Starting off the season with 18 wins in their first 20 matches, the Pirates didn't accomplish one of their main goals in trying to dethrone Carson, the undisputed nine-time queens of the Marine League. However, their most ultimate goal was accomplished on November 3 in the San Fernando Valley when San Pedro outlasted El Camino Real of Woodland Hills in four sets to become CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division 1 champions for the first time in 13 years.
A balanced attack was evident for first-year head coach Gerald Aquiningoc and the Pirates, but the two main weapons were undoubtedly the two most reliable and versatile veterans of this strong-willed and tight knit group.
Senior outside hitter Sara Peterson and senior 6'3'' middle blocker Lauren Sutrin would pace the Pirates during their playoff run and overall 26-6 season by doing it all, digging out tough attacks, serving tough, spiking strong and doing whatever else was needed for San Pedro to be successful.
Peterson and Sutrin are both All-City Division 1 and All-Marine League first team selections, the co-Most Valuable Players of the San Pedro Invitational Tournament, and they are also the 2018 San Pedro News Pilot Prep Girls Volleyball Co-Players Of The Year to boot.
Throughout the entire season, this dynamic duo would take turns leading the Pirates in kills for several matches but during their three playoff wins against Verdugo Hills, Bell and El Camino Real, it was the incredible consistency of Sutrin that would be the deciding factor, as she posted 11 kills each in all three victories, including the final kill of the semifinals against Bell, and in the CIF-LACS Division 1 final against the Conquistadors.
In San Pedro's biggest regular season victory, a five-set win over Narbonne in the Marine League opener, Peterson would shine with a team season-high 23 kills while playing with an injured pinky finger on her dominant right hand.
Another crowning moment for the Pirates was going 8-0 during September 11-15, including winning six matches in one day to capture their second straight San Pedro Invitational Tournament in three years, in which Peterson, Sutrin and several others stepped up to show that San Pedro is still a force to be reckoned with.
Senior libero Hanna Gurrola, the Pirates' other All-City Division 1 selection, also had a season worthy of more individual accolades although everything she did, no matter what it was, was all about team glory, which was the mindset of all the Pirates who also featured All-Marine League second team selections in senior middle blocker Sosha Williams and sophomore setter Gabriella Edwards, who will be the top returner for 2019 alongside junior outside hitters Isabella Emerson and Alexis Avitia.
Over at Mary Star High, second-year head coach Lauren Orebo added some punch alongside her at the coaching spot with former Pirate boys star and three-time NCAA Division 3 champion Sean Zuvich (Springfield College), and the team itself also added some punch with sophomore All-Camino Real League second team selection Serena Ramirez, a San Pedro transfer. However, the Star that shined the brightest was another sophomore outside hitter.
Sammie Sabra established herself as the premier player in town with five 20-plus kill performances, and her impeccable jump serve was able to get the Stars a lot of points, and Sabra an abundance of aces. The All-Camino Real League first team selection was a nightmare for opponents to deal with, as she is the 2018 SPNP Prep Girls Volleyball Most Outstanding Player.
For 2018, the Stars were unable to win a fifth straight league crown as the move to the CRL ended with Bishop Amat emerging as champions. Still, Mary Star finished 18-9 overall and finished their season in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 7 playoffs after sweeping Cantwell Sacred Heart on October 18 in the opening round.
Sabra and Arizona verbal commit Ramirez both return for the Stars alongside two more All-Camino Real League selections in sophomore setter Lily Ruggiero and junior outside hitter Marina Erosa, but four-time all-league selection senior libero Jena Denardo will be deeply missed come graduation time in May 2019.
Port Of Los Angeles would finish 7-6 overall, and made things a lot interesting during their first year in the brand-new Imperial League, coming one victory short of both the league championship, and a spot in the CIF-LACS Division 4 playoffs under first-year coach Brian Justiniano.
The Polar Bears would finish 5-3 in league, tied for second place with Jordan of Los Angeles, one game behind surprising & inaugural Imperial League champion Dymally. During league competition, POLA would snatch a victory over Dymally, King-Drew, Jordan and Washington Prep in five sets (also sweeping Washington in the first-ever Imperial League match on September 12), but would also lose two more league matches that went the distance, ultimately costing them the league crown.
Despite the unfortunate end to their season, POLA still had productive seasons from senior setter Ivy Santamaria, sophomore outside hitter Lauren Brown and senior libero Julia Gersch. Junior middle blocker Kaylen Scott emerged as a major force for the Polar Bears, and will likely be a force once again in 2019.
Here is the full 2018 All-San Pedro News Pilot Prep Girls Volleyball Team
Hanna Gurrola (San Pedro, senior)
Ivy Santamaria (POLA, senior)
Marina Erosa (Mary Star, junior)
Gabriella Edwards (San Pedro, sophomore)
Jena Denardo (Mary Star, senior)
Lily Ruggiero (Mary Star, sophomore)
Kaylen Scott (POLA, junior)
Lauren Brown (POLA, sophomore)
Serena Ramirez (Mary Star, sophomore)
Isabella Emerson (San Pedro, junior)
Sosha Williams (San Pedro, senior)
Harmony Sapitanan (POLA, senior)
Julia Gersch (POLA, senior)
Bella Purves (Mary Star, senior)
Co-Players Of The Year: Sara Peterson & Lauren Sutrin, San Pedro, seniors.
Most Outstanding Player: Sammie Sabra, Mary Star, sophomore.
Newcomer Of The Year: Alexis Avitia, San Pedro, junior.
Most Improved Player: Melanie Morales, Mary Star, senior.
Coach Of The Year: Gerald Aquiningoc, San Pedro.
SAN PEDRO NEWS PILOT PAST PREP GIRLS VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2011: Fina Ojeda, San Pedro
2012: Susana Sanchez, Port Of Los Angeles
2013: Angela Wade, Port Of Los Angeles
2014: Allison Kittell, San Pedro & Ally Spillane, Mary Star
2015: Ally Spillane, Mary Star
2016: Ally Spillane, Mary Star
2017: Selene Ramirez, San Pedro