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Ex-MVP Bear Robinson highlights First Team

It’s difficult not just naming the entire Sonora Wildcat volleyball roster as the 2013 Union Democrat All-Area First Team due to the squad’s historic run to a section title and nearly a state championship.

But considering our area collected two league titles, had a league Most Oustanding Player and a league Most Valuable Player, there’s room to be made.

Making the 2013 All-Area Volleyball Team are Sonora Wildcats Bailey Henington, Savannah Lawrence, Leah Dambacher, Angela Gardella, Summerville Bear Breann Robinson and Calaveras Redskin Sam Baseman.

In almost any other year, Robinson would have earned her second consecutive All-Area MVP.

The senior was awarded the Mother Lode League’s top award, Most Outstanding Player, for the third-place Bears.

Robinson was a utility player for the Bears because she did everything well, but she is a dynamic setter and is a Division I recruit.

“Bree is just a phenomenal player,” Sonora head coach Kim Evans said. “She brings the goods every time she steps on the court. She is so athletic. She is knowledgeable about the game. She’s just a packaged deal. Just a great player and person as well.”

Baseman, a rock for the Redskins, was one of the players responsible for Calaveras quick turnaround under first-year head coach Kristy Dwyer. 

As an outside hitter, the MLL’s Most Valuable Player provided strong direction and leadership that helped the Redskins capture their first league championship in 28 years. 

They also won a home playoff game for the first time in more than a decade and hosted another.

“She was a very good passer out of serves received too,” Evans said. “When we knew about her, we served away from her. Another really good all-around player. She had the passing to go along with the outside hitting. You have to pay good attention to her, and make sure where she was on the court all the time.”

Henington, a first-team All-VOL libero, provided grittiness during Sonora’s magical run.

“Bailey’s definitely the tenacious type,” Evans said. “A ball that you think nobody’s going to be able to get, Bailey will find a way to get a touch on it. She’s a great defensive player. To have her on the court as often as we can, it’s like having a second setter out there. Her serves receiving passing is something that is nice to have out there so often. We can run a wide variety of offensive looks.”

Anchoring the front row is middle hitter and blocker Lawrence. The junior’s consistent play for the Wildcats was on point all year. She was also named to the VOL’s first-team.

“Savannah is a great all-around player,” Evans said. “We could utilize her out of serves received and she can hit outside. She passes so well that she played in the back row for us as well. One of her most devastating play was when she run behind the setter and let it fly. I would say we get a kill most of the times with her quickness to the ball.”

Dambacher, a junior defensive specialist, was one of Sonora’s smartest players. She was a second-team All-VOL selection.

“Leah probably has one of the best platforms out there in the section,” Evans said. “She is very technically sound. We would have never made it as far as we did without having her in our defense, and passing out of serve receives, and setting up the offense. She’s very steady up there.”

The final Wildcat to earn a spot on the team is Gardella, an outside hitter and second team All-VOL honoree. The junior’s will to win was one reason why Sonora was able to make its unprecedented journey to the postseason and beyond.

After an outstanding performance in the section final versus Hilmar, Gardella was named the player of the game.

“Angela came to win,” Evans said. “She was not going to walk off that court until we were done winning that match. That’s what she brings to the team. Her intensity, and her desire, and her will to make things happen.”

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