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Bay Area Female Fall Athlete of the Year: Anne Marie Schmidt, playing the under-celebrated libero, was the linchpin to Archbishop Mitty’s perfect season Archbishop Mitty... Defensive Dynamo

Bay Area Female Fall Athlete of the Year: Anne Marie Schmidt, playing the under-celebrated libero, was the linchpin to Archbishop Mitty’s perfect season

Archbishop Mitty girls volleyball Brett Almazan-Cezar fondly recalls his first memory of Anne Marie Schmidt.

“She was about 10, at one of our summer camps,” he said. “She had to be the brightest, most enthusiastic kids we’ve ever had there. She’d shag every ball. She’d somehow be involved with every play.

“I remember thinking I just hoped she’d get a little bigger.”

Schmidt didn’t. Not relatively to her classmates. She grew to 5-foot-6, by grown female standards, average. By volleyball criteria — small, short, tiny. Schmidt had heard it all before around volleyball circles. It didn’t matter.

“Her enthusiasm won out,” Almazan-Cezar said.

The upbeat, infectious defensive starlet led Mitty to a rather shocking 38-0 record, a No. 2 national ranking by MaxPreps and a state-record ninth CIF state title.

From her under-appreciated, unspectacular-but-vital libero position, Schmidt recorded a gaudy 570 digs with 465 serve receptions with just — get this — 23 errors. She also served at 95.5 percent with 22 aces.

For it she was a unanimous selection as the West Catholic Athletic League’s Player of the Year, the team’s only first-team All-American pick by MaxPreps and for it all is the Bay Area SportStars Female Fall Athlete of the Year.

“How cool is that?” Almazan-Cezar asked rhetorically.

Schmidt, a 4.2 student who is headed to USC on a volleyball scholarship, tried to answer his question.

“I’ve been utterly blown away by it all (the postseason awards),” she said. “Usually the big hitter or the great setter is recognized and rightfully so. I’m extremely surprised and honored that I’ve been honored.

“At the same time, I hope this definitely shows that defense makes a difference and that hard work does pay off. I’ve dedicated most of my free time to this sport and this shows that it was all worth it.”

Almazan-Cezar will second that. He said Schmidt had the perfect demeanor to lead the Monarchs: calm, yet cool. Her personality fit her play. She was steady and smart opposed to spectacular and sporadic.

“Very quick, very agile,” her coach said. “She let all her knowledge and reading of the court carry her and us. She was just always in the right place at the right time and she always got our offense started.”

As their record indicated, the season was just about perfect. This coming off sub-par back-to-back 12-loss seasons.

“It was awesome,” Schmidt said of the season. “Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to end my last year playing high school volleyball. … We just stayed in the present all season. We were always in the moment. We trusted each other and kept consistent and did our job.”



• THE STATS: The court — 570 digs, 465 serve receptions, 23 errors, 95.5 service percentage, 22 aces. The classroom — 4.2 grade point average.

• THE AWARDS: Unanimous West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year; MaxPreps first-team All-American 

• THE ATHLETIC FAMILY: Dad David played football at San Ramon Valley-Danville and UC Davis with Jets quarterback Ken O’Brien; mom Kathy swam and ran track at California High-San Ramon; sister Kelly played volleyball at Mitty; brother John played basketball and football at Mitty.

• FAVORITES: Actor, Vince Vaughn; Actress, Julia Roberts; TV show, Suits/Modern Family; Athletic idol, Team USA libero Nicole Davis.


— Mitch Stephens

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