colbert (both second team), and a quartet of Galileo underclassmen that will make the Lions the favorite to defend their first-ever AAA title in 2012.
With Bay and Urban being the only small-school volleyball programs in The City, they were not overlooked, especially Urban junior outside hitter Evan Chang (honorable mention). Chang did a little bit of everything for the Blues this year, and earned a first-team All-BCL East selection in the process.
SanFranPreps.com All-City Team
Player of the Year
Mat Collins, senior outside hitter, St. Ignatius
Johnson Li, senior outside hitter, Lincoln
Joel Schow, senior middle blocker, St. Ignatius
Alex Teranishi, senior setter, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Matthew Tinio, senior outside hitter, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Nate Woo, senior libero, St. Ignatius
Philip Xie, senior outside hitter, Lincoln
Ian Colbert, sophomore outside hitter, St. Ignatius
Hamidou Drammeh, senior middle blocker, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Norman Lai, senior libero, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Lincoln Lam, senior outside hitter, Lowell
Teddy Niemira, junior setter, St. Ignatius
Alan Tse, junior middle blocker, Galileo
Evan Chang, junior outside hitter, Urban
Nicholas Dailey, junior outside hitter, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Oliver Gan, junior outside hitter, Balboa
Alex Kinsella, senior middle blocker, Bay
Nathan Leung, senior libero, Washington
Jonathan Limu, freshman outside hitter, O’Connell
Nicholas Low, sophomore, setter, Galileo
David Peng, freshman outside hitter, Galileo
Jacky Peng, junior outside hitter, Galileo
Wyatt Rudnicki, junior outside hitter, St. Ignatius
Aaron Tan, senior setter, Lincoln
Jeffrey Wong, junior libero, Lowell
Tenny Zeng, junior outside hitter, Lowell
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