20 locals named to Orange County All-Star volleyball rosters
As their time in high school winds down, top senior volleyball players from around Orange County gathered Tuesday for one more chance to make memories and add a page to the scrapbook.
The 46th annual Dave Mohs Memorial All-Star volleyball matches took place at Newport Harbor High, area athletes well represented with 20 named between the boys’ and girls’ rosters.
South Orange County claimed victory in both matches, with Beckman setter Ryan Graves and San Juan Hills outside hitter Ashlyn Beebe garnering MVP honors.
Graves had nine assists, two kills, 1½ blocks and a service ace to lead the South to a 25-20, 25-22, 8-15 win in the boys’ match. He had three teammates, including twin brother and outside hitter Jack, libero Noah Lee and middle blocker Noah Huang to work with on the floor. The Beckman distributor found early rapport with other teammates, namely Aliso Niguel outside hitter Ty Carson (five kills, two blocks, one ace).
“It’s great,” Graves, a Pepperdine commit, said of closing out his prep career with his fellow All-Stars. “They make it easy. I got to bring more than just being a setter, setting up my teammates and stuff. It’s an honor to play with these guys. They make my job look easy.”
Corona del Mar middle blocker Cade Alacano supplied three kills and 1½ blocks for the victors.
Newport Harbor had outside hitters Jake Read and Luca Curci, setter Korbin Francisco and middle blocker Lukas Johnson on the South roster. Huntington Beach was represented by outside hitter Liam Phinizy and middle blocker Drew Bjork.
While his side took the loss, it was a night Edison middle blocker Emerson Evans said he will remember for a long time.
“I think it’s pretty special to be named with a lot of these guys,” said Evans, bound for New York University in the fall. “You listen to the colleges, it’s UCLA, [UC] Santa Barbara, Pepperdine, so I think it’s pretty cool to be playing in a situation where I’m playing with guys like that — Luca Curci and George Bruening — guys that are going to play for the Olympic team, especially in this gym which has so much volleyball history.”
The girls’ match opened the proceedings, with the South walking away with a 25-13, 25-19, 18-16 sweep of the three-set exhibition. Beebe, headed to Biola University, had five kills and five aces to lead the South.
“It’s amazing,” Beebe said of winning MVP. “I didn’t really expect it, but it’s such an honor to be chosen. My sister [Madison] actually got MVP when she played, and I’ve always wanted to be just like her, so it’s like another step towards that.”
Laguna Beach outside hitter Eva Travis had a strong night with eight kills, adding an ace and a block, and Villa Park middle blocker Sidney Shaffer was a key contributor with three kills and three blocks. Santa Margarita opposite Bridget O’Connor and Aliso Niguel outside hitter Madyson Smith each had five kills.
“I’m just very proud of myself for sticking through it, even after moving and everything, just having fun and doing what I do best,” said Travis, a Daily Pilot Girls’ Volleyball Dream Team first-team selection after transferring from Aliso Niguel for her senior season.
Libero Brooklyn Yelland joined Travis among the Breakers on the South roster.
The North roster had nine locals: setter Tegan Glenn (11 assists), outside hitters Anabel Kotzakov and Laine Briggs, and middle blocker Malia Thorne (three kills, one block) from Newport Harbor, setter Jordan Packer (four assists) and opposite Dominique Vadeboncoeur from Marina, Huntington Beach libero Tori Hagan, Edison libero Makenna Jackson and Corona del Mar setter and opposite Reese Olson (four assists).
The All-Star selections for both matches posed for a picture together in front of the net between the featured contests.
“I know a few of them,” Read said. “It definitely meant a lot. That’s a good group.”
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