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2009 All-area Team ?girls’ Volleyball:

Cool in the clutch

Spartans standout hitter rose to the occasion at every critical moment during season

January 02, 2010|By Seth Amitin

A month later, after all the dust settled, after all the titles won and awards were handed out, no one from La Cañada was able to figure out how they beat Troy.

“After that match, [senior libero] Tara [Rallis and I] looked at each other and asked, ‘How did we do that?’” said McCutchan, who still doesn’t have an answer. “They had everything going for them, they got everything up, it was ridiculous. And they wanted it so bad.”

In November, La Cañada hosted Troy in a CIF Southern Section Division II-A semifinal. Troy, which had lost to La Cañada in the semifinals the year before and returned nearly every player, took the first game with surprising ease. La Cañada took the second game and eked out a win in the third. Troy took the fourth to tie the match, forcing a fifth and final frame.


And then McCutchan found the zone.

She recorded seven kills in the final frame alone and scored five of the Spartans’ final six points of the game to punch their ticket to the finals, beating Troy 18-25, 25-19, 26-24, 13-25, 15-11.

“Well, I was getting all the sets, but I like to think I have that extra ability inside me,” said McCutchan, who had 21 kills in the match, her most in a match all season. “I surprised myself in that game.”

“Courtney was our go-to person,” said La Cañada Coach Brock Turner, “especially in critical situations, from early season matches through the CIF playoffs. She was an on-the-court coach and leader.”

That fifth game was the moment that defined McCutchan’s high school career.

“That game was a lot of fun,” McCutchan said. “It was five games, it was in our gym, so many people were there, it was my senior year. ...Nothing can beat that.”

McCutchan led the Spartans with 390 kills and 48 aces and added 230 digs for the second-best total on the team. Whether she was asked to hold the backline or block up front, she did it and did it well, all the while leading the Spartans to the Division II-A finals and the second round of the CIF Division II State playoffs.

And for that, she was chosen as the 2009 All-Area Girls’ Volleyball Player of the Year by the editors and writers of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun for the second straight season.

Surrounded by Barbies and pink things at an early age, McCutchan looked past all of that and jumped right into sports.

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