It's first year of being in a league (Ocean), ended up with the Polar Bears winning that league, earning them their first-ever berth in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division IV/V (Small Schools) playoffs. How did POLA take advantage? They made a magnificent run with three straight victories and was one more crucial set away from ending Elizabeth Learning Center's dominance in the Division IV/V championship match.
However the experience factor came into play, and POLA was left wondering what might have been as the Bulldogs went on to claim their third straight City title in five sets.
Well as the 2013 season begins, head coach Felicia Ivie and the Polar Bears are out for some unfinished business as they look to get back to the City Section Division IV/V championship match.
San Pedro and Mary Star Of The Sea High are also looking to deliver in 2013 in a town that is synonymous with volleyball.
Mary Star was a CIF-Southern Section runner-up in 1998, while San Pedro claimed three CIF-Los Angeles City Section crowns in 2001, 2004 and 2005.
POLA (20-10 last season) will return a bevy of experience to the forefront as they will be paced by senior captains outside hitter Angela Wade and and senior middle blocker Allison Bayer, who was one of the biggest reasons why the Polar Bears reached the City Section Division IV/V final last season. Bayer, who is already a three-time City champion in softball (2013 News Pilot Prep Softball Co-MVP), will be gunning for her fourth ring.
Bayer also won't be alone as some of her fellow softball friends join her on the team this season.
Playing volleyball for the first time on POLA will be some softball players with championship experience in senior outside hitter Kelsea Short, junior defensive specialist Tiffany Torres and junior middle hitter Savana Ramirez. Another player eager for a championship after two straight finals appearances in girls soccer, junior opposite hitter Isabela Van Antwerp also will be making her volleyball debut.
Wade, who is also a basketball standout, will be looking for a breakout season. Senior setter and libero Annie Constantino will also be key, as will senior defensive specialist Myra Munoz and sophomore Makayla Warth.
Don't be surprised if POLA makes another run at glory... and ultimately seizes it.
SAN PEDRO (9-7 last season) - Head coach Kyle Ross enters his fourth season at the helm as he will try to guide the Pirates into battle in the killer Marine League that features both Narbonne of Harbor City, last year's CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I runner-up, and Carson, a D-I semifinalist. Senior middle blocker Mila Maricic is the unquestioned leader, as she is a returning All-Marine League first team pick.
San Pedro may be able to surprise their league foes considering they add many new faces from the junior varsity team to the mix. Last year's JV team went 10-2 in the Marine League. Junior outside hitters Brittany Foster and Julia Sampson, junior setter Paige Peterson and senior setter Vanessa Ruiz are the only other returning varsity players from a year ago.
Key newcomers to watch out for includes senior Michelle Costanza, and juniors Kirsten Bauman & Jazmin Tela.
The biggest new addition to the team just may be senior outside hitter Katie Sullivan, who transferred from Mary Star.
MARY STAR (5-8 last season) - One of Mary Star's all-time greats, Sarah Gascon enters her second head coach and despite the defection of Sullivan, the Stars will still try to be competitive in the Camino Real League.
Senior opposite hitter Brina Garcia, senior outside hitter Sarah Pearson and junior defensive specialist Hope Marinkovich are the top returning players, but playing volleyball for the first time is junior Lexie Geich, who along with seniors libero Victoria Vitalich and opposite hitter Christina Padilla, helped Mary Star's softball team reach the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 championship game in June.
The Stars have four freshmen on the team that are all looking to make instant impact in outside hitter Lexi Andrie, S/OH Kaitlyn Martinez, outside hitter Ally Spillane and S/OH Angela Pisano.