All-Empire Large School Volleyball: All eyes on Sonoma’s Albrecht

Sonoma Valley's Mackenzie Albrecht, the All-Empire Large School Volleyball Player of the Year. (CONNER JAY / The Press Democrat)

Sonoma Valley’s Mackenzie Albrecht, the All-Empire Large School Volleyball Player of the Year. (CONNER JAY / The Press Democrat)

By ALLIE COLOSKY
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

On the court, Mackenzie Albrecht commands the attention and controls the game as the setter for the Sonoma Valley volleyball team.

Off the court, this shy, multisport athlete deflects all praise onto her teammates, and that ability to give back to her team has made a world of difference for the All-Empire Large Schools Girls Volleyball Player of the Year.

“My real self is completely different than my performer self,” Albrecht said. “On the court, I am more competitive and I don’t want to take no for an answer.

“Off the court, I am calm and a little shy.”

A junior setter who led the Sonoma County League with 705 assists, Albrecht has accumulated more than 1,000 assists in her three years with the varsity volleyball team. She also managed to pound out 83 kills, 36 aces, and scrambled for 256 digs this season.

“Obviously, her athleticism is through the freaking roof,” coach Chelsea Scott said. “I’m impressed by something she does every single time she plays, but she doesn’t act like she’s better than anyone, despite all the talents she’s been blessed with.”

Albrecht, named all-league in her first two years with the Dragons, has an athleticism and leadership that helped play a crucial role in her early success.

“The momentum can change at any time, and that’s what makes it so interesting,” Albrecht said, explaining her love for the game.

“I love being a setter because I feel like I have control over the court. It’s like being the quarterback of the football team.”

Albrecht said what sets her apart is her “will to win,” but then credited her teammates for that.

“The fire inside is fueled by the whole team,” she said. “We all had the will to win.”

Despite some rough patches to start, Albrecht said that the ability to overcome adversity made the Dragons a stronger unit in their playoff campaign. With Albrecht as their leader, the Dragons posted their third consecutive SCL title with a 30-7 overall record and an 11-1 mark in league play.

They lost in four games to Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland in a North Coast Section tournament semifinal.

After her successful junior season, Albrecht shifted to the Dragons’ basketball team while continuing to play volleyball with the Empire Volleyball Club, where Scott also coaches a few of her school team members.

“Her work ethic is not that of a normal 17-year-old girl, and yet she is the most humble kid there is,” Scott marveled.

“I’ve never seen someone push themselves as hard as she does. If she isn’t physically doing her best, she’s still giving to her teammates.”

For now, Albrecht is learning all about supporting her basketball teammates, as she’s watching from the bench while recovering from a recent shoulder injury. The immobility is proving to be a test for someone as active as Albrecht.

“It’s rough just sitting around,” she said.

Having committed to playing volleyball at Cal, Albrecht said that a fourth league title is obviously a goal, but that the team wants to take it to state next season. It’s a goal that will be a pleasure for her coaches to witness, Scott said.

“She’s the kind of kid who makes you want to keep doing your job,” Scott said.

“It’s an honor to be a part of her success.”

 

ALL-EMPIRE LARGE SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL TEAM

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Mackenzie Albrecht, Sonoma Valley, junior, setter

FIRST TEAM
Katie Breuer, Petaluma, junior, outside hitter
Courtney Seda, Maria Carrillo, senior, outside hitter
Claire Brady, Maria Carrillo, junior, outside hitter
Delaney Swanson, Sonoma Valley, junior, outside hitter
Maddie Mehciz, Petaluma, junior, setter
Becky Cooter, Analy, junior, middle blocker

SECOND TEAM
Alyssa McClure, Petaluma, junior, outside hitter
Ciara Smith, Sonoma Valley, junior, outside hitter
Sina Fuiva, Analy, senior, outside hitter
Abby Groth, Analy, junior, setter
Kelsea Healis, Rancho Cotate, senior, setter
Gina Piccinini, Analy, senior, middle blocker

COACH OF THE YEAR
Ally Sather, Maria Carrillo

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