There's something about winning the Prep League Most Valuable Player award that is extra special to Pasadena Poly senior Alexis Genske.
As the league's first and second teams were announced recently, and included picks from Flintridge Prep, Mayfield, Poly and Westridge, it was a familiarity with her opponents that left Genske humbled.
"This award might mean more to me than the others," Genske said. "I know these teams and these girls and to be selected MVP from this group is special."
On Monday, Genske was named the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA Player of the Year, another award for which she showed gratitude, but explained her different reaction.
"There are a lot of teams in the division that I've never heard of or really don't even know where they're from. So, it's being recognized by people that might not know you," Genske said. "This is different because we all know each other."
Genske averaged 15.7 kills per match through 23 matches this year in which she also tallied 62 blocks and 36 aces.
Genske led the Panthers (24-4) to the program's second straight divisional title match, one they dropped to league archrival Chadwick, 3-1. Poly did, however, post a win in the CIF State Division III playoffs while finishing second in the Prep League.
Panthers' setter Michelle Miller also received a first-team nod as the Princeton-bound senior averaged 29 assists per match along with 60 kills, 54 blocks and 16 aces.
"This was really a special team," Miller said, "and the girls all played hard for each other."
Mayfield (20-11), the Prep League's third-place team, earned two first-place picks in junior outside hitter Josie Luck and junior setter Madeline Watkins.
Luck was clutch after teammate Maggie Dunn missed the rest of the regular season after injuring her foot on Sept. 13.
Luck averaged 2.7 kills and 3.6 digs per game in propelling the Cubs to two playoff victories in the Division III-AA playoffs and a quarterfinals berth.
Luck was, of course, aided by Watkins, who averaged 5.3 assists and 1.5 digs per game.
"If you look at both these players and the majority of this team, we're returning a lot of girls next year," Cubs Coach Megan Rush said. "That's what's most exciting."
Westridge's Carmen Costa was the final local Prep League first-teamer as the 6-foot-1 middle blocker thrived.
Costa finished first in league in kill percentage (53 %) and second in kills per game (4.2).
Costa also totaled 35 blocks.
Poly boasted two second-teamers in sophomore libero Hannah Kaufman (15.3 digs per match) and senior outside hitter Mimi Morrish (7.6 kills per match and 64 aces).
Mayfield also picked up two second-team selections in senior defensive specialist Alex Arnett (3.4 digs per game) and sophomore outside hitter Lauren Baxter (2.3 kills and 2.1 digs per game).
Flintridge Prep's representation came on the second team as senior opposite Julia Miller (3.9 assists, 2.5 kills and 1.8 digs per game) and senior outside hitter Kate Woolley (3.3 kills and 3.3 digs per game) were recognized.