No surprise that Santa Fe Christian’s Lexi Sun tops our first dive into all-state teams for girls volleyball in several years. We also have a State Coach of the Year, first team all-state, second team all-state and have updated our Ms. Volleyball State Player of the Year list so it now shows an honoree from 1975 until 2016.
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With national player of the year honors already in from several sources, senior Lexi Sun from Santa Fe Christian of Solana Beach is what you’d call one of those no-brainer selections as the 2016 Ms. Volleyball State Player of the Year.
Sun was recently the top player at the Under Armour All-American game and led Santa Fe Christian to an historic run in the postseason. With their All-American leading the way, the Eagles won their first-ever CIF San Diego Section Open Division title, then went into the CIF Open Division state playoffs. Sun’s team defeated Mater Dei of Santa Ana, a team that at one point this season was ranked No. 1 in the nation, in the Southern California regional semifinals before losing to Santa Margarita of Rancho SM in the SoCal final.
A recruit for the University of Texas, Sun took last year off from high school volleyball due to her extensive USA Junior National Team commitments plus additional international competition. During the recent high school season, Sun had 630 kills while hitting .431 to go along with 288 digs, 60 blocks and 45 aces.
Between her sophomore and senior season with the Eagles, Lexi played for the USA Volleyball Under-18 national team during 2015 and was the team’s leading attacker at the World Championships in Peru before playing for USA Volleyball Women’s Junior National Team during the summer of 2016.
Sun also now goes onto an all-time list of state players of the year that dates back to 1975. She is just the fourth all-time winner from the CIF San Diego Section with the other four being Reily Buechler of Torrey Pines (2012), Jennifer Saleaumua of Bonita Vista (2000) and Alisa Eischen of Marian Catholic (1982). Most winners prior to 1990 were chosen for published Cal-Hi Sports state record books by the late Nelson Tennis. After 1990, there was a period of approximately 10 years in which Cal-Hi Sports named a player of the year for its weekly published newsletters. There also were years prior to 2008 in which Cal-Hi Sports selected players of the year for Student Sports Magazine and StudentSports.com. After four years from 2008-2012 when Cal-Hi Sports was part of ESPN, the state players of the year mirrored work done on the ESPN RISE All-American teams. This is the first year since ESPN discontinued its high school division in 2012 that Cal-Hi Sports has selected a player of the year. All previous player of the year listings have been made retroactively based on research.
CAL-HI SPORTS MS. VOLLEYBALL
STATE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2016 — Lexi Sun (Santa Fe Christian, Solana Beach) Sr.
2015 — Noreen Iosia (Redondo, Redondo Beach) Sr.
2014 — Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani (Redondo, Redondo Beach) Sr.
2013 — Taylor Nelson (Granite Bay) Sr.
2012 — Reily Buechler (Torrey Pines, San Diego) Sr.
2011 — Emily Sklar (Presentation, San Jose) Sr.
2010 — Krista Vansant (Redlands East Valley, Redlands) Sr.
2009 — Rachel Williams (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Sr.
2008 — Rachel Williams (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Jr.
2007 — Falyn Fonoimoana (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach) Soph.
2006 — Alix Klineman (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach) Sr.
2005 — Taylor Carico (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach) Sr.
2004 — Cynthia Barboza (Wilson, Long Beach) Sr.
2003 — Stecha Selsky (Marymount, Los Angeles) Sr.
2002 — Jessica Gysin (St. Francis, Mountain View) Sr.
2001 — Lindsey Sherburne (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Sr.
2000 — Jennifer Saleaumua (Bonita Vista, Chula Vista) Sr.
1999 — April Ross (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) Sr.
1998 — Jennifer Carey (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) Sr.
1997 — Nikki Hartley (St. Francis, Mountain View) Sr.
1996 — Janae Henry (Centennial, Bakersfield) Sr.
1995 — Kerri Walsh (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Sr.
1994 — Misty May (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) Sr.
1993 — Misty May (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) Jr.
1992 — Tanisha Larkin (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) Sr.
1991 — Zrinka Kristich (La Habra) Sr.
1990 — Missy Clements (La Habra) Sr.
1989 — Piper Hahn (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach) Sr.
1988 — Bev Oden (Irvine) Sr.
1987 — Jenny Evans (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) Sr.
1986 — Keba Phipps (Artesia, Lakewood) Sr.
1985 — Tara Cross (Southern California Christian, Anaheim) Sr.
1984 — Elaina Oden (Irvine) Sr.
1983 — Wendy Rush (Rim of the World, Lake Arrowhead) Sr.
1982 — Alisa Eischen (Marian Catholic, San Diego) Sr.
1981 — Kim Oden (Irvine) Sr.
1980 — Linda Vaughn (Fremont, Sunnyvale) Sr.
1979 — Necie Thompson (Gahr, Cerritos) Sr.
1978 — Cheryl Jo Johnson (Corona del Mar, Newport Beach) Sr.
1977 — Mary Motah (Santa Fe, Santa Fe Springs) Sr.
1976 — Chris Anderson (Laguna Beach) Sr.
1975 — Denise Corlett (Marlborough, Los Angeles) Sr.
2016 STATE COACH OF THE YEAR
Kristen Pontes-Christian (Pitman, Turlock)
We’ve written up Archbishop Mitty’s Bret Almazan-Cezar for coaching honors (both national and state) several times in the past so it was simply decided this time to search for a different worthy candidate. We settled on Pontes-Christian, who has been at Pitman for 10 years and this season directed the Pride to their third consecutive CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title. Pontes-Christian’s best team was the one she had in 2014 that went 44-2 and lost to Redondo in the CIF Division I state final. Despite significant graduation losses from that team, the Pride repeated in 2015 and then this year fought off a spirited challenge from their rivals at Turlock High (even having to defeat the Bulldogs in the section final) to get the three-peat. Since her first season in 2007, Pontes-Christian has guided Pitman to an overall record of 236-88.
