Allison Jacobs’ leadership role on the West Ranch volleyball team wasn’t cut and dried this season. But according to her, there was one duty that she had that stood out above the rest.
“I was a go-to in crunch time, which is an honor,” she said.
Whenever the Wildcats needed an extra boost of energy or needed a game-winning kill, Jacobs was at the ready to accomplish it herself or coach up a teammate to seize the moment.
Her ability to rise to the occasion has helped earn her this year’s All-SCV Girls Volleyball Player of the Year Award.
“I’ve been working on that for so long, specifically since I started playing club ball in general, especially in high school,” she said of her leadership development. “You have to lead based on every player on the team, so it’s learning the ins and outs of what my teammates can take from me.”
In addition to mastering the intangibles, Jacobs led in almost every statistical category for the Cats in her senior season. She topped the team in kills with 381 and digs with 169. She was second in blocks with 21, an area of her game she actively worked to improve this season.
“It’s a critical part that not a lot of people know how to do,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs, a UCLA signee, estimates she dedicated 10 hours each week to volleyball between high school practices, club practices and individual lessons.
Her work has paid off in individual stats and in the final league standings. West Ranch tied with Hart for the Foothill League title and reached the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.
Even after spending so much time on the sport, Jacobs says volleyball hasn’t once gotten boring.
“If you would’ve told me I still loved the sport so much years ago, I don’t know if I would’ve believed it,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been bored. I still call my parents after practices that are great and I’m like this sport is amazing. It’s still finding an excitement of the competitive atmosphere.”
Whether it’s after a practice or in “crunch time” during a game, Jacobs’ leadership and competitive nature were always All-SCV worthy.
Ruby Duncan, senior, Hart
Duncan overcame some confidence issues as an underclassman and the result has been a senior season in which she took her own game to new heights. She was efficient from the service line, leading the Indians with 36 aces and she was second on the team in terms of kills with 198. Duncan will continue her volleyball career in college at The Master’s University.
Erin Eskoff, junior, West Ranch
A level-headed player on the court, Eskoff had 521 assists as she set up some of the league’s best hitters on a nightly basis. She finished the season second on the team with 150 digs and was third on the team with 94 kills. She also had a team-high 33 aces.
Aly Grodell, senior, Valencia
Grodell developed confidence this season as one of the Vikings’ strongest outside hitters and was named a captain as a result.
Jackie Ibarra, senior, Saugus
In her final year with the Centurions, Ibarra paced the team in kills with 252 and was second in aces with 47 and in digs with 184. Ibarra was a captain on a Saugus team that finished fourth in the Foothill League standings this season.
Megan Soto, senior, Hart
Soto and teammate Ruby Duncan were neck-in-neck statistically this season. Soto led the team in kills with 200 and was second on the team in aces with 35. She was quick wherever she was on the court and had great decision-making abilities.
Kaelyn White, senior, Valencia
A captain this season for the Vikings, White was a solid setter throughout a season that included a coaching change midway through. Although she spent plenty of time setting up her teammates, she also could be counted on for a clutch kill when it mattered.
Jaela Bernard, senior, Valencia
At 6-foot-1, Bernard was an imposing presence on the court for the Vikings. At middle blocker, she was key defensively and could also hammer home a kill as Valencia earned third place in the Foothill League standings this season.
Lina Elsee, senior, Hart
The libero and defensive specialist ranked first on the team with 348 digs. Elsee was a fast and determined player who went after every ball in her third year as a varsity player.
Gwen Garate, senior, West Ranch
Bringing a competitive spirit for every game, Garate had her best campaign to date with 80 kills. She served up 22 aces and added 119 digs and 134 assists.
Kaitlyn Jizmejian, sophomore, West Ranch
Jizmejian was one of the best underclassman performers for the Wildcats. She ranked third on the team with 148 digs and was also third in aces with 27.
Jordan Nunez, senior, Golden Valley
Nunez was always aggressive at the net, leading the Grizzlies in kills on a nightly basis. Coach Joshua Cho, who took over midway through the season, said “what she did for the GV girl’s volleyball program as a mentor and role model for the other girls was what made her our Most Valuable Player and our Most Valuable Person.”
Lauryn Thompson, junior, Saugus
Thompson made a strong impression in her first year on varsity. She was first on the team in blocks with 74 and third on the team in kills with 137.
Canyon — Ariana Vargas, senior
Golden Valley — Saliyah Ravare, junior
Hart — Grace Eck, senior
Saugus — Milani Lee, freshman
Valencia — Macy Kirkwood, senior
West Ranch — Olivia Hoffman, senior
SCCS — Vanessa Gracia, senior
Trinity — Paige Kim, senior