An unexpected run to a share of a second straight Prep League boys' volleyball championship for Flintridge Prep was eventually followed by an anticipated and easy awards decision.
Rebels sophomore outside hitter Dante Fregoso was named the league's co-MVP along with Chadwick outside hitter Connor Lucier on the recently released league awards list.
As Flintridge Prep and Chadwick both shared a portion of the league crown, each team's best player also split the league's highest accolade.
"This is a totally deserved honor," Rebels Coach Sean Beattie said. "I don't think there was ever any real doubt with Dante. If you look at his stats, and especially his kills, he has like a 100 more kills than the next person in league. He deserves the award."
Fregoso shined in a year in which not much was expected for Flintridge Prep.
The Rebels lost 13 of 15 players from an undefeated Prep League title squad that advanced to the 2013 CIF Southern Section Division IV quarterfinals.
"I honestly didn't know how this season would play out," Fregoso said. "We lost almost everyone from last year and it was virtually a new team. It's hard to predict how a new team is going to do when you don't know how half the players will respond."
Fregoso was the squad's anchor, finishing with 398 kills or an average of 5.1 kills per game. Fregoso's game was well-rounded, though, as he led the team with 285 digs and 37 aces and was fourth in blocks with 38.
"Obviously, it's a big honor to be one of the top players in the Prep League," Fregoso said. "It's something that I never would have expected before the season."
As for the Rebels, they posted an 18-7 overall record and advanced to the second round of the Division IV playoffs.
Maybe the biggest match all season was the Rebels' come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Pasadena Poly on May 6 in which the team fell behind 0-2.
Fregoso led the way with 31 kills and even asked to be set from the back row on a few occasions.
"I did that a couple of times," Fregoso said of the win that clinched a share of the league title. "My main thing in that game was just telling the guys that we weren't going to lose to Poly."
Other than Fregoso, senior middle blocker Trip Westmoreland was the only other returner with any type of experience.
The Chapman University-bound senior was second on the team with kills, tallying 220 or 2.8 per game, and was also named to the All-Prep League first team.
"I'm really honored with the award because it means I've come a long way," Westmoreland said. "It's special because I didn't know I'd get it."
Westmoreland paced the Rebels with 72 blocks and added 48 digs and 19 aces, while perhaps his biggest contribution was his intensity.
"Trip brought energy to this team when we most needed it," Beattie said. "This was a team that, at times, was a little too relaxed and Trip knew how to fire them up."
The Rebels merited two league second-team selections in senior outside hitter Kyle Law (133 kills and 222 digs) and junior libero Zack Picker (255 digs).
"Kyle Law surprised us this year," Beattie said. "He played minimal volleyball prior to this year, but played out of his mind this year. Offensively, he was so crafty and always found a way to get around the block.
"As for Zack, he was our [junior varsity] libero last year and was nails passing for us this year. I'm looking forward to having him back next year. I'm actually looking forward to having a team come back next year."
Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.