With three metro-area schools earning state championships this season, it stood to reason that the Journal’s All-Metro volleyball teams would reflect the diversity of the talent from that trio.
Indeed, each of those team champions — Sandia, Los Lunas and Sandia Prep — have representatives on the first team this year.
That list is headed, as it was last year, by Sandia Prep outside hitter Catherine Kelly.
The 5-foot-8 Sundevil senior and recent New Mexico State signee blasted her way to another stellar season and led Sandia Prep to yet another state title, as it swept Robertson in the 4A title match.
Sandia senior Jaedyn Fuqua, a second-team choice last year, was every bit as potent in 6A for the Matadors, who beat Centennial last month in the state final. The 5-foot-10 Fuqua was power personified.
The third, first-team hitter is Los Lunas senior Hayley Torres, a player coach Amy Bell described as the “heart and soul” of the Tigers in their march to the 5A championship a few weeks ago, when they came from behind to beat St. Pius,
Back-row specialists on the first team are St. Pius senior libero Brisa Gamboa and La Cueva junior setter Briana Mortensen.
There were several excellent setters from which to choose in the metro area this season. Mortensen ran one of the state’s most diverse attacks and earned the nod slightly ahead of Cleveland’s Kenley Vote and Sandia Prep’s Mirabelle Kinberger.
The final member of the first team this season is La Cueva’s 6-foot senior middle, Annabelle Kubinski.
Not only are Kubinski — who has signed with Grand Canyon in Phoenix — and Kelly the only repeat first-team selections from last season, the two also are friends and club teammates.
They also were the only two New Mexicans named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Under Armour Watch List for the 2017 season.
Second-team hitters were Nicole Peery from St. Pius, Olivia Dixson from Volcano Vista and dynamic La Cueva freshman Sidney McIntosh.
Eldorado’s Gracelyn Stubbs is in the middle, with Vote at setter and Volcano Vista’s Kamryn Lopez at libero.
Lopez, Vote, Stubbs and Peery all were part of the Journal’s All-Metro team a year ago.
NOTE: The Journal’s All-Metro football teams are tentatively scheduled to be published on Sunday, Dec. 17.