MODESTO — Maycie LaBass
SCHOOL: Gregori High
POSITION: Outside hitter
ON THE COURT: Gregori, a school celebrating its first senior class, ushered in a new era in Modesto city volleyball. Finally, here was a program that could win beyond the Modesto Metro Conference. The Jaguars won 33 of 37 matches, rolled to a second straight MMC crown, reached the Sac-Joaquin Section championship and saw its season end in the first round of the CIF Northern California tournament. Not bad for the new kid, a team featuring only one senior. The face of this rising power: Maycie LaBass, a powerful 6-foot junior. "Maycie fits in that category of being a star player," coach Ron Silva said. "She's just a natural volleyball player. She can dominate a game in 10 minutes; just take over a match." The Bee's Volleyball Player of the Year was at her best near the net, where she emerged as one of Northern California's top finishers. She averaged nearly six kills per game and ranked first in the section in kills (579), kill average (5.8/game) and kill percentage (72.8), according to MaxPreps. "Everybody knows we're going to feed her the ball and she still finds a way to put it down," Silva said. LaBass was versatile, too; able to affect a match from any area on the floor. She paced the Jaguars in digs (279) and ranked second in blocks (37) and aces (74)
OFF THE COURT: LaBass is no different than most of The Bee's players of the year. She not only excels in the athletic arena but the classroom, as well. She's a straight-A student and a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. But volleyball consumes her. When she's not screeching, sprinting and exploding off the hardwood, she's diving through the sand. She even has her own backyard beach court a Christmas present from her mother last winter. LaBass has a beach coach, hosts regular practices with a makeshift club and hopes to play in a few Santa Cruz tournaments. "It's mostly for fun," she says.
LOOKING AHEAD: The stage is set for Gregori to make another run at a section championship. The Jags lose only one player (Kristine Paulson) to graduation. "Me, personally, I want to win the state tournament. I'll be a senior and I want to go out on a good note." Before that, though, LaBass will have a busy club season one that could ultimately decide her collegiate plans. She'll play in a Las Vegas showcase in February with the Rage, and Silva, a coach with the Ripon-based club, believes her 17-and-under team should qualify for nationals. The exposure is sure to net the Modesto Metro MVP a Division I scholarship. The interest is there. "She's so strong, schools can't afford not to look at her," Silva said. "She has two more years to be looked at and there will be a lot looking."
QUOTABLE: "I've been coaching since 1988 and I don't ever recall a (brand new) school ever going that far, reaching the section finals and then going into the state playoffs. You have a player like Maycie LaBass, who played a vital role in helping Gregori achieve those goals. It's her inner desire to achieve, to help her team succeed. She's just a driven player. She's not an 'I' person and that's what makes her so unique." Ron Silva, Gregori head coach