Eye on POY: Illinois volleyball

December, 9, 2011
12/09/11
12:31
PM ET
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.

Alexis Viliunas
file photoAlexis Viliunas is a top candidate for Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year
Alexis Viliunas
Senior setter/outside hitter, Lyons Township (LaGrange, Ill.)

2011 Team record: 30-9
2011 Team standing: Lost in Class 4A quarterfinals

2011 Kills: 320
2011 Blocks: 43
2011 Digs: 300
2011 Aces: 54
2011 Assists: 644

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Illinois

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2011 Chicago Tribune Volleyball Player of the Year; 2011-12 AVCA Under Armour Second Team All-American; PrepVolleyball.com No. 34 "Senior Ace"

Sam Epenesa
Senior outside hitter, Edwardsville (Ill.)

2011 Team record: 34-6
2011 Team standing: Lost in Class 4A quarterfinals

2011 Kills: 346
2011 Blocks: 63
2011 Digs: 192
2011 Aces: 66

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Purdue

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2011 Conference Player of the Year; PrepVolleyball.com No. 33 "Senior Ace"; 2011-12 AVCA Under Armour Second Team All-American

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.

Meghan Haggerty: Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.) senior middle blocker
Jenna Jendryk: Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.) senior right side hitter
Abby Gilliland: Marian Central Catholic (Woodstock, Ill.) senior setter
Ally Davis: Hinsdale Central (Hinsdale, Ill.) senior outside hitter

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com or Twitter @ESPNHS_Awards.

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