BURBANK — Providence High senior boys' volleyball player Phil Harvey and his counterpart at Burroughs, Daniel Jacobs, used to be teammates while playing for a club team in the San Gabriel Valley.
The two even teamed up playing in the freshman program at Burroughs. But Harvey transferred to Providence after his first season and Jacobs stayed with the Indians.
Harvey and Jacobs enjoyed similar success this past season, leading their respective teams to league championships and earning individual accolades. Harvey, an outside hitter, returned to the Pioneers after taking his junior season off. He was able to make an impact in his return, pacing Providence to a Liberty League title.
For his efforts, Harvey was recognized as the Liberty League Player of the Year.
Joining Harvey in earning all-league accolades were sophomore middle DJ Cabrera, junior setter Brandon Reyes and sophomore opposite Taylor Saldana, who all earned first-team honors.
"It was great playing alongside Daniel," Harvey said of Jacobs. "He's a great player and I respect this ability."
Despite earning all-league accolades as a sophomore with the Pioneers, Harvey said years of playing volleyball left him burned out. As a result, he didn't play during his junior season.
Although he said it took him some time to get back into the swing this past season, he eventually was able to get back up to speed. After dealing with some early struggles, Harvey said earning league player of the year honors was far from his mind.
"I was just trying to play hard volleyball throughout the entire season," said Harvey, who plans to walk on at the University of the Pacific. "But with all the hard work, it's nice to get something like this at the end of the season and it's nice that others noticed my efforts."
Harvey was the Pioneers' go-to player throughout the season. They relied on him to lead the offensive attack and called upon him to neutralize the other team's best hitters at the net.
"Phil definitely led us in kills and attempts," Providence Coach Josh Eggleston said. "Unfortunately we didn't keep stats this season so I don't know exactly how many he had. But I would guesstimate that Phil averaged about 15 kills for us a [match]. He was definitely the player we went to."
When the Pioneers players found out that Harvey was returning to the program, Eggleston said they were ready to embrace him.
"Before the season, I picked a team captain and the team picked one, and they picked Phil," Eggleston said. "And that's before he even came out and played for us. They already had a great respect for his ability, his experience and his calming demeanor. He is just an unflappable player and his approach is always the same."
Behind Harvey, Providence (16-10) was able to claim its first league championship in 13 years, going 9-1. The Pioneers also won their CIF Southern Section Division V first-round match against California Academy of Math and Science, 25-6, 26-24, 23-25, 25-15. Harvey tallied 14 kills in the win.