By Arnie Leshin
Coaches usually provide a few good words when discussing their All-District players, but St. Michael’s girls head coach Martin Esquibal didn’t go overboard, just needed to offer more than just a few good words.
“I’m very happy for Cia and Joelyn to be selected,” he said in regard to his two seniors being honored after devoting so much time and talent to the program. “They are both very deserving.”
“Cia,” he said, “had been with the program at St. Michael’s since 7th grade, with four years having her on the varsity. She was outstanding throughout. She handled the ball, controlled the game, and did this against all types of pressure.
“Cia relished being in the game at crucial times, and was most consistent, often insulated and still managing to score, rebound and assist. Her leadership was also key.”
Only 5-foot-2, give or take an inch, Alvarez also played a big part on the state championship volleyball team, as well as handling several positions and being lead-off batter on the softball team since her freshmen year, with her father, Joe, now the head coach in her final fling.
On the basketball court, she averaged 7.1 scoring per game, and had 3-point averages a game in steals, assists and rebounds.
Joelyn is the youngest of track and field and football head coach Joey Fernandez stellar athletes. His one son and four daughters are St. Michael’s ograduates, and in her sophomore season on the basketball team, Joelyn got to play with Jocelyn.
Also on the volleyball and track and field teams, she showed marked improvement each time out, and basketball was included because she worked hard and provided an excellent attitude.
Said Esquibal: “Her attitude and demeanor in practice and in games made Joelyn a team leader. She was an extremely resilient player who took hard fouls on defense and offense. Being knocked down didn’t bother her, and she also hung in there, never quitting and always taking charges, and always responding to the situation.
“And she always wanted to be the one to carry out the toughest assignments on defense, get key baskets, and hit 3s. She was on the varsity since her sophomore year and it was great to have Joelyn and Jocelyn on the team at that time.
In her five years as a Lady Horsemen, Joelyn just put in extra time playing basketball, volleyball, and making a rapid improvement in track and field, especially in the 100 and 300 hurdles, the sprints, the relays, and even tried some field events.
In hoops, she averaged 14 points a game, 4 rebounds per fray, and 3 steals a game. Her average for tossing in 3s was 26 percent.