By Ray Hamill — Arcata’s Sydney Hasselquist has been named MVP of the Big 5 after helping lead the Tigers to a league title this year, the H-DNL announced on Friday.
Hasselquist joins St. Bernard’s Madelyn Shanahan and Ferndale’s Kyla Albee, who are co-MVPs of the Little 4.
“Sydney is a super positive person who is always cheering on her team,” Arcata head coach Laurie Griffith said. “She is a a powerful hitter that can dominate a game. Her ferocious kills would fire up the team as well.”
Hasselquist is part of a talented and deep junior class at Arcata that is expected to be even stronger next season as the Tigers look to win a third consecutive league championship.
“We are looking forward to next year when she and all my super strong juniors will be seniors,” Griffith said.
Shanahan, meanwhile, enjoyed a stellar sophomore campaign and led the Crusaders to a share of the Little 4 championship and a deep playoff run.
“Maddie was very instrumental to our success this season,” St. Bernard’s head coach Wendy Joyner said. “She stepped into a leadership role. She was a threat on the net both offensively and defensively.”
Despite her young age, Shanahan played a key leadership role for the team, especially when reigning conference MVP Lele Tanuvasa opted to focus on basketball this season.
“She was an all-around player who was there to pick up her teammates,” Joyner said. “She’s the type of kid that every coach would love to have.”
The sky appears to be the limit for the multi-talented Shanahan, who was also a first-team all-league selection in basketball earlier this year.
“She definitely has a bright future in the sport with only being a sophomore,” Joyner said.
Albee, meanwhile, helped lead the Wildcats to a third-place finish in league and to the NCS playoffs.
The multi-sport star had a busy fall and also played a big role for the Ferndale girls soccer team, which made it to the NCS semifinals.
Albee memorably played a key part in the Cats’ upset win over St. Bernard’s, a victory that threw the championship chase wide open.
Tigers lead the way with four all-stars
Joining Hasselquist on this year’s Big 5 all-league team are teammates Olivia Railsback, Abbey Costello-Anderson and Lily Rust-Kelley, each of whom also stepped up this fall in the championship run and helped a young roster mature quicker than expected.
The Del Norte girls pushed the Tigers all the way to the final night and have two first-team all-league selections, Liliana Nunez and McKenna Curtis.
Fortuna also was in the mix for a championship, with Kylee Fennell and Libby Johnston receiving all-league recognition, along with McKinleyville’s Allie Egbert and Eureka’s Mariah Napoleon.
Three L4 all-stars each for co-champ Crusaders and Warriors
Joining Shanahan on the all-league team are SB teammates Teressa Riley and Kodi Meyer, each of whom also had impressive seasons.
The Hoopa Warriors also enjoyed a memorable season and were crowned co-champs with a victory over the Crusaders on the final night of the regular season.
And they were rewarded with three all-league selections, Savannah Colegrove, Tatianna Colegrove and Taylor Cole.
In addition to Albee, Ferndale’s Tia Henrickson also is a first-team selection, along with South Fork’s Erin Leyva.
Arcata — Nora Talty and Caroline Deiker
Del Norte — Isabelle Schrader, Reece White and Breann Winningham
Fortuna — Grace Scilacci
McKinleyville — Haylee Howell and Camryn Pinard
Eureka — Anisha Rechelluul, Trinity Abercrombie and Aniah Gaither
St. Bernard’s — Courteney Goodman, Amaiyah Her and Ella Jimenez
Hoopa — Jewely Bibancos, Bethany Masten and Nae-rew Martin
Ferndale — Sage Machado
South Fork — Olivia Ward