It was almost unfair to the rest of the CIF Southern Section Division III boys’ volleyball teams considering how much talent South Pasadena High had this year, as it swept its way to its first CIF championship.
While Tigers Coach Ben Diaz admitted he had an embarrassment of riches this season with five accomplished seniors and three immediate-impact newcomers, there was one player that stood above the rest —not only from his South Pas teammates, but players from the Rio Hondo League and CIF Southern Section Division III.
Robert Adamson, South Pas opposite hitter, was served with another elite distinction when CIF released its first teams for the seven divisions on Tuesday afternoon. Adamson emerged as the No. 1 talent in Division III, as its player of the year.
“He was a dominant force and big reason why we dominated,” Diaz said of Adamson. “He’s the one that stood out the most in the CIF match. I know we have a well-rounded team, but he stood out the most.”
Adamson, who was also named the Rio Hondo MVP, was not alone in garnering All-CIF praise, as South Pasadena’s David Barker and Richard Yu were also recognized as first-team selections, while Diaz was named the division’s coach of the year.
Diaz dubbed Adamson the team’s best all-around hitter, as he could get kills from the front or the back and constantly moved around and surprised defenses from every angle, and one of its top blockers. He also put up 28 blocks and 27 aces this season.
Barker kept the Tigers’ up-tempo offense moving crisply, as South Pas’ offense, which boasted deadly hitters at each position, had defenses reeling all year.
“It’s tough to lose [Barker] because he knows the system that I like to run, I like it fast-paced,” Diaz said. “It’ll be tough losing him, but someone else always steps up and we have some good young guys coming up.”
Yu, a sophomore transfer from China, was bestowed with a high honor in CIF after emerging in the playoffs.
“He was the best put-away hitter, not the best all-around hitter,” Diaz said. “If anyone was going to put a ball away, it was him.”
While the distinction for Yu, who was also first-team all-league, will certainly set the bar higher for him; Diaz is confident his entire squad is hungry for more success at every level.
“[Yu] knows what he wants already,” Diaz said of how this past season will impact the next. “My young guys know what they want and they want more of it. They want to do it again and again, anyone who wins a championship wants to win it again.”