Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball trio earns recognition

After missing the playoffs a season ago and then bringing in a new coach, the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball program found itself in transition.

Aiming to return to the postseason and impress coach Ernest Banaag, the Tologs struggled during parts of the first half of the season before clicking down the stretch. The Tologs won five of their final seven Mission League matches to qualify for the playoffs.

Leading the way for Flintridge Sacred Heart on the court in that stretch was the trio of Colleen Degnan, Katie Conley and Sophia Coffey.

Buoyed by the late charge, the body of work turned in by the trio played a role in them receiving All-Mission League accolades. Degnan was named to the first team, while Conley and Clark were selected to the second team.

“Those three did so many things on the court and they all got better each game,” said Banaag, whose team went 12-16, 6-4 in league before falling to host Valencia Valencia in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division I-A playoffs. “I felt coming in that those players could do a lot of things well.

“They were the type of players who battled and helped us get back to the playoffs.”

Degnan, a senior libero, earned the honor while also competing concurrently on the school’s cross-country team.

“It’s a nice touch being a senior,” Degnan said. “It’s always going to be in the back of your head to be recognized and honored by the coaches in our league.

“We didn’t know what to expect coming into the season with a new coach and learning a new system. We had that underdog attitude because nobody expected anything out of us. We seemed to get more confident with every match.”

Banaag said Conley, a junior outside hitter, and Coffey, a sophomore setter/outside hitter, provided the Tologs with extra dimensions.

“Katie went up against a lot of the top hitters in our league and I expect her to make even more noise next season,” said Banaag, who guided Mayfield to three CIF championships between 2008-10. “Sophia was one of our leaders and she handled it very well because she’s got very good characteristics.

“It will be big having them both back next year. I don’t think we will be in the position of surprising anybody next season.”

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