Defending Division 1 Champs head to Hawaii to Open 2023-2024 Season

The Sierra Canyon girls volleyball program is trying to pick up right where it left off.

The defending Div. 1 champions are ready and excited about 2023.

The new season starts with a trip to Hawaii to play in the prestigious Iolani Classic in Honolulu.

“It’s an honor to be invited and travel to Hawaii for one of the best tournaments in the country,” Sierra Canyon head coach Stefanie Wigfall said. “We were there last year and we did well. We want to do better and win the tournament this season.”

Wigfall, who guided the Trailblazers to their first ever upper-division title last year in a three-set sweep against Mira Costa at Cerritos College, will lean on a group of Division 1-bound seniors and a host of youngsters.

Leading the way is Danica Rach (Boston College) and Maddie Way (Hawaii). Rach will be counted on to fill the shoes of Olivia Babcock (Pitt). Another top senior is Saugus transfer Taylor Treahy. The 6-foot-1 opposite will be ready to send home some balls over the net. And the Trailblazers should benefit from the arrival of Long Beach Poly’s Halie McGinest.

“I really like our senior leadership this year.” Wigfall said. “We have some experienced players to count on that know our system.”

Sade Ilawole returns as one of the top setters in the area, junior Lauren Lynch is one of the best libero’s in the area and already committed to San Diego.

“They might be little but they are so good,” Wigfall said. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s about the size of the fight in the dog.”

Mia Stewart, Rachael Reyes, Lola Brown and emerging Brandie Boston provide depth and round out a great all-around roster.

“Each player on our team brings a valuable component to the overall success of the team,” Wigfall said. “It’s amazing we have so many players that play a key role.”

Two freshmen that could make an impact are Eva Jeffries and Hanna McGinest. Jeffries’ dad was a standout basketball player at Indiana and was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. McGinest is the younger sister of Halie. The McGinest sisters’ dad is former NFL and USC standout Willie McGinest, three-time Super Bowl winner.

“Eva and Hanna are going to be studs,” Wigfall said. “Bright futures for them and our program.”

The schedule features nonleague contests with La Canada, JSerra, Santa Barbara, Redondo, Buckley, Oaks Christian and Santa Margarita.

Tournaments in Las Vegas and Phoenix will be challenging, as well.

Playoff competition should come from usual suspects Mira Costa, Mater Dei. Huntington Beach, Palos Verdes and Mission League rival Marymount.

Alemany could provide the biggest challenge during Mission League play.