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East Bay Volleyball Notes: POY Candidate Katie Hirsch, Rankings, Standings

By Matt Smith
Monday, September 26th, 2011 at 3:56 pm in Girls Volleyball.

When talking about the best players in the East Bay, year after year, it is normally an outside hitter, sometimes a setter or a middle. And when it comes to choosing that player of the year, it is always one of those three, and usually someone who can put the ball down on the opponent’s side of the floor with extreme prejudice.

This year, the discussion changes because of the talent at the libero position, and that discussion starts with Monte Vista’s Katie Hirsch. She begins our player of the year watch, because she is just that good.
“Picking a player of the year is never easy, but I believe most coaches would want to give the award to a player who has the ability to take over a game,” Monte Vista coach J.J. Utchen said. “It’s easy to make a case for a libero who touches the ball as often as a setter, and can keep a rally alive. I don’t think you’ll find a libero at the high school level who possesses the intelligence and tenacity of Katie.”
That ability was on display against Carondelet on September 22, when during a 10-point Mustang run, one that she personally served, she dug every ball hit by the Cougars in an attempt to get a side out. Not only did she continually pick her spots and put the ball where she wanted to, service-wise, she kept the ball alive on every point, many times on balls that would have hit the floor with just about any other libero on the floor.
Her worth to her team, and her ability, were shown when Carondelet finally got the sideout. She went diving out of bounds to keep a ball in play, which Monte Vista got across the net, and while Hirsch was getting up and sprinting back to her spot, the Cougars finally put the ball in the empty spot on the floor.
Despite being on the other side of the court and coming from out of bounds, Hirsch nearly got to that ball as well. After she rose to her feet from that diving attempt, she received a well-deserved ovation from the crowd.
And she has the stats to go with it. 98 digs in a week, she put over 94 percent of her 1,500 touches in play last year. She is plays with a smile and with passion, and on top of that she is a 4.3 student. Not to mention that she can dominate a match from the libero position.
“Coaches often tell their teams that one player can’t beat you, that it’s a team effort against another team,” Utchen said. “When a team has a player like Katie, her will to win can take over a match.”

Rankings

Some changes in the rankings, and so finally some stuff to discuss.
For starters, Foothill, Cal and Campo all lost. But because Foothill beat Campo and took San Ramon Valley to five games, I felt like the Falcons are a top three team.
Cal lost to SRV in five, nearly beating the top team, and swept Livermore in three before losing to the Cowboys 2-1 in tournament play. I tend not to count tourney match as much as a five-game match, hence why St. Joseph Notre Dame has jumped Dougherty Valley. The Pilots have 21 wins already, and a win over Aragon to win the Irvington Tournament was a big one.
I feel like Granada is one of the better teams in the area, but the Matadors move out temporarily after going 0-2. Carondelet, despite being 3-7, is in after a win over Amador Valley.

1. San Ramon Valley (13-3)
2. Bishop O’Dowd (9-6)
3. Foothill (9-3)
4. California (7-2)
5. Campolindo (6-4)
6. Albany (13-3)
7. Miramonte (7-2)
8. Northgate (9-4)
9. Monte Vista (7-3)
10. Amador Valley (9-8)
11. St. Joseph Notre Dame (21-2)
12. Irvington (11-1)
13. Berean Christian (9-3)
14. Dougherty Valley (8-3)
15. Carondelet (3-6)

ACCAL
Team W-L GB

Alameda (9-5, 2-0)
Berkeley (12-6, 2-0)
El Cerrito (0-0) 1
De Anza (0-1) 1.5
Hercules (0-1) 1.5
Pinole Valley (0-1) 1.5
Richmond (0-1) 1.5

BCL
Team W-L GB

CSD (3-3, 2-0) -
Chinese Chr. (7-7, 0-0) 1
Contra Costa Chr. (4-5, 0-0) 1
Fremont Chr. (3-8, 0-0) 1
Cornerstone Chr. (0-0, 0-0) 1
Emery (0-5, 0-1) 1.5
OMI (0-4, 0-1) 1.5

BCL-East
Team W-L GB

Head-Royce (9-5, 5-0) -
College Prep (6-4, 3-1) 1.5
Athenian (7-4, 2-2) 2.5
St. Elizabeth (4-7, 2-2) 2.5
Valley Chr. (9-4, 2-2) 2.5
Bentley (5-6, 1-3) 3.5
Redwood Chr. (3-14, 0-5) 5

BSAL
Team W-L GB

Albany (13-3, 4-0) -
St. Joseph Notre Dame (21-2, 4-0) -
Salesian (8-4, 4-1) .5
St. Mary’s (5-11, 2-2) 2
St. Pat’s (13-3, 2-2) 2
Piedmont (3-6, 1-1) 2
Encinal (0-5, 0-2) 3
Holy Names (0-3) 3.5
Kennedy (0-3) 3.5
Swett (0-3) 3.5

BVAL
Team W-L GB

Antioch (0-4, 0-0) -
Deer Valley (1-11, 0-0) -
Freedom (3-8, 0-0) -
Heritage (6-11, 0-0) -
Liberty (4-12, 0-0) -
Pittsburg (0-2, 0-0) -

DFAL
Team W-L GB

Campolindo (6-4, 2-0) -
Las Lomas (8-8, 2-0) -
Miramonte (7-2, 1-0) .5
Dougherty Valley (8-3, 1-0) .5
Dublin (5-6, 0-2) 2
Acalanes (2-7, 0-2) 2
Alhambra (2-3, 0-2) 2

DVAL
Team W-L GB

Berean Chr. (9-3, 2-0) -
Northgate (9-4, 1-0) .5
Clayton Valley (7-8, 1-1) 1
Mt. Diablo (0-0) 1
College Park (5-10, 0-1) 1.5
Concord (0-8, 0-1) 1.5
Ygnacio Valley (0-1) 1.5

EBAL
Team W-L GB

San Ramon Valley (13-3, 2-0) -
Monte Vista (7-3, 2-0) -
Amador Valley (9-8, 1-1) 1
California (7-2, 1-1) 1
Carondelet (3-6, 1-1) 1
Foothill (9-3, 1-1) 1
Granada (3-3, 0-2) 2
Livermore (10-5, 0-2) 2

HAAL
Team W-L GB

Bishop O’Dowd (9-6, 2-0) -
Moreau Catholic (3-2, 2-0) -
San Leandro (2-2, 2-0) -
Arroyo (3-7, 1-1) 1
Castro Valley (4-7, 1-1) 1
Mt. Eden (1-4, 1-1) 1
Hayward (0-4, 0-2) 2
San Lorenzo (0-7, 0-2) 2
Tennyson (1-5, 0-2) 2

MVAL
Team W-L GB

Irvington (10-1, 2-0) -
Mission San Jose (2-7, 2-0) -
Logan (6-10, 1-0) .5
Washington (5-7, 1-0) .5
American (5-5, 0-2) 2
Kennedy (2-8, 0-2) 2
Newark (6-6, 0-2) 2

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