All-Empire volleyball: Seitz player of the year

Caylie Seitz, Maria Carrillo, Sr., outside hitter

Caylie Seitz, Maria Carrillo

Volleyball Player of the Year:

Outstanding as an outside hitter, Caylie Seitz wanted to be great as a complete volleyball player.

The realization set in during a junior year that would land Maria Carrillo’s best player — notable given the Pumas’ years of dominance — an All-Empire first-team spot.

Proving she could pass and dig as well as pound winners, Seitz was an even greater force on the court as a senior to earn this season’s All-Empire Player of the Year honors.

“I definitely felt like during my junior year I really had to step it up and push for going away to play in college,” Seitz said. “I tried to get in the gym as much as I could.”

Capping a stellar career, during the past season Seitz recorded nearly 500 kills, 180 digs and 60 solo blocks. Seitz set Maria Carrillo’s career kills mark, topping several All-Empire greats who played for the Pumas.

“The numbers she has put up will match any top tier player in the state,” said Maria Carrillo coach Jeff Nielson.

Coaches at NCAA Division I programs took notice. After contacts with a handful on both the East and West coasts, Seitz settled on Cal State Bakersfield, an emerging program and a school where Seitz can major in criminology for a career in law enforcement.

“I’m going to be ready for what’s to come. It’s definitely a whole different level. Everyone is good,” she said.

A starter since her sophomore season, Seitz made tremendous improvements to become a top all-around player.
While hitting winners felt good, Seitz sought the desired six-rotation status, playing all positions and rarely coming out.

“I had to prove that I could pass as well as hit and get better at those serve and receive situations,” she said.
Going into her junior year Seitz sharpened passing and digging skills to become a six-rotation player who was a primary passer and defender when not on the front line.

The goal for her senior year was improving fitness to stay strong from the first point to the last in the longest five-set matches. Seitz worked out at a gym more to build strength for better height on jumps and power on kills, and increased her running for greater stamina.

“I could keep up and still be up to my potential,” she said.
Seitz also refined her hitting, making more angled, cross-court kills and winners down the line.

Another highlight was becoming comfortable as a team leader.
“For my team, the way we worked more as a team than individuals was really huge,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun, a great experience.”

— Michael Coit, The Press Democrat

FIRST TEAM
Katie Martin, Rancho Cotate, Sr., middle hitter
Briana Adviento, Analy, Sr., outside hitter
Marla Petrucci, Analy, Sr., setter
Maddie Densberger, St. Helena, Sr., outside hitter
Jersey Witous, Sonoma Valley, Jr., setter
Taylor Brownlee, Maria Carrillo, Jr., outside hitter

SECOND TEAM
Ashley Harris, Casa Grande, So., outside hitter
Courtnie Morton, Rancho Cotate, Sr., middle hitter
Claire Sullivan, Analy, Sr., outside hitter
Paula Clarey, Petaluma, So., outside hitter
Claire Bailey, Rincon Valley Christian, Sr., outside hitter
Kayla Boyce, Maria Carrillo, Jr., libero