High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Amy Neal

Texas Volleyball POY: Amy Neal

December, 14, 2011
12/14/11
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A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 49 fellow Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year winners, click here.

National POY Watch: Amy Neal
PrepVolleyball.comAmy Neal earned MVP honors at this summer's 17 Open USA Volleyball Girls' Junior Nationals Volleyball Championships.
THE WINNER: Amy Neal

THE BASICS

School: Lake Travis (Austin, Texas)
Grade: Senior
Position: Outside hitter
Height: 5-foot-10

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Neal led the Cavaliers to a Texas-record 50-0 season, the Class 4A state title and a No. 2 national ranking in the ESPNHS Fab 50 this fall. A 2011-12 Under Armour First Team All-American, she recorded 538 kills, 287 digs and 63 service aces. Neal is a two-time Class 4A State Tournament MVP and a two-time member of the Lone Star Volleyball All-Texas Team. She was also named MVP of the USA Volleyball 17 Open Girls’ Junior National Championships.

Academic excellence: Neal has maintained a 3.39 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A devoted member of her church community, Neal has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics.

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National POY Watch: Volleyball contenders

December, 9, 2011
12/09/11
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Everybody knows a girl’s gotta win her own state first before she gets a shot at being Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year. That said, two elite performers to this point in the season are among those making a bid to be honored as the best of the best once mid-December rolls around. The Gatorade Player of the Year award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court. There’s plenty more work to be done, but here are two top candidates who remain in contention to win their own state and could someday call themselves a National POY.

National POY Watch: Inky Ajanaku
PrepVolleyball.comInky Ajanaku recorded a .634 kill percentage in leading Bishop Kelley (Tulsa, Okla.) to the Class 6A state title.
Inky Ajanaku
Senior middle blocker, Bishop Kelley (Tulsa, Okla.)

2011 Team record: 32-3 (Class 6A)
2011 Team standing: Class 6A state champions; No. 49 on ESPNHS FAB 50

2011 Kills: 537
2011 Blocks: 127
2011 Digs: 29
2011 Aces: 5

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Stanford University

How she’s played herself into the National POY conversation: Collected a match-high 19 kills on 32 swings (.594 kill percentage) in the state title-clinching three-set sweep against Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.). Owned a .525 hitting percentage and .634 kill percentage. Averaged 4.9 kills and 1.2 blocks per set. No. 2 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by PrepVolleyball.com. 2011 Under Armour First Team All-American as named by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. 2010 and 2011 Class 6A state tournament Most Valuable Player. 2010 All-Metro Volleyball Player of the Year as named by the Tulsa World.

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Eye on POY: Texas volleyball

December, 3, 2011
12/03/11
2:19
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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.

Neal
PrepVolleyball.comAmy Neal led Lake Travis to the first 50-win season in Texas history.
Amy Neal
Senior Outside Hitter, Lake Travis High (Austin, TX)

2011 Team record: 50-0
2011 Team standing: Won Class 4A state title

2011 Kills: 538
2011 Blocks: 27
2011 Digs: 287
2011 Aces: 63

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Texas (letter of intent)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: MVP of Class 4A state tournament; MVP of USAV 17 Open Junior Nationals in 2011; Under Armour First Team All-American; Team ranked No. 1 by PrepVolleyball.com; Ranked No. 18 senior by PrepVolleyball.com.

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POY Potential: Top 5 Texas volleyball recruits

October, 27, 2011
10/27/11
6:46
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The Gatorade Player of the Year Program honors athletes who meet comprehensive and exacting criteria in high school sports. Candidates are judged on athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders also must demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of PrepVolleyball.com's Senior Aces rankings.

That being said, the state’s top five recruits as ranked by PrepVolleyball.com are sure to enter the 2011-12 Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year conversation at some point. Here they are …

1. Klein Collins High (Spring, TX) Middle Blocker Molly McCage

  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: 1
  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Club: Woodlands Wave
  • College: Texas (verbal)
  • John Tawa, publisher of PrepVolleyball.com: "Blessed with exceptional speed and mobility from pin to pin and natural blocking ability, McCage is arguably the best blocker in the 2012 class. McCage, who rises off the floor with effortless grace and reaches into the rafters at about 10-7, captained the USA Youth National team to a Gold Medal, earning a berth to the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and the 2011 FIVB World championships. Hitting from a very high contact point, MCCage has incredible range as an attacker, and can pretty much score at will from anywhere on the court."

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