By Nikash Nath
For The Signal
Foothill League boys volleyball coaches recently announced their picks for the All-Foothill League teams, as well as Player of the Year, with West Ranch (11-1) unsurprisingly leading the pack.
The Wildcats finished atop the Foothill League standings with an undefeated regular-season record (10-0), led by the Foothill League Player of the Year Luke Haskett and a pair of first-team all-leaguers, Kyle Jurkowski and A.J Lane.
West Ranch head coach Brandon Johnson said Haskett led the team in a number of ways.
“He was the best setter in the league and one of the best servers and defenders, as well,” Johnson said of the consensus pick for Player of the Year.
While Haskett’s stats from this season didn’t lead in every category, his contributions rose beyond numbers and showed in his overall leadership and “grit,” Johnson said.
Haskett was “a true leader on and off the court,” Johnson said, adding that’s why Haskett was named an All-CIF Division 2 selection, also.
Haskett’s presence was a factor in West Ranch’s run to the quarterfinals of the playoffs, too.
Jurkowski, a senior for West Ranch, was also a stabilizing force on the Wildcats.
“He established himself as the most dominant presence in the Foothill League, attacking and blocking,” Johnson said. “He led the Wildcats in kills by a wide margin while also leading the team in blocks.”
Lane also made first team all-league, serving as a defensive anchor for the Wildcats.
“He was a steadying force on the defensive side of the ball, passing and defense, and also put constant pressure on the opposing side with his tough serving,” Johnson said.
Junior Ian Duncan and senior Jonas Moore represented Hart on the first team.
From Valencia, seniors Ethan Lin and Zac Puno represented the Vikings as first-team All-Foothill League selections. Senior Daniel Compton rounds out the first team as he was the lone Centurion representing Saugus on the first team.
This was West Ranch’s fifth time in the past six seasons finishing league play undefeated — with last season cut short due to COVID-19.
This season, the Wildcats were ranked 73rd in the state and 209th in the nation.
Hart (6-4) and Valencia (7-5-1) also finished with seasons good enough to qualify for the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
After receiving a first-round bye, the Wildcats were able to defeat San Juan Hills, 3-2. West Ranch then faced Santa Barbara in the quarterfinals of the tournament, getting swept in three sets.
Valencia won its first-round matchup, beating Peninsula in the first round. The Vikings’ season came to an end when they lost to Burroughs in the next round. The Indians ended up getting eliminated by San Marcos High in their first-round contest.