The Aptos girls volleyball team came within a few points of earning a share of its sixth straight Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League championship this fall.
Outside hitters Jillian Rodriguez and Peyton Dueck were a big reason for the Mariners’ success.
The coaches of the SCCAL honored them accordingly, naming the duo to the league’s first team for the second straight season.
Rodriguez, a senior, and Dueck, a sophomore, combined for 501 kills, 94 aces and 509 digs, according to the stats kept by MaxPreps, while leading Aptos to second place in the SCCAL, and a third straight trip to the Central Coast Section Division III championship match.
Both Rodriguez and Dueck are verbally committed to NCAA Division I programs. Rodriguez is expected to sign her letter of intent to play for Long Beach State’s beach team, while Dueck is set to attend Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo to play both indoor and beach in 2021.
Aptos concluded the season with a 25-10 overall record, and finished runner-up to rival Soquel in both the league standings and section playoffs.
Soquel’s duo of Sam Strah and Ciara Cantlan were named the SCCAL’s M.V.P. and Freshman of the Year, respectively, after leading the team to a perfect 12-0 league record.
Knights’ head coach Jeanine Haldi was named the SCCAL Coach of the Year.
San Lorenzo Valley finished last following an 0-12 run, but the coaches of the league honored Cougars’ senior middle blocker Audrey Bingham with the SCCAL Coaches’ Award.
Santa Cruz (Chloe Drysdale and Kianna Lee) and Harbor (Sierra Laird and Carly Ditz) also had two players named to the SCCAL First Team.
Aptos junior opposite Natalia Ackerman made the SCCAL Second Team along with Mt. Madonna senior outside hitter Mara Peruzzi.
The 6-foot-1 Ackerman led the team in blocks (49) and was third in kills (210), allowing the Mariners to spread the ball around the floor as her game progressed throughout the season.
Peruzzi, the team’s lone senior, led the Hawks in blocks (15) and was second in kills (315), digs (302) and aces (52), according to the stats kept on MBayPreps.
Mt. Madonna finished fifth in the SCCAL but bounced back in the CCS D-V playoffs and won the program’s third section crown in a five-set thriller against Notre Dame-Salinas.
Aptos and Mt. Madonna each had a pair of players earn honorable mention.
Mariners’ senior setter Chloe Manor and junior middle blocker Gabby Giuffre earned recognition, and Hawks’ sophomore setter Savannah Cambell and junior outside hitter Paola Jacobs also earned a mention.