High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Benet Academy

Eye on POY: Illinois softball

June, 4, 2012
6/04/12
9:30
AM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. 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.

Brianna LeBeau
Senior right-handed pitcher/infielder, Richards (Oak Lawn, Ill.)

2012 Team record: 30-5 (Class 4A)
2012 Team standing: Lost Class 4A sectional semis to Mother McAuley (Chicago, Ill.), 8-0

2012 Batting average: .591
2012 RBI: 41
2012 Runs: 48

2012 W-L record: 21-5
2012 ERA: 0.88
2012 Strikeouts: 158

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Northwestern University

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Produced a .989 slugging percentage and .658 on-base percentage. Belted 23 doubles, four triples and two home runs. Stole 22 bases. Recorded nine shutouts in the circle. 2010-11 Gatorade Illinois Softball Player of the Year. 2011 Chicago Tribune Female Athlete of the Year. 2011 First Team All-State selection as named by the Illinois Coaches Association. Three-time South Suburban Conference Player of the Year.

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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"

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POY Potential: Top 5 Ill. volleyball recruits

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
1:23
PM ET
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. Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.) middle blocker Meghan Haggerty
  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: No. 14
  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Club: Sports Performance
  • College: University of Wisconsin (verbal)
  • John Tawa, publisher of PrepVolleyball.com: "Haggerty is a big, strong middle blocker with great range. Extremely athletic with a 10-4 approach touch, she’s mobile side to side and puts up a monster block. She has an extremely fast arm, big time power and the ability to hit the most difficult angles. An intense competitor who has worked hard to turn herself into a point scoring machine. Haggerty is a proven winner, great teammate and leader by example."

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