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POY Potential: Top Ohio volleyball recruits

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. Archbishop Alter (Kettering, Ohio) outside hitter/setter Megan Courtney

  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: No. 4

  • Height: 6-foot-1

  • Club: Team Z

  • College: Penn State University (verbal)

  • John Tawa, publisher of PrepVolleyball.com: "A great athlete, Courtney moves with both urgency and grace on the volleyball court. An elite attacker who touches 10-foot-4 and hits at the top of her jump, the lithe Courtney was recognized as the best attacker at the USA High Performance championships last summer. There's a 'wow' factor when Courtney hits, because she moves to the ball so quickly and her arm is a blur. She also uses her long, long arms and big leap to great effect as a blocker."

2. North Royalton (Ohio) middle blocker/right-side hitter Sara Schwarzwalder

  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: No. 61

  • Height: 6-foot-3

  • Club: Maverick

  • College: University of Kentucky (verbal)

  • John Tawa, publisher of PrepVolleyball.com: "A physical and multi-talented player, Schwarzwalder has all the tools necessary to control matches at the net at the next level, including a 10-foot-3 touch and a shrewd mind. Tenacious blocking and a heavy arm are just two of the skills that will help this Cleveland-area player thrive at Kentucky starting in the fall of 2012."

3. Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati, Ohio) libero Kelsey Wolf

  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: Top 120

  • Height: 5-foot-9

  • Club: Team Z

  • College: University of Kentucky (verbal)

Each Gatorade State Player of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning volleyball underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11 …

Irish Brewer SR S Ursuline Academy; Emily Frank SR MB Wyoming; Sydnee Jackson SR MB Withrow; Noelle Langenkamp SR MB Ursuline Academy; Makayla Agin SR OH Buckeye Central; Aubree Hord SR S Mount Notre Dame; Cassidy Croci SR MB St. Ursula; Anna Carley SR OH Mason; Brooke Betts JR MB Bishop Hartley; Kayce Krucki JR OH Findlay; Michelle Strizak JR OH Mount Notre Dame; Andrea Thobe JR S Lehman Catholic; Anni Thomasson JR OH Newark; Taylor Graborski SO MB Upper Sandusky; Megan Lawless SO S/MB Tuscawaras Central Catholic; Erica Paulus SO L Lehman Catholic;

A dedicated POY team at ESPNHS manages the Gatorade Player of the Year program selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the award program’s behalf.