Sunday, December 4, 2011
Eye on POY: Florida volleyball
By Ben Rohrbach
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.
Nicole Walch is the returning Florida Dairy Farmers Association Class 5A Player of the Year.
Nicole Walch Senior outside hitter, Martin County (Stuart, Fla.)
2011 Team record: 27-5
2011 Team standing: Class 7A state champions; No. 38 on ESPNHS FAB 50
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Florida State University
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Amassed 30 kills, 15 digs, four service aces, two blocks and one assist in a 3-1 Class 7A state title victory against Winter Springs. Recorded a .502 kill percentage and .335 hitting percentage. Averaged 6.5 kills and 2.7 digs per set. No. 53 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by PrepVolleyball.com. 2011 A2 Junior National Team member. 2011 Under Armour Honorable Mention All-American. 2010 Florida Dairy Farmers Association Class 5A Player of the Year. 2009 Class 5A state champion.
Jordan Burgess Senior outside hitter, Berkeley Prep (Tampa, Fla.)
2011 Team record: 30-2
2011 Team standing: Class 4A state champions; No. 5 on ESPNHS FAB 50
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Stanford University
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Produced 15 kills, 13 digs, four blocks, one service ace and one assist in a 3-1 Class 4A state title victory against Bishop Moore. Averaged 5.9 kills and 3.9 digs per set. Owned a .526 kill percentage and .457 hitting percentage. 2010-11 Gatorade Florida Volleyball Player of the Year. No. 3 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by PrepVolleyball.com. 2011 Under Amour First Team All-America selection. 2011 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team member. 2011 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships All-Tournament selection. 2011 Under Armour First Team All-American. 2010 and 2011 Amateur Athletic Union Junior National Girls’ Volleyball Championships All-American; 2010 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships Most Valuable Player. 2010 ESPNHS National Junior of the Year. 2010 Player of the Year as named by the Florida Dairy Farmers Association. 2009 and 2010 Class 3A state champion. 2009 FDFA Class 3A Player of the Year.
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.