The Ramona High School girls water polo banquet March 6 saw senior Kaylee Nelson selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player. “She always had the skills and stuff, but I think she matured as a player,” Coach Donnie Williams said of Nelson. “Those other traits that are required are what makes you an MVP.”
Nelson was a driver for the Ramona team which finished the season with a 15-13 record, including a 6-4 Valley League mark. She was selected to the Valley League’s first team.
“When you can make the rest of your team better, that’s when you’re that type of player,” Williams said.
The banquet’s awards saw senior Autumn Hillis earn the team’s Playmaker Award.
“She did do all the little things that need to be done,” Williams said. “Just always doing the little things that made things happen, whether it’s defensively or offensively.”
Hillis earned second-team all-league honors. Senior Kelly DeGraaf earned the team’s Coaches’ Award.
“She was such a force for the other two-meter players to match up with,” Williams said.
DeGraaf had two years of water polo experience and made the varsity for the first time as a senior. Her relative lack of experience didn’t prevent her from earning a majority of the playing time and receiving second-team Valley League honors.
“Put the work in in practice,” Williams said of DeGraaf.
The Best Defensive Player Award went to senior goalie Jessica Patterson, who had played the field in her previous seasons.
“She stepped up and played goalie,” Williams said. “She got a majority of the playing time and directed the offense and defense through what had to happen.”
Patterson received honorable mention all-league distinction.
The awards banquet also saw Williams present certificates for letters and academic awards.
“All the girls deserved it,” Williams said of the broader recognition. “Everybody works hard and only a few get to be recognized,” Williams said. “Every one of them earned the right to stand up there.”
The awards banquet also included junior varsity awards. Brianna Hogervorst was the JV’s Most Valuable Player, Rebecca Van Tol received Most Improved, and Amanda Carasiti was presented with the Coaches’ Award.
“It went good,” Williams said of the banquet. “There were a lot of senior girls going by the wayside, so it was pretty emotional for everybody.”