Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - May 20, 2011

Palo Alto girls' volleyball named national team of year

by Keith Peters

Dave Winn probably thought the accolades that resulted from his Palo Alto girls' volleyball team winning the CIF Division I state title ended in February when he was named the MaxPreps California Coach of the Year in the sport and two of his players, Melanie Wade and Megan Coleman, were named to the all-state team.

The honors, however, did not end there.

The Palo Alto girls' volleyball team has been named the MaxPreps National Female Team of the Year.

"It is very gratifying to see all the good things that have come out of winning a state title," Winn said. "That said, soon we'll need to put those awards and kudos in our trophy cases and move on to the next season. And I know our returners are going to be very determined to attempt a repeat."

Palo Alto was one of the biggest surprises in the prep volleyball world this past fall as the Vikings went 41-1 and upset nationally No. 11-ranked Long Beach Poly in five sets in the state finals at San Jose State in December.

The Vikings were selected as one of five finalists for the national award, covering all sports. The others included the Mater Dei basketball team that won a state and mythical national championship after going 34-1; the Papillion-LaVista South volleyball team that went 41-0 and won the Nebraska Class A state title; the St. Mary's (Stockton) basketball team that finished 29-2 and won the Division II state title; and the St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) soccer team that had 24 shutouts in a 25-1 season that was capped by a 5A state title.

Somehow, the Palo Alto girls caught the fancy of a national audience and a panel of judges who voted.

"It was mostly the decision of the staff and consultant writers for MaxPreps," Winn said. "These people observe and write about sports all the time, so for them to choose us as female team of the year really means a lot."

A special ceremony by MaxPreps to honor the Palo Alto girls' volleyball team is expected to happen next week on the Paly campus.

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