Lowell’s Mariko Tanaka named AAA MVP

Lowell earns five all-league nods while Academy’s Sarai Clayton-Ward earns D2 MVP

The Academic Athletic Association has come out with its All-City girls’ volleyball teams ahead of the state final, which pits league champ Lowell against South Pasadena on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Santiago Canyon College.

It’s no surprise that the Cardinals’ team captain, middle blocker Mariko Tanaka, has been named league MVP, and that she joins five other Lowell players to get all-league nods.

Tanaka (who earned second-team honors last season) and senior libero Kimberly Yee earned first-team plaudits, while junior middle blocker Alina Qi earned second-team honors after being named honorable mention last season. Sophomore outside hitter Eliana Brown and junior setter Gabriella Quach earned honorable mention.

Lincoln — which came in second in the league’s first division — also saw five of its players named to the all-league teams, including first-team juniors Valerie Cheung and Nicole Leo. The Mustangs also got two second-team nods in sophomore Shaylah Dubose and senior Evelyn Mei. One Lincoln player — sophomore Mia Antonio — earned honorable mention.

Other first-teamers included Balboa freshman YaYa Siolo (one of only two freshmen to be recognized on the three Division 1 teams), Galileo junior Kristen Zee and Washington sophomore Samantha Leung, who earned second-team honors last season.

The second team featured the other all-league freshman in Balboa’s Nalia Faataui, along with Burton junior Kathryn Chen, Washington junior Amanda Ip (honorable mention a year ago) and senior Monique Balbuena, the only selection from Immaculate Conception Academy, which went 1-16 on the year. Balbuena was named honorable mention last season.

Other honorable mentions included Balboa sophomore Rachel Wong, Burton senior Ngan Phan, Galileo junior Tiffany Dang and Washington junior Kathleen Quan, who earned her second straight honorable mention.

The second-division player of the year was Academy senior Sarai Clayton-Ward, who was one of nine Wolves on all-second-division teams. Joining Clayton-Ward on the first team is senior Emily Tam, and on the second team, Academy garnered two selections in junior Alice Chen and sophomore Kimberly Wong.

Marshall — which took the second division crown by virtue of beating 10-2 Academy twice — had eight selections, led by first-team seniors Mica Bustos and Janaila Roerth. Junior Thana Puni and senior Katie Nguyen made the second team.

Academy junior Lamafale, sophomore Tiffany Ngo, sophomore Jameria Powell and junior Ashley Tapia were named honorable mention.

Mission junior Raquel Lau made her second straight first-team appearance, and was joined by sophomore Agnes Liang, who was named honorable mention last season. Mission also had a second-teamer, junior Ella Dittmann, who makes her second straight appearance on the second team.

Leadership had seven selections, led by first-team senior Quetzali Jimenez (who was second-team last year) and second-team junior Shirly Romero. Junior Taliya deans, senior Daisy Fajardo, freshman heidy Herrera and senior Lauren Smith were named honorable mention.

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