Having a team filled with plenty of senior leadership played a major role in the Holy Family volleyball team earning a split of the Horizon League championship.
It didn't surprise Holy Family Coach Robert Bringas that the Gaels would be well represented on the all-league team after they finished 14-9-3, 7-1 in league.
Holy Family had five players secure all-league honors, all seniors, as voted on by the league's five coaches.
"I'm happy with getting five all-leaguers," said Bringas, whose team shared the league title with Alverno after winning it outright in 2010. "It speaks volumes about what they were able to do and they played very well together.
"They all recognized it's their senior years and they realized they had to take it up another notch."
Three players were selected to the first team: outside hitter Ashlee Sandoval, libero Alicia Marquez and middle blocker Denise Patino. Named to the second team were setter Alexa Sandoval and outside hitter Shanelle Agito.
Ashlee Sandoval, a four-year varsity athlete who finished with 357 kills and 138 digs, said she was able to hone her skills and help the Gaels qualify for the playoffs.
"I only played a little during my freshman year, but it was then when I saw how the older players were able to inspire me," Sandoval said. "I knew that I had to be more aggressive and that helped me get better.
"I thought we worked well as a team this year. There was a lot of communication and that helped play a role in the team doing well."
Marquez collected a team-high 629 digs for the Gaels, who fell to host St. Anthony in a CIF Southern Section Division IV-A first-round match.
"Every team needs to have a great back-row passer," Bringas said. "Her digs were solid and she was an amazing player for us to have."
Patino registered 100 kills and 46 aces. Bringas said Patino's serving proved to be a boon for the Gaels.
"She took on the starting role in the middle and she was able to hold down the middle against some of the bigger teams we faced," Bringas said. "With her serving, she got some critical aces that swung games into our favor."
Agito and Alexa Sandoval supplied Holy Family with strong digging games. Agito and Sandoval finished with 261 and 158 digs, respectively.
Sandoval contributed 414 assists and Agito chipped in with 59 digs to provide the Gaels with more balance.
"Shanelle stepped it up, especially toward the end of the season," Bringas said. "She has a solid all-around game.
"Alexa was our main setter and she paid dividends for us. She was the heart and soul of the team by being able to do a lot of things on the court."