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Eye on POY: North Carolina volleyball

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.

Madison Bugg

Senior outside hitter, Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.)

2011 Team record: 22-3

2011 Team standing: Won third straight Class 3A state title

2011 Kills: 271

2011 Blocks: 20

2011 Digs: 182

2011 Aces: 31

2011 Assists: 20

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Stanford

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2009-10 Gatorade North Carolina Volleyball Player of the Year; 2009-2011 Class 3A state tournament MVP; 2011-12 AVCA Under Armour First Team All-American; Ranked No. 5 nationally by PrepVolleyball.com "Senior Aces."

Christina Vucich

Senior right side hitter/setter, Green Hope (N.C.)

2011 Team record: 24-2

2011 Team standing: Lost in Class 4A semifinals

2011 Kills: 413

2011 Blocks: 73

2011 Digs: 161

2011 Aces: 61

2011 Assists: 173

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2010 First Team All-State; Ranked No. 88 nationally by PrepVolleyball.com "Senior Aces."

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.

Victoria Phillips: Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.) senior setter

Carolyn Albright: Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.) senior middle blocker

Morgan Bunker: North Surry (N.C.) senior outside hitter

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com or Twitter @ESPNHS_Awards.