It didn’t even cross Anders Johnson’s mind that he might be in line to own or share the top league honor in the Pacific League.
Johnson had his undivided attention set on helping the Crescenta Valley High boys’ volleyball team contend for the league championship and qualify for the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs.
Things became a bit clearer for Johnson during the middle of the season, when one of his teammates suggested Johnson could reel in the league’s player of the year accolade.
With his confidence growing, Johnson answered the bell, as he finished with 262 kills and 94 blocks to share the league’s top honor with Burroughs’ Connor Ludlum.
Crescenta Valley finished 21-6, 8-2 in league for second place behind Burroughs. The Falcons won at least 20 matches for the fourth time since the program’s inception in 1990 and reached the second round of the postseason.
“It really wasn’t on my radar to get co-player of the year,” said Johnson, a senior middle blocker. “One of my teammates brought it up before a practice or game one day and then you start thinking about it a little more.
“It means a lot to share it and it’s a very big honor. I worked hard to improve my game and help out my teammates. We had such a great season.”
Veteran Crescenta Valley coach John Nelson, who started the program, said Johnson proved to be a legitimate threat at a demanding position the last three seasons.
“I really thought you could put Anders anywhere out there and he could do the job,” Nelson said. “With him at middle blocker, he knew how to thrive and come up big.
“He’s an outstanding player. He did so much and the coaches in the league agreed with that.”
A group of players from Crescenta Valley, Glendale and Hoover were also recognized by the league.
Jonathan Lee and Ben Allen of Crescenta Valley were named to the first team.
Lee, a senior outside hitter, contributed 211 kills, 52 digs, 35 aces and 19 blocks.
“He hit, passed, served and blocked so well,” Nelson said. “He’s the one guy we hardly took off the court because he kept the ship on course.”
Allen, a senior opposite hitter, finished with 192 kills and 49 blocks.
“Ben was a ferocious blocker,” Nelson said. “He got a fair amount of kills, but he had that great ability to go up and block a shot and put the ball away.”
Eugene Shin and Jordan Nelson of Crescenta Valley and Glendale’s Christian Maylad earned second-team selections.
Shin, a senior setter, collected 600 assists.
Nelson, a junior libero, finished with 95 digs.
Maylad had a team-leading 167 digs as a junior libero for the Nitros (7-14-1, 2-8 for fifth place).
Crescenta Valley senior opposite Spencer Lunt (51 blocks), Glendale sophomore outside hitter William Phan (188 kills and 106 digs) and senior outside hitter John Pfeifer of Hoover (0-10 overall and in league for sixth place) received honorable mention.