The window on the Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year race is closing, and time is running out for student-athletes to state their POY case. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.
Senior setter/right-side hitter, Woodrow Wilson (Long Beach, Calif.)
2011 Team record: 19-12 (Division I)
2011 Team standing: lost CIF Southern Section Division I-AA semifinal to Thousand Oaks, 3-1
2011 Kills: 315
2011 Digs: 163
2011 Assists: 59
2011 Blocks: 42
Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: UCLA
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Generated a .388 hitting percentage and .514 kill percentage. Averaged 5.0 kills and 2.8 digs per set this season. No. 8 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by PrepVolleyball.com. Captured All-Tournament honors in leading her Sports Shack club team to back-to-back USA Volleyball Junior Nationals 18 Open national championships. Member of the 2011 USA Beach Volleyball Junior National Team. Two-time returning First Team All-League selection.
Senior outside hitter, Presentation (San Jose, Calif.)
2011 Team record: 39-2 (Division II)
2011 Team standing: Division II state semifinal vs. St. Francis on Tuesday; No. 19 ranked team on ESPNHS FAB 50
2011 Kills: 543
2011 Digs: 447
2011 Blocks: 58
2011 Aces: 32
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Duke University
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Recorded 16 digs and 15 kills in 3-1 Division II state semifinal victory against Rocklin. Owns a .342 hitting percentage and .419 kill percentage. Averages 4.7 kills, 4.2 service receptions and 3.9 digs per set. No. 28 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by PrepVolleyball.com. 2010 Player of the Year as named by the San Jose Mercury News.
Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011 campaign.
Melanie Wade: Palo Alto (Calif.) senior middle blocker/outside hitter
Cassie Strickland: Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.) senior outside hitter
Taylor Racich: Dos Pueblos (Goleta, Calif.) senior right-side hitter
Brittany Howard: Mountain View (Calif.) senior outside hitter
Lauren Fuller: Marymount (Los Angeles, Calif.) senior setter
Morgan Cormier: Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.) senior middle blocker/outside hitter