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Prep volleyball: From start to finish

Valencia’s Delaney Knudsen lives up to her preseason billing

Posted: November 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Valencia senior Delaney Knudsen was voted the 2012 Foothill League Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. Valencia senior Delaney Knudsen was voted the 2012 Foothill League Player of the Year by the league’s coaches.
Valencia senior Delaney Knudsen was voted the 2012 Foothill League Player of the Year by the league’s coaches.

When all the Foothill League’s coaches were surveyed at the beginning of the year, Delaney Knudsen was the popular pick for league player of the year.

After an action-packed, competitive, back-and-forth league season, the same player emerged on top.

Those same coaches voted Knudsen in as Foothill League Player of the Year after the Valencia senior helped lead her team to a dramatic league championship.

“To be recognized is awesome, but it’s a team sport,” Knudsen said. “So I’m more proud that our team could all have the success.”

The success didn’t come easily.

Valencia had to win numerous tight matches, including a 3-2 victory over West Ranch on Oct. 30 to clinch a league title on the final day of Foothill play.

“The league was really competitive this year and so the fact that we were able to win league I feel is the biggest accomplishment,” said Knudsen, a senior outside hitter who will play beach volleyball at Pepperdine University next season.

Knudsen finished this season with a team-high 361 kills while also adding 292 digs and 219 assists.

She also led the team’s starters with a .258 hitting percentage.

She first played at the varsity level for Valencia as a sophomore, when she immediately began making an impact.

As a junior, she led the team in kills and was named to the All-Foothill and All-Santa Clarita Valley first team.

Knudsen was one of the team’s primary offensive weapons and she demonstrated versatility with her defensive skills as well as her ability to play setter and block.

“I never really thought about (winning Player of the Year) during the season, but I thought about it before that and how cool it would be,” Knudsen said.

Her teammate and co-captain Sierra Sanchez was honored as a first-teamer, as was fellow Vikings senior Hayley Knapp.

Sanchez and Knudsen were the core of the team throughout the year, and Knapp provided a strong presence up front as a blocker.

Also on the first team are Hart seniors Katie Baker and Kathryn Cambra. Those two helped Hart tie for second place in league.

The other second-place finisher was West Ranch, which placed senior Sarah McGough and junior Alexis Clewis on the first team.

Saugus senior setter Ashley Guthrie rounded out the Foothill’s first-team selections.

Valencia senior Kellie Kleszcz and sophomore Lindsey Knudsen made the second team along with Hart senior Amy King and sophomore Erin Indermill.

Carly Carapella (West Ranch senior), Lauren Underwood (Canyon senior) and Hannah Nua (Saugus senior) completed the list of second-teamers.

The league’s honorable mentions included Canyon senior Mackenzie Thurston, Golden Valley senior Katie Nicholson, Hart sophomore Chase Tengberg, Saugus sophomore Julianna Dole, Valencia sophomore Kaity Uythoven and West Ranch junior Haley Lind.


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