2018-2019 San Pedro Prep Sports Team Of The Year

For what it's worth, it was a magnificent 2018-2019 campaign for all of San Pedro Prep Sports.

12 league championships, eight signing day ceremonies, five tournament titles, two CIF-Los Angeles City Section championships in one month, and even the town's first CIF State playoff victory.

The team that truly set the tone for the rest of the year from the outset, was the 2018 San Pedro High girls volleyball team.

From the opening serve against South East of South Gate in the season opener at San Pedro High, all the way to their season ending defeat on November 6 in the CIF State Southern California Division 4 Regional first round match at Beaumont, this team started off hot and never lost their edge. In between those moments, the Pirates won a pair of tournaments: their own San Pedro Invitational on September 15, and the most important one of them all, the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division 1 championship.

In one week from September 11-15, San Pedro won eight matches, including a five-set thriller at home over Narbonne of Harbor City in a Marine League match. Six of those wins were winning the SPI Tournament on September 15. The Pirates in all won 18 of their first 20 matches.

This team's 'Rise As One' mantra was evident by how they played for and fed off each other in every match.

Even though San Pedro (26-6 overall) had two feared All-Marine League & All-City hitters on it already with senior outside hitter Sara Peterson and senior 6'3'' middle blocker Lauren Sutrin, this team, full of seniors and juniors had a bevy of weapons to go to for every point in the match.

If Peterson or Sutrin was off in a match, which was rare, there were was the likes of junior outside hitters Alexis Avitia and Isabella Emerson who would come through in mighty ways. Two more seniors in All-Marine League second team middle blocker Sosha Williams and opposite hitter Raelyn Sanchez would always provide a timely kill or a block. Underrated junior middle blocker Samantha Rapp would stun foes as well with a critical kill.

Sophomore setter Gabriella Edwards stepped into her new role as the starter a year after playing on junior varsity, and thrived with over 300 assists in earning her first All-Marine League selection

Defensively, the Pirates were stout with All-City & All-Marine League Cincinnati Christian-bound libero Hanna Gurrola and junior defensive specialist Georgie Smith, who both were worth their weight in (Pirate Black &) Gold for the team who finished in a second place tie in Marine League competition, yet missed the Open Division playoffs by one spot, still earning the top seed of Division 1 and a bonus first-round bye.

Not wanting to ease up on what they accomplished in the regular season, San Pedro would amp up their intensity in the playoffs and whenever they got tested, they would emphatically turn those tests into triumphs.

Against Verdugo Hills in the quarterfinals, San Pedro trailed early in all three sets, and still ended up sweeping the pesky, well-coached Dons. The semifinal match against Bell saw the Pirates fall behind 7-0 in the first set, and although they managed a spirited comeback that fell short 25-22, that gave them the mental confidence and belief that they can overcome any obstacles. San Pedro would use their height advantage and the serving of Peterson to bring them back to a solid second set win, then would overwhelm the Eagles 25-8 in the fourth set to close out the match.

The championship match on November 3 against a strong El Camino Real of Woodland Hills program, a team San Pedro had already defeated in the finals of the San Pedro Invitational on September 15, would be the final true test the Pirates would pass. Avitia raised her game with a timely dig and two kills for the final two points of the first set, which also saw Emerson start the match off with a pair of kills of her own. The second set was Peterson, Avitia, Emerson and Sutrin combining to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead, when the set ended on an ace by Edwards.

San Pedro would get yet another test of their resolve when they started the third set off with leads of 5-0 and 7-2, only to witness the Conquistadors counter with resolve of their own to stretch the match to a fourth set.

Down 4-0, San Pedro would trade side-outs with El Camino Real until Avitia stepped into serving position, and she would will the Pirates to a 10-8 lead, with her only ace of the match knotting the score at 8-8. Then with the score 19-17 after a timeout, Gurrola's two aces followed by a block and the final kill from Sutrin would conclude matters, ending with the program's fourth CIF-LACS championship, and first since 2005.

Head coach Gerald Aquiningoc also made a little history of his own by becoming the first coach in CIF-LACS history to coach two championship teams within the same school year for different genders, and different schools, as in mid-May 2019 he coached Carson's boys team to their second Division 1 title in six years.

The girls volleyball's latest triumph was just the start of what was a glorious November 2018 for all of San Pedro High School, as the football team would shock a lot of people, even some in their own city, by winning their sixth CIF-LACS Division 1 championship just three weeks later on November 24.

Yes indeed, this girls volleyball team was clearly the 'table setters' for a successful 2018-2019 calendar year of San Pedro Prep Sports.

SAN PEDRO NEWS PILOT PAST PREP SPORTS TEAMS OF THE YEAR

2011-2012: San Pedro High School Football (12-1; CIF-LACS Division 1 semifinalists)

2012-2013: Port Of Los Angeles High School Softball (28-8; CIF-LACS Division 3 champions)

2013-2014: Port Of Los Angeles High School Baseball (14-9; CIF-LACS Division 3 champions)

2014-2015: Port Of Los Angeles High School Girls Soccer (22-4-2; CIF-LACS Division 4 finalists; CIF State regionals)

2015-2016: San Pedro High School Girls Soccer (20-2-3; CIF-LACS Division 1 semifinalists)

*2016-2017: San Pedro High School Softball (25-9-1; CIF-LACS Division 1 Champions)

*2016-2017: Port Of Los Angeles High School Girls Soccer (18-4; CIF-LACS Division 2 Champions)

2017-2018: San Pedro High School Boys Soccer (14-9-2; CIF-LACS Division 4 champions)

* - Both Teams Share The Team Of The Year Honor

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Comment by Andrew Silber on Wednesday

Very well done, all of you! Makes me extra proud to be a San Pedran.

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