There are many sports experiences 17-year-old girls’ volleyball standout Allison Jacobs of West Ranch has enjoyed growing up in the Santa Clarita Valley. All pale in comparison to representing the United States last year during an international competition in Honduras.
“It’s really a surreal experience,” she said. “I can’t even describe it. Literally nobody else gets to do it. During the national anthem before the first game, I’m saying, ‘Holy cow, I’m really doing this. This isn’t club ball. This is for America.’ ”
Jacobs, who has committed to UCLA, is leaving next month in the middle of the school year to play for the USA Youth National team in the 2019 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championships in Cairo. She’s a 5-foot-11 senior outside hitter with tremendous passing skills and the ability to finish at the net. Her enthusiasm to compete rubs off on teammates. Her days as a soccer player prepared her for the transition to volleyball.
“Soccer was my favorite sport, all-time,” she said.
She dropped soccer after her freshman year because her volleyball potential was coming through each time she stepped onto the court in club matches.
“At first, I was successful because of coordination, but it only gets you so far,” said Jacobs, who began playing volleyball in fifth grade. “Once I got into club, I started developing technique and everything clicked.”
Former Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda always tells people he “bleeds Dodger blue.” In similar fashion, the Jacobs family “bleeds UCLA blue and gold.”
Allison’s father, Brian, was an All-American offensive lineman at Newhall Hart before going to UCLA in 1988. Her mother, Tricia, played softball, basketball and volleyball in high school in Sacramento and is the sister of former UCLA pitcher Dave Zancanaro, a 1990 first-round draft pick of the Oakland Athletics. Mom and dad met at UCLA when they were living in the same apartment building and have been married for 23 years.
Allison’s sister, Katie, who was a volleyball standout at West Ranch, played for UCLA in 2017 as a freshman and is now focusing on academics. Allison will be playing for UCLA next year. And there’s a third Jacobs sibling, Jack, who’s a 6-foot-5 freshman quarterback at La Canada St. Francis.
“I told him, ‘Dude, you better go to UCLA,’ ” Allison said. “He can go anywhere else, but I want him to finish out the Bruin line.”
Allison has never received a grade other than A on her report card. All the children are A students and have been sports fanatics from birth.
“There’s always a ball bouncing in my house,” Brian said.
In the family garage, Brian posts signs for the kids to read and remember.
“I CAN OUTWORK ANYONE. School. Sports. Life.”
“THE PAIN OF DISCIPLINE versus THE PAIN OF REGRET.”
“UCLA BRUINS PARKING ONLY.”
“It’s funny looking back on my pictures,” Allison said. “Almost every picture, I’m in our cul-de-sac riding a bike or playing some sport. We always went to UCLA football games and tailgated. My mom coached me in AYSO. It was chaotic but worth it.”
Jacobs should be among the top volleyball players in Southern California this season. The other Southland player joining her in Egypt on the USA team is Kami Miner, a junior at Redondo. Santa Ana Mater Dei projects as the No. 1 girls’ team, led by setter Mia Tuaniga, who has committed to Long Beach State. Los Angeles Marymount and Redondo figure to challenge the Monarchs.
Jacobs intends to keep enjoying the family sports experiences, though there’s one she has yet to accept — catching a pass from brother Jack.
“Oh, no,” she said. “Thank goodness. I hear he throws it so hard.”