LCC volleyball standout receives CIF Sportsmanship Award

LCC senior Teal Carder
LCC senior Teal Carder

(Ken Grosse)

In a season full of twists and turns, an unexpected moment in the aftermath of the La Costa Canyon girls’ volleyball team’s CIF Open Division final loss to Cathedral Catholic provided a memorable finish to the prep career of Maverick senior Teal Carder.

The 5-11 middle blocker, a part of LCC’s regular rotation in the CIF Playoffs, but definitely more role player than star for the 30-13 Coastal League champions, was named winner of the CIF Sportsmanship Award, an honor bestowed upon one member of each team participating in CIF Championship competition in all sports. Since the Mavericks had not reached a CIF Volleyball final in 10 years, it was not that remarkable that the tribute caught the second-year varsity player off guard.

“I was completely surprised, I’d never even heard of it or seen anybody get it,” said Carder, whose unique first name is a nod to her mother’s favorite color. “I had to ask my coaches what to do.” That didn’t mean the accolade was any less meaningful.

“Honestly, I was super overwhelmed in a good way,” she added. “I’m very appreciative and grateful that the coaches thought I was worthy of being selected—I’m not a captain or anything.

“Given that it was announced at the CIF Championship match after a season where we overcame a lot of adversity and won the league title for the first time in years, it might have been the most memorable moment in my high school career.”

According to fourth-year La Costa Canyon Head Coach Rachel Morris, nominating Carder for the distinction was an easy choice.

“There were countless reasons for selecting Teal but the biggest is that she’s the ultimate team player, regardless of her role at any particular time” said Morris. “Early on this year, she wasn’t playing a ton but her work ethic and attitude didn’t change—she constantly tries to always be there for her teammates.”

The 17-year-old Carder is still in the process of determining whether to pursue her athletic career post-high school. She’s currently researching Cal Poly, Utah and Arizona among potential collegiate destinations.

“I would still like to play volleyball but it might just be at the club level,” she said. “I want to focus on school and not worry about being stressed out by the time commitment intercollegiate volleyball might require.”

The CIF San Diego Section initiated the award program to “support the highest ideals of good sportsmanship, fair play and the principles of pursuing victory with honor.” It is intended to recognize an individual that “competed all year with dignity, respect for his/her opponents, team and community.”

Junior Sienna Kotsay of CIF Open Division title winner Cathedral Catholic also received the 2021 CIF Sportsmanship Award for girls volleyball.