It was two years ago that Christine Alftin transferred to Woodside.
During Christmas break of her sophomore year, the girls’ volleyball standout left St. Francis to join a Wildcats team that had recently finished in last place in the Peninsula Athletic League’s lower Ocean Division.
In two years time, Alftin has led Woodside on as good of a worst-to-first trajectory as possible. After a winless season in 2011, the Wildcats have won back-to-back division titles – claiming the Ocean Division title in 2012 then moving up to prevail as Bay Division champions this season – while posting a 45-22 overall record.
Alftin was by far the PAL’s best player on the league’s best team, and it’s for this reason the senior has been selected as The San Mateo Daily Journal Girls’ Volleyball Player of the Year.
“My name has come up in quite a few newspapers, but really volleyball is such a team sport that without anyone else one the court – without anyone else – we wouldn’t have been where we were,” Alftin said.
Indeed, a major factor in Woodside’s success has been the transfer element. Alftin joined the Wildcats midway through her junior season along with fellow current senior Dani Walsh, who transferred from Bishop O’Dowd. This year, another tandem of starters in Heilani and Haili Hoeft transferred from Franklin.
“Based off of the last few years Woodside volleyball has had, the expectations weren’t very high for our team,” Alftin said. “But I think that the addition of the two sisters Heilani and Haili … we most definitely wouldn’t have gone to CCS without them. So, thank goodness for them transferring here – and also Dani Walsh.”
As Alftin prepares to graduate to the collegiate level at Cal next season, the 6-foot-1 outside hitter leaves a legacy as one of the greatest girls’ volleyball player in Woodside history. Even after having to sit out the first half of her junior year as per transfer rules, she totaled 1,734 kills over two varsity seasons. This year, she racked up 1,226 kills, while pacing the PAL with 5.7 kills per set en route to earning PAL MVP honors.
Alftin brings much more to the court than attacking prowess though. She also dominates both sides of the service game, having racked up 50 aces this year, while tabbing 3.6 serve receives per set. As an outright defender, she was also a team leader this season, ranking second on the squad with 4.2 digs per set, and third with 30 total blocks.
“I think the best players are the most diverse,” Alftin said. “And I think the runner-up to that would be the best leader, because volleyball is such a mental sport … there’s so much emotion into it rather than any other sport. It’s so important to stay positive and be a leader for your team.”
Currently, Alftin is gearing up for her second season with the prestigious Vision 18 Gold squad. With the club circuit getting started in January, Vision touts a star-studded lineup this season along with Pauli King (Menlo-Atherton) and Maddie Dilfer (Valley Christian).