Kelsey Humphreys just got back from a special trip in Louisville, Ky.
One day she watched the women's volleyball Final Four inside the KFC Yum! Center. The next day she competed in the same arena, on the same court.
As one of 24 senior girls, Humphreys played in the Under Armour High School All-America Volleyball Match on Dec. 14. Talk about an experience for the Corona del Mar High setter.
"It was a real cool atmosphere," Humphreys said. "[Fans] didn't fill the arena as much as they did for the NCAA semifinal matches [between Oregon and Penn State, and Texas and Michigan], but there was a big Jumbotron and you could see your face on the screen."
For once, Humphreys didn't have to worry about the ball hitting the ceiling. No longer will she have to deal with small high school gyms as she is bound for Stanford after wrapping up an impressive CdM career.
Humphreys is the Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year in girls' volleyball. She made the Dream Team for the second straight year.
In Humphreys' final season, she amassed 888 assists and earned first-team Under Armour All-America, first-team All-CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA, first-team All-Orange County and Pacific Coast League MVP honors. All that was missing from Humphreys' standout season was a CIF Southern Section title.
Humphreys led the Sea Kings to another deep run in the playoffs, only to fall short of the ultimate prize again. The program made the jump to Division 1-AA, the section's highest, and it reached the semifinals and lost at top-seeded Redondo Union in three sets.
"I think we exceeded a lot of expectations," said Humphreys, adding that while CdM advanced to the section title match in her junior and freshman season, it was in lower divisions. "The competition was hard [in Division 1-AA] and we handled it very well. We battled every team."
Two battles that stood out to Humphreys this season went four sets at CdM (28-7, 10-0 in league), which won the league crown.
The biggest match is always the Battle of the Bay against rival Newport Harbor. In the annual contest, Humphreys helped CdM beat the Sailors for the third straight year.
The other match came in the quarterfinals against Mater Dei. The previous two matchups the private school swept CdM each time.
To make things more interesting, Humphreys' younger brother, Ben, attends Mater Dei, where he's a rising football star.
At the start of last month's match, Ben was on Mater Dei's side. After the Sea Kings won the first set, Ben switched allegiances.
"He came over to the CdM side," said Humphreys, who dished out 52 assists in the Sea Kings' upset victory against fourth-seeded Mater Dei. "He had a CdM shirt underneath his jacket and he brought out a sign that said 'Family First' with a picture of me on it."
The Humphreys sure seem to stick together. They also seem to go to Stanford after high school.
Kelsey is the next in the family. Her mother, Wendy, and father, Brad, played for the Cardinal. Wendy stood out in volleyball and Brad in football.
"They didn't pressure me to go there," Humphreys said of her mother, who earned All-American honors as a setter, and father, who earned All-Pac 10 honors as a safety. "I could've gone to another school and probably started right away or had a better chance of playing right away, but I decided to go to a school that has a strong program and strong academics. I like the idea of a challenge."
Below are the rest of the players on this year's Dream Team: