In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, has announced its nationwide High School girls' volleyball state Player of the Year awards.
Here's a look at the New England-based winners:
(Note: Vermont does not sanction high school volleyball.)
CONNECTICUT: MARINA ROSE, SR. OUTSIDE HITTER, COVENTRY
The 5-foot-9 senior outside hitter led the Patriots (24-0) to a seventh consecutive Class S state championship this past season. A three-time Class S First Team All-State selection as named by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, Rose amassed 447 kills, 409 digs, 99 service aces, 34 blocks and 10 assists. She compiled a .708 hitting percentage and .781 kill percentage. In a Class S state championship sweep of Holy Cross, she recorded 17 kills, 16 digs, three blocks, two service aces and two assists, earning tournament Most Valuable Player honors.
Also a basketball standout, Rose has maintained a 3.05 GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating her time as a youth volleyball and basketball coach, she has volunteered on behalf of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, the Covenant Soup Kitchen, Operation Shoebox serving America’s armed forces and the 30 Hour Famine end-hunger initiative.
“She is so, so smooth a player in all aspects of the game,” said Paul Thees, head coach of rival Trumbull High. “It’s amazing. Her team was No. 1 in the state for a reason. That’s the main reason. That kid. She was just unbelievable. Everything she did—in the All-Star Game, too—was just so smooth.”
Rose has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at Providence College beginning in the fall of 2013.
Rose joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Volleyball Players of the Year Kyley Reed (2011-12, Rocky Hill High School), Madison McCaffery (2010-11, Fairfield Ludlowe High School), Tessa Smolinski (2009-10, RHAM), Erika Videtto (2008-09, RHAM) and Janice Ehorn (2007-08, Amity Regional) among the state’s list of former award winners.
MAINE: MARIAH HEBERT, SR. SETTER, BIDDEFORD
The 5-foot-7 senior setter amassed 350 assists, 56 digs, 48 service aces, 25 kills and 12 blocks this past season, leading the Tigers (16-1) to the Class A state championship match. Also the Player of the Year as named by the Maine Sunday Telegram and Journal Tribune, Hebert compiled an .800 kill percentage. In three playoff matches, Hebert averaged 7.5 assists, 1.6 digs, 1.3 kills and 1.3 service aces per set before suffering a concussion midway through a 3-1 Class A state championship loss to Greely.
Hebert has maintained a 4.95 weighted GPA in the classroom and serves on her school’s homecoming committee. In addition to donating her time to Biddeford’s peer mentorship program, she has volunteered locally on behalf of the Salvation Army, the United Way, the Biddeford Recreation Department, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, Rotary International’s Interact club, a community Thanksgiving fundraiser, a breast cancer awareness campaign and a charity bottle drive.
“She had the best hands I’ve seen in a high school player,” said Todd Brophy, head coach of rival Mt. Desert Island High. “She made excellent decisions setting and mixed up her sets really well. The quality of her ball was probably the best in the state, as far as unbelievable consistency. She dominated the All-Star Showcase and won MVP between her setting and serving. She really stood out.”
Hebert remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
Hebert joins recent Gatorade Maine Volleyball Players of the Year Brittany Bona (2011-12, Scarborough High School), Keila Grigware (2010-11, Biddeford High School), Michaela Campbell (2009-10 & 2008-09, Greely), and Mariah Grover(2007-08, Mount Desert Island) among the state’s list of former award winners.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: MOLLY WOTTON, JR. OUTSIDE HITTER, DOVER
The 5-foot-11 junior outside hitter recorded 272 kills, 148 digs, 76 service aces and 44 blocks while posting a hitting percentage of .402 and a kill percentage of .564 this past season, leading the Green Wave (17-4) to the Division I state semifinals. The 2012 Coaches Division I Player of the Year and the New Hampshire Union-Leader Player of the Year, Wotton is a two-time First Team All-State selection. She concluded her prep volleyball career with 552 kills and 147 service aces.
Wotton has maintained a B average in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics, her church nursery school and as a youth basketball coach.
“Molly Wotton is one of the more gifted and talented players I have seen at the high school level,” said Sean Hogan, head coach of Timberlane High. “Molly can completely take over a match with her attack or her serve.”
Wotton has verbally committed to play volleyball on an athletic scholarship at the University of New Hampshire beginning in the fall of 2014.
Wotton joins recent Gatorade New Hampshire Volleyball Players of the Year Kelsey Berry (2011-12, Hollis Brookline High School), Katie Schwarz (2010-11, Londonderry High School), Maria Kuehl (2009-10, Farmington), Amanda Saab(2008-09, Farmington) and Lauren Laquerre (2007-08, Concord) among the state’s list of former award winners.
RHODE ISLAND: TAYLOR STEVENS, SR. SETTER, PONAGANSET
The 5-foot-6 senior setter and outside hitter recorded 442 assists, 219 digs, 215 kills, 63 service aces and 40 blocks while posting a kill percentage of .455 this past season, leading the Chieftains (8-9) to the Division I state quarterfinals. The 2012 Rhode Island Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year, Stevens was a two-time First Team All-State selection and a 2010 Second Team All-State honoree. She concluded her prep volleyball career with 2,026 assists, 324 kills and 262 service aces.
Stevens has maintained a 3.80 weighted GPA in the classroom. A member of the Ponaganset High student council, she has volunteered locally at Isaac Paine Elementary School in Foster and as a peer mentor.
“Taylor Stevens is clearly an intelligent, knowledgeable player who combines her athleticism to create a dynamic presence on the court,” said Victoria Tefft, head coach of North Kingstown High. “She filled a number of holes for Ponaganset this season, displaying her overall skill set and comfort in a variety of roles.”
Stevens remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
Stevens joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Volleyball Players of the Year Kelsey Lace (2011-12, Mount Saint Charles Academy), Elise Walsh (2010-11 & 2009-10, The Prout School), Katie Walsh (2008-09, The Prout School) and Sam Andreozzi (2007-08, North Kingstown) among the state’s list of former award winners.