2016 ALL-STATE FIRST TEAM
(12 players; Listed in alphabetical order)
(Chosen with requirement of at least one libero and at least two middle blockers)
S Brynn Chandler (Torrey Pines, San Diego) 5-11 Sr.
Daughter of former NFL QB Chris Chandler and granddaughter of the late, great John Brodie (S.F. 49ers QB) was on the All-CIF San Diego Section team and has signed with Cal.
S Devon Chang (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) 5-11 Jr.
The All-Orange County and All-CIF Southern Section Division I pick was at her best in the team’s semifinal and final wins of the CIFSS playoffs. She had 43 assists in the semis vs. Long Beach Poly and then 63 assists and 21 digs in the final vs. Mater Dei.
MB Candice Denny (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) 6-3 Sr.
She was a force in the middle all season for the CIF Open Division state champs and will play next at Arizona. Denny had 17 kills in the title match vs. Santa Margarita and was “the best player on the court” according to Mitty head coach Bret Almazan-Cezar.
S Tori Dilfer (Valley Christian, San Jose) 5-9 Sr.
She’s the second daughter of NFL analyst Trent Dilfer to star for the Warriors. In her career, they were runner-up, champion and runner-up in the CIF Division III and Division II playoffs. She’ll play next at TCU.
L Kate Formico (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) 5-9 Sr.
A first cousin of the legedary Kerri Walsh, Formico was the only other player besides Candice Denny from the CIF Open Division state champions who was on the Bay Area Preps first team. She also has received All-American mention from several sources.
OH Meghan McClure (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) 6-1 Sr.
Generally regarded as the best player this year in the CIF Southern Section, McClure led the Eagles to the CIF Southern California Open Division title as well as the CIFSS D1 title. The Orange County Register Player of the Year had 483 kills and 233 digs. She’s indicated she’s a lifelong fan of Stanford and will be playing for the national champion Cardinal next season.
OH Hannah Phair (Edison, Huntington Beach) 5-11 Sr.
She’s the leading player for the CIF Division I state champions and showed off a great all-around set of skills throughout the season. Phair, a first-team All-Orange County and first team All-CIFSS D1 pick, will play next on the sand at UCLA.
OH Cami Sanchez (Huntington Beach) 5-10 Sr.
Since Sanchez and her team at Huntington Beach split with Edison in the Sunset League and then was runner-up to the Chargers in the CIF SoCal D1 playoffs, we made it a goal to get the Oilers’ top player up onto the first team as well. Sanchez, like Edison’s Hannah Phair, also will be going to UCLA and in fact will be teammates with her on the beach for the Bruins.
OH Shannon Scully (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-2 Sr.
Leading a Monarchs’ team that was No. 1 in the nation in the early part of the season, Scully was their top player. She led the team in kills and was among the leaders in digs. The first-team All-CIFSS D1 pick also joined several other players on this all-state team on the first-ever FloVolleyball.tv All-American team that was released earlier this week.
OH Sammy Slater (Ventura) 5-10 Sr.
Another player on this squad who has a big-time future on the beach is Slater. She’s, in fact, already been on U.S. national beach volleyball teams. On the court, Slater shined by wrapping up her second straight Ventura County player of the year honor and she led the Cougars to a win against eventual CIF state champ Archbishop Mitty in the title game of the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions.
MB Sabrina Smith (Campolindo, Moraga) 6-4 Sr.
The UCLA-bound powerhouse already has been named East Bay Player of the Year by Bay Area Preps. Smith led Campo to a CIF North Coast Section title and then a semifinal appearance in the CIF NorCal Open Division.
OH Lexi Sun (Santa Fe Springs, Solana Beach) 6-3 Sr.
Also named the 2016 Ms. Volleyball State Player of the Year.
ALL-STATE SECOND TEAM
(18 players; Listed in alphabetical order)
(Chosen with requirement of at least two liberos, two middle blockers)
OH Taylen Ballard (Clovis) 6-2 Sr.
S Britt Bommer (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach) 6-0 Sr.
S Paloma Bowman (Christian Brothers, Sacramento) 5-10 Sr.
L Kelsey Campeau (Mater Dei, San Jose(( 5-7 Jr.
OH Kamryn Caoili (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) 6-0 Jr.
OH Anne Crouch (St. Ignatius, San Francisco) 5-10 Sr.
OH Jacqueline DiSanto (Menlo-Atherton, Atherton) 6-1 Sr.
OH Alexis Filippone (Torrey Pines, San Diego) 6-2 Sr.
S Julia Handy (Turlock) 5-9 Jr.
OH Kayla Lund (Flintridge Sacred Heart, La Canada) 5-11 Sr.
S Camryn Machado (La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad) 5-8 Sr.
MB Madilyn Mercer (San Juan Hills, SJ Capistrano) 6-5 Sr.
OH Tesa Oaks (Woodcrest Christian, Riverside) 6-2 Sr.
L Juliana Reisinger (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) 5-7 Sr.
MB Lindsey Schell (Temecula Valley, Temecula) 6-2 Sr.
OH Katie Smoot (Notre Dame, Belmont) 6-1 Sr.
OH Penny Tusa (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) 5-10 Sr.
OH Destynye Vailiamu (Lakewood) 5-10 Jr.
Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens contributed to these selections. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports