Best of the best: Lady Cougars clean up in offseason awards

The Santa Maria Lady Cougars volleyball team killed the competition on its way to the Class 2A regional semifinals this year. And once the season was over, the Lady Cougars again spiked their names all over the 32-2A All-District List with a whopping 10 selections.

Lorena Ayala, Alyzza Garcia and Aiesha Velasquez all landed amongst the district’s top performers while Ayala was named the district’s unanimous MVP. It wasn’t her first time winning a superlative award as last year she was named the district’s Defensive MVP and was a second-team player as a sophomore.

“Lori is just relentless,” said Santa Maria head coach Sofia Garcia, who herself was named Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season. “She’s the district’s MVP because she is an all-around player, she can get you some big blocks and digs on defensively, and she can create points on offense with her serves and placements of tips and roll shots with her hitting.”

Teammates Garcia and Velasquez also received superlative awards, and much like Ayala, both were also on last year’s list as well. Garcia was named to the all-district’s first team as a junior and a sophomore, while Velazquez was named to the second team in her junior year and honorable mention as a sophomore.

This year, Garcia was the district’s Offensive Player of the Year and Velasquez was named Libero of the Year.

“Alyzza was our hot hitter of the year because she created the offense we needed,” said Garcia. “She was very consistent with her hitting out of the front and back row hitting left back spot and created points on offense.

“Aeisha was just a steady rock that would go in there and clean up our offense, take those hard hits and dig them up while making look so easy.”

And the awards didn’t stop there as the Lady Cougars landed six names on both first- and second-team all-district.

Keana Ortiz, Byanca Cantu and Jessica Villarreal all landed on the first team while Kristen Aleman, Bianca Aleman and Isabel Gonzalez landed on the second team.