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Prep volleyball: Semifinalists earn 4 nods

Valencia, West Ranch each get two All-CIF selections

Posted: June 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Excellent showings in the postseason have paid off for a group of Foothill League boys volleyball players.

Four of them were given All-CIF Southern Section honors on Tuesday, with two Valencia High players and two West Ranch High players making the Division II team.

Both teams advanced to the semifinal round in the Division II bracket this year.

Valencia’s representatives are senior and Foothill League MVP Eric Ensing and senior libero Griffin Ender, while West Ranch junior Tanner Skabelund and senior Anthony Hanna also made the list.

Ensing recorded a school-record 464 kills this season with an average of slightly over 14 kills per match.

He also snapped an 11-year-old school record for single-match kills when he landed 34 on May 12 against Capistrano Valley.

“He definitely deserves it,” Ender said. “He’s one of the best players out there.”

Ender was a quality defensive player and an important contributor to Valencia’s strong season. He tallied 385 digs and 25 service aces in addition to making the All-Foothill first team.

“It’s an honor,” Ender said. “I feel like there are a lot of guys that played well for us and chipped in. It’s an honor and it’s humbling.”

Valencia finished the season 20-15 and went 10-0 in league play before making its longest postseason run since 2008.

After losing in the Division II semifinal, the Vikings were invited to the CIF Southern California Division I Regional Volleyball Championship, where they lost to Palisades High in the opening round.

As for West Ranch, Hanna was the captain of the team, which experienced its most successful postseason in school history.

Hanna was one of the best and most consistent setters in the league all season.

He stepped his game up a notch at the end, finishing with 204 assists in four playoff matches.

“It makes me feel like I can compete with those guys,” Hanna said of the other players on the All-CIF team. “As good as they are, they come from prestigious schools and they’re always playing for CIF titles. It makes me think if I played against them, I’d be able to keep up.”

One player Hanna consistently fed the ball to was Skabelund, who was a 6-foot-9-inch force as an outside hitter and a key part of the team’s unlikely run to the semifinals.

The All-CIF-SS Division II team included a Player of the Year and 13 additional players. All but two were seniors — Oak Park sophomore Brendan Parks and Skabelund.

“This is huge,” Skabelund said. “I never thought that, coming into this year, I’d be able to make the All-CIF team or even the All-Foothill team. I knew I was tall, but not one of the more experienced guys.”

Skabelund was an All-Foothill second teamer this year.

He had 49 kills throughout the playoffs, including a 15-kill performance in an upset of Laguna Beach in the Division II quarterfinals.

In all, the Wildcats went 23-10 this year and finished second in Foothill play with a 7-3 record.



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