RIPON—Sam McCreath is known for her sizzling spikes and ability to perform in clutch situations, but first-year Ripon coach Erin Cutino said it is her selflessness that separates her from the rest.
The 5-foot-10 outside hitter was voted All-Trans-Valley League MVP after leading the Indians (12-0 TVL, 24-4 overall) to their first league championship since 2010. McCreath walloped 47 kills this past Saturday as Ripon toppled TVL rival Hilmar in a five-set thriller in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV finals.
The Indians are now in the second round of the CIF State Northern California Regional Championships after sweeping past Sutter on Wednesday.
“Sam is absolutely deserving of this and other people in the league recognized that,” Cutino said. “She’s put in so much to be this kind of player ever since I’ve known her.
“As an MVP player she doesn’t act like an MVP player — she is very humble. It’s never ‘I need to get the ball’ or ‘You need to feed me.’ For her it’s all about helping the team. That’s what makes her such a great MVP.”
McCreath said it’s “an honor” to earn the distinction after landing a spot on the all-league team her sophomore and junior years, but she recognized the success of her team. In all, four teammates, including twin sister Madison McCreath, joined her on the all-league team with two others getting honorable mention. Cutino was named Coach of the Year.
McCreath totaled 172 kills in league and averaged 4.53 per set. She and libero Ashlynn Eisenga signed their letters of intent to play for Central Connecticut State on Wednesday.
“It speaks on how much of a bond we have and how much work we’ve put in,” McCreath said. “We want to be the best and come out here every night and showcase our talent.”
Middle blocker Breana Barrios, setter Lauren Wiebe and Eisenga made all-league for a second straight year. Middle/opposite Makayla Buie and defensive specialist Devon Denhart earned honorable mention.
League and section runner-up Hilmar (10-2, 23-14) has five all-league selections — Mariah Ahid, Erin Benning, Miranda Gray, Hannah Pearce and Olivia Peterson — and one honorable mention. The Escalon quartet of Jaden Scott, Natalie Bianchi, Hannah Murphy and Kaitlyn Herrera and Hughson’s Megan Kosky round out the all-league honorees.