Girls Volleyball: All-City Team City Player of the Year and St. Ignatius senior Claire Healy (center) and first-team All-City selections (clockwise from top left) Courtney Sabahi (Mercy), Michellie McDonald-O'Brien (St. Ignatius), Katherine Evers (University) and Courtney Wong (Sacred Heart Cathedral). (Photos by Eric Luis and Doug Ko, Illustration by Josh Jalil)

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 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. City Player of the Year
Claire Healy, senior outside hitter, St. Ignatius

Coach of the Year
Val Cubales, Balboa

First Team
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

Second Team
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

Honorable Mention
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

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  1. Kezar for Keeps says:

    I have a question. I read the Examiner today and it said their editors made the picks with you in print, while there is nothing on here about the Examiner. Did the Examiner do this with you or not?

  2. Anonymous says:

    When are football all city teams coming out? Im hoping the boys from SH get some recognition

  3. what? says:

    “The rest of the first team is littered”
    weird word choice..

  4. Anonymous says:

    How are these teams picked? I somewhat disagree with some of these picks.

  5. Anonymous says:

    When are you doing the all city team for football?

  6. Bear Backer says:

    I know you got the Mission boys on there, rite JB?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Do you put up the individual leagues too?

    And congrats to Coach Cubales, he deserves it!

  8. Anonymous says:

    i think its messed up that no AAA member was put on the first time. all the hitters deserve to be there but i have to say the two liberos from lowell or bal deserved that spot. i feel like you count them out just because they’re in a crappy league. the lowell libero plays club and is actually better then amanda(probably because of age)! they’re both better than the mercy libero as well! just because they’re in a crappy league doesnt mean you should count them out…

    • anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Completely agree with this. Bal’s libero won mvp of AAA, I think the first libero to ever win? And lowell’s libero is very good as well. Having two liberos on first team for AAA must mean something about those two. Not sure if the two on first team and second here are much better then the AAA liberos.

      • Anonymous says:

        you do know winning theresa lee isnt being mvp. its sportsmanship award .. people have changed the meaning of the original award.. just saying

    • Ari Gold says:

      waaaaaaaaaaah waaaaaaaaaaah cry me a river! get over it. remember this is JB’s opinion. these athletes arent getting any plaques or trophies from JB.

      • Kezar for Keeps says:

        For once, I agree with you Ari. I don’t really follow volleyball, but I would be willing to bet that all of these comments are coming from the same person and that person is one of the players who thinks they are better than what jbalan picked them as. You may not be as good as you think. Get over it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    actually no its not the two players saying this. im a college player and i dont even play high school so no they arent saying they’re better. its stupid how he doesnt honestly even know volleyball. last year they didnt even keep track of the defense. give someone else this job who knows real volleyball. and its annoying how all you WCAL kids think you’re good. with the exception of claire, michellie, and courtney wong. you guys think you’re so good just cause you go to a private school. GET OVER YOURSELF. come see me when you actually play in college

  10. Anonymous says:

    How do you chose the all city teams/honorable mentions? do you look at stats or is it based on the players accomplishments in their league or coach’s nominations or what??

    • jbalan says:

      Primarily through my own observations, but All-League teams, the strength of the leagues, consideration from coaches and stats are also taken into account.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for your coverage of HS girls volleyball over the past few years. It has been very appreciated. You make an impact with recruiting that is very positive and helpful for the players. Keep up the good work!

  12. GLB says:

    Agree, your coverage of vollleyball is extremely helpful in recruitment of these girls. It puts theirname on the radar of alot of college coaches. Thanks much, G

  13. lulu says:

    is there a meaning to the order of the honorable mentions?

  14. wondering says:

    when do other all city teams come out? soccer, basketball?

    • jbalan says:

      There will be no soccer team. The basketball All-City teams will come out after the last basketball team is eliminated, probably a week or two after.

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