MOUNTAIN VIEW -- When the Mountain View boys volleyball team needed big points in its run to section and regional championships, it knew to put the ball in Alec Flowers' hands.
The 6-foot-6 middle blocker closed out a tense five-set match against St. Francis with a kill in the Central Coast Section Division I final.
Twelve days later, Flowers had the decisive kill again as Mountain View beat St. Francis for the fourth time in five matches this season, this time in the Northern California Division I championship match.
As a middle blocker, Flowers was not in all the rotations for the Spartans. But when he was in a match, he made the biggest impact on the area's best team. For this, the senior is Mercury News boys volleyball player of the year.
"I know some people are going to say Alec played half the time or half the rotations," Mountain View coach M. Anthony Chen said. "But he was so dominant when he was on the court, it changed the way the game was played."
One stat and one story tell how much Flowers meant to a team loaded with talent and experience.
The stat: Flowers finished the season with a nearly 60 percent kill percentage, an "unruly" number, according to Chen. "When you're talking 60 percent, that's pretty unstoppable," the coach added.
The story: One day at practice, teammate Jake Stuebner recalled, Flowers was so hot that he kept getting fed the ball, over and over. Each time, he converted the opportunities into points, finishing the session with about 20 kills in a row.
Opponents know the feeling.
"From a coaching standpoint, I could plan and adjust for every player in CCS, but had no answer for Flowers," Monta Vista coach Paul Chiu said. "You could not leave him alone and even if we double blocked him, he went around or over the block. He was the most dominant player on the best team in NorCal."
Flowers took up the sport in elementary school, playing in a girls YMCA league. Before long, he was surrounded by future Mountain View teammates. "I kind of got a lot of other people into it," Flowers said, noting Collin Frietzsche and Logan Allen. In high school, Flowers, Frietzsche, Allen, Stuebner and Ryan McLaughlin brought a high level of cohesiveness and skill to a team that reached a CCS final and the NorCal playoffs last season. From the early days of this season, the group aimed to win the championships it did not get last year, a mission the team achieved.
"Any one of the seniors could have been the MVP," said Flowers, who plans to walk on at UC San Diego. "Without them, I would not have been as recognized. It is a team sport in the end. They are all amazing players."
ALL MERCURY NEWS BOYS VOLLEYBALL TEAM
Ian Aguilar, Archbishop Mitty, senior
Aaron Dierkes, Leigh, senior
Alec Flowers, Mountain View, senior
Joel Kitchen, Homestead, senior
Matt Larson, St. Francis, senior
Ryan McLaughlin, Mountain View, senior
Ryan Manley, Monta Vista, senior
Avery Ayslworth, St. Francis, junior
Logan Allen, Mountain View, senior
Steven Dinneen, St. Francis, junior
Collin Frietzsche, Mountain View, senior
Jacob Patterson, Los Gatos, junior
Parsa Rezvani, Homestead, senior
Jake Stuebner, Mountain View, senior
Justin Beville, Westmont; Sam Bhatia. Serra; Kyle Bugee, Homestead; Brannon Cha, Leland; Max Chamberlain, Willow Glen; Chris Davis, Leigh; Brian Fazzino, Westmont; Josh Ferguson, Leigh; Nick Gentry, Bellarmine College Prep; Aaron Huang, Lynbrook; Alex Li, Monta Vista; Markus Melbardis, Leigh; Ryan Moore, Westmont; Christian Newkirk, Leland; Chase Palumbo, The King's Academy; Joseph Simmons, St. Ignatius; Chris Stapleton, Bellarmine College Prep; Andre Vigano, Sobrato; Andrew Zhu, Harker
COACH OF THE YEAR
M. Anthony Chen, Mountain View