West Ranch’s Tyson Drake named Player of the Year

West Ranch's Tyson Drake (22) sets the ball up for a teammate during a volleyball game at Hart on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
West Ranch boys volleyball’s Tyson Drake has been playing organized volleyball since the eighth grade and throughout his tenure with the sport, one aspect has managed to capture his heart: “I feel like it’s kind of like a team … but there’s a lot of individual aspects to it, to boosting your team and stuff,” the recent grad said. “I feel like it’s just more laid back than other sports. Volleyball is still high-paced. It’s a lot more laid back and there’s more room to just relax I guess while you’re playing.” Drake has mastered the juxtaposition that comes along with the game of volleyball to earn himself the Foothill League boys volleyball Player of the Year award. The setter capped his Wildcat career with a senior campaign that included a team-high 723 assists. He ranked second on the team in terms of digs with 162 – just short of his brother, Zack, who totaled 169 digs. Drake embraced the opportunity to play with his brother and the competition that came with it. “To finish out my last year playing with him was super cool,” he said. “I knew I had someone to rely on and we’d talk to each other on and off the court and try to figure stuff out and try to game plan always.” Heading into the season with a new coach and a handful of new players, Drake was unsure of what to expect. All he knew was that he wanted another Foothill League title. “I was just trying to set up the team up as best as I could,” he said. “I feel like I did a pretty good job doing what all my hitters wanted and best to feed them and get them going.” Drake’s goal was met as the Cats captured their third consecutive league title and an undefeated 10-0 league record before falling in the first round of playoffs to Beckman of Irvine. Five other West Ranch players joined Drake on the all-league lists: Griffin Peters and Andrew Benser on First Team; Justin Woodard and Zack Soule on Second Team and Zack Drake on Honorable Mention. “We definitely had a great team with a lot of great players,” Drake said. “We were a very strong team and we played very well together. We just had an unfortunate end to the season. Other than that we had a great team, great group of guys.”  

First Team

Griffin Peters, senior, West Ranch Andrew Benser, senior, West Ranch Aaron Erskin, senior, Valencia Cameron Graves, senior, Valencia Wyatt Bates, senior, Hart Dylan Lange, senior, Hart Luke Leonard, senior, Saugus  

Second Team

Justin Woodard, senior, West Ranch Zack Soule, senior, West Ranch Connor Ruffner, senior, Valencia David Chun, senior, Valencia Kevin Clauss, senior, Hart Gage Smith, senior, Saugus Dustin Deisbeck, senior, Canyon  

Honorable Mention

Esquivel Ramirez III, senior, Canyon Oscar Talanera-Castanoli, senior, Golden Valley Gavin Leising, sophomore, Hart Dylan Spring, senior, Saugus Dorian Ellis, junior, Valencia Zack Drake, sophomore, West Ranch

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About the author

Haley Sawyer

Haley Sawyer

A Pennsylvania native, Haley Sawyer has covered sports across the country. She is a graduate of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh and is the sports editor at The Signal.