Fans were able to take in the hard-hitting, fast and furious action while still adhering to the rules of the pandemic era that is still ongoing with seemingly no end in sight.
One area school managed to stand triumphant even when not fully accomplishing all the team goals they hoped to achieve.
San Pedro (18-12 overall) still managed to make school history first by making a spirited comeback in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division 1 semifinals at top-seeded Verdugo Hills of Tujunga.
Down two games to one, the Pirates stormed back and won a classic back-and-forth deciding fifth set to defeat the Dons and reach the championship match, where not even a straight set sweep by eventual champion Sylmar was enough to dim their competitive fire.
Earning a spot in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 5 playoffs, San Pedro became the first in school history to win a CIF SoCal Regional playoff event by sweeping North Hollywood, a feat so nice, they actually did it twice. Rallying from a 10-1 deficit in the second set, the Pirates eventually showed their comeback ability again against CIF-Central Section representative East of Bakersfield, pulling off another sweep before falling in the semifinals to eventual champion Santa Clarita Christian.
Two players in particular, were inseparable during the Pirates' incredible postseason run.
Sophomore setter Kalia Teofilo and junior outside hitter/middle blocker Jamie Roth was the perfect combination of fire and ice, trading dominant performances in the most critical of matches for the Marine League co-champions. Teofilo was well rounded in all phases of the game, and was the most deadliest serving maestro in providing three matches with double-digit aces. Roth was a standout finisher at the net, and an automatic point was certain for the Pirates whenever an overpass came her way.
This dynamic All-City Division 1 first team duo is a worthy pick for our 2021 San Pedro News Pilot Prep Girls Volleyball Players Of The Year for their efforts.
Despite the sensational showings from Teofilo and Roth, they were just two parts of a balanced attack for San Pedro, as the Pirates also garnered three more All-City Division 1 selections in first team senior libero Vanessa Martinez, and two more second team selections in junior outside hitter Elaine Turituri (who also was named All-City Open Division second team in the spring 2021 season) and fellow junior defensive specialist Kennedy Kordic.
Mary Star Of The Sea (13-15) was unable to make the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs due to going 2-6 in a cutthroat Del Rey League, but still showed plenty of fight in all their matches, especially when talented junior outside hitter Neriah Tualaulelei-Malele was on the court delivering plenty of earth-shattering spikes. The 2021 Most Outstanding Player & St. Paul transfer made the most of her first season at her new home in leading the Stars in kills.
Junior Paige Courtney was outstanding in her first full season with Mary Star despite a banged up knee she suffered diving for a loose ball in the Stars' home opener against St. Monica. Courtney converted over from libero to fill in another outside hitter position, and Gina DeSisto emerged as the town's top freshman at setter.
Port Of Los Angeles (5-8) made a return to the 2021 CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division 4 playoffs after not participating in the short-lived spring season, falling in the second round to Chavez of San Fernando after receiving a first round bye. Junior outside hitter Sasha Suggs, the only remaining member left from their 2019 Division 4 championship team, paced the Polar Bears in kills, and showed all the tools that make her a five-tool talent.
(Note: Photos by Miguel Elliot)
ALL-SAN PEDRO NEWS PILOT PREP GIRLS VOLLEYBALL 2021 (FALL)
OUTSIDE HITTER: Elaine Turituri, San Pedro, jr.
OUTSIDE HITTER: Paige Courtney, Mary Star, jr.
OUTSIDE HITTER: Sasha Suggs, Port Of Los Angeles, jr.
SETTER: Gina DeSisto, Mary Star, fr.
DEFENSIVE SPECIALIST: Kennedy Kordic, San Pedro, jr.
LIBERO: Vanessa Martinez, San Pedro, sr.
Co-Players Of The Year: Kalia Teofilo (soph.), S & Jamie Roth (jr.), OH, San Pedro
Most Outstanding Player: Neriah Tualaulelei-Malele, Mary Star, OH
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
2018: Lauren Sutrin & Sara Peterson, San Pedro
2019: Sammie Sabra & Serena Ramirez, Mary Star
2021 (Spring): Cassidy Espinosa, San Pedro