By Jeremy Balan
Sacred Heart Cathedral may have had the best girls volleyball season in the City this year, but no player meant as much to her team as St. Ignatius outside hitter Claire Healy.
The senior, headed to Division I Bucknell University next season, was not only the Wildcats’ best hitter, but was also their most consistent defensive player.
She also carried St. Ignatius with standout performances throughout the Central Coast Section Division III tournament and was the lone Wildcat in the elite company of the All-West Catholic Athletic League first team.
That’s why she’s the SanFranPreps.com City Player of the Year.
“We had our award ceremony last week and she got our ‘Fighting Spirit Award,’” said St. Ignatius head coach Michelle Rybka. “That award is indicative of her as a player. She’s a hard worker, but on top of that, she inspires the rest of her team to play with her passion. It’s no surprise she is in the same category as the other elite WCAL hitters.”
The rival Irish are well-represented on our All-City team, though, with junior outside hitter Courtney Wong and junior libero Amanda Lee on the first team, freshman middle blocker Madison Murtagh and junior outside hitter Sarah Jones on the second team, and senior middle blocker Daniella Crismani earning honorable mention.
The rest of the first team is littered with deadly hitters, including Bay Counties League West MVP Katherine Evers from University, first-team All-West Bay Athletic League selection Courtney Sabahi from Mercy and maybe the City’s best pure hitter in St. Ignatius middle blocker Michellie McDonald-O’Brien.
Convent setter Emily O’Reilly rounds out a dynamic first team, as the senior is not only a standout setter, but was also dangerous as a hitter and in the service game for the Cubs.
The private schools dominate the first and second teams, but Balboa junior outside hitter Cynthia Ngan (also a first-team All-Academic Athletic Association pick), who played such a key role in the Buccaneers’ historical season, is the AAA’s lone second-team selection.
The All-City team is senior-heavy, but the presence of 15 underclassmen should bode well for San Francisco teams in the next few years.
The most notable young face is Murtagh, a towering net presence that is not only a force on the Irish attack, but also dominant on the block. Ngan and the Bucs will also figure to be formidable again, with the return of first-team All-AAA sophomore setter Maribel Matos (honorable mention).
The AAA champion Buccaneers have also received recognition for their head coach and athletic director Val Cubales, who led Balboa to its first league title and first state tournament win in school history.
SanFranPreps.com City Player of the Year
Claire Healy, senior outside hitter, St. Ignatius
Coach of the Year
Val Cubales, Balboa
Katherine Evers, senior outside hitter, University
Amanda Lee, junior libero, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Michellie McDonald-O’Brien, senior middle blocker, St. Ignatius
Emily O’Reilly, senior setter, Convent
Courtney Sabahi, senior outside hitter, Mercy
Courtney Wong, junior outside hitter, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Antonia Alegria, junior libero, Mercy
Sarah Jones, junior outside hitter, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Maria Kemiji-McDonald, senior outside hitter, St. Ignatius
Emily Lee, senior setter, University
Madison Murtagh, freshman middle blocker, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Cynthia Ngan, junior outside hitter, Balboa
Cathy Cai, senior middle blocker, Lincoln
Karina Berry, senior middle blocker, Waldorf
Daniella Crismani, senior middle blocker, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Kassi Encinas, sophomore setter, International
Sofia Fors, junior outside hitter, International
Monica Garrett, senior outside hitter, Mercy
Florencia Hasson, senior middle blocker, Jewish Community
Vivian Lei, senior libero, Lowell
Maribel Matos, sophomore setter, Balboa
Ada May, junior middle blocker, Mercy
Chelan McGinty, senior outside hitter, Lowell
Bayley McMillan, senior middle blocker, Bay
Shayna Prochovnick, senior libero, Balboa
Iris Qasevakatini, junior outside hitter, Drew
Pauline Ryan, senior libero, University
Briana Silvestre, sophomore middle blocker, Leadership
Jade Sparks, sophomore outside hitter, Lick-Wilmerding
Lauren Tom, senior setter, Mercy
Lagitau Vae, senior outside hitter, Burton
Leah Wesolek, senior middle blocker, St. Ignatius
Sara Wojciechowski, junior outside hitter, University
Kara Wong, senior setter, Lincoln
Zoe Wong, sophomore setter, St. Ignatius