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CVs Espinoza wins WAC Defensive Player of the Year
Hawk senior Blanca Espinoza has been named Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Espinoza led third-place Central Valley in digs with 366. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Senior Blanca Espinoza played every match like it was her last while starring on Central Valley's varsity girls volleyball team this fall.

Espinoza and two Hawk teammates were recognized in a vote by the Western Athletic Conference's head coaches on Oct. 27 at Central Valley.

Blanca was named WAC Defensive Player of the Year.

"I'm happy they chose me," Espinoza said. "It was a surprise. There are a lot of great players on other teams."

Espinoza led Central Valley with 366 digs.

She had 60 kills and 35 aces.

"I made sure I played with a lot of heart on the court," Espinoza said. "I always tried to make my coaches proud of me."

Mariana Garibay, a junior, earned first-team all-WAC honors.

She ranked first on the team in assists (364) and kills (168).

Mariana also collected 261 digs, 32 aces and 15 blocks.

Garibay welcomed the challenge of replacing three-year star Julia Ramsey.

"Julia was a great player," Garibay said. "I felt like she was a coach to us. She had a lot of knowledge. She was our leader. It was my job to reach where she was. I need to be more vocal. That's something I'll work on next year."

Adria Robinson, a senior, was named to the WAC Second Team.

She led the team in blocks (120).

Adria totaled 100 kills and 41 aces.

Central Valley compiled a 7-8 record en route to a third-place finish in the WAC standings.

The Hawks secured their third consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth.

"I'm really happy with what we did overall," Garibay said. "We had a good connection."

Espinoza and Robinson will be lost to graduation in June.

Blanca was promoted to varsity her sophomore year.

"I'm going to remember everything," Espinoza said. "The bus rides, practices and matches. I enjoyed playing with my teammates. It was a great experience."

A standout in multiple sports, Espinoza's volleyball, girls basketball and girls soccer teams have participated in the playoffs a combined seven times.

Central Valley won WAC titles in basketball and soccer during Blanca's junior year.

"Volleyball is my favorite sport," Espinoza said. "I worked hard on the court. I always tried to be there for my teammates."