Eye on POY: Massachusetts 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.

Maya Midzik

Senior outside hitter/middle blocker, Brookline (Mass.)

2011 Team record: 19-3

2011 Team standing: Lost in Division 1 state semifinals

2011 Kills: 262

2011 Blocks: 15

2011 Digs: 87

2011 Aces: 61

2011 Assists: 5

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Yale (verbal)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: USA Volleyball High Performance Department’s 2011 U.S .Women’s Junior A2 Team member. Two-time Division 1 First Team All-State selection.

Cassidy Stankowski

Junior outside hitter, Frontier Regional (South Deerfield, Mass.)

2011 Team record: 23-1

2011 Team standing: Won Division 3 state title

2011 Kills: 276

2011 Blocks: 20

2011 Digs: 143

2011 Aces: 76

2011 Assists: 15

Academics: A-minus average

Collegiate destination: HS junior

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Three-time Division 3 First Team All-State selection. Starter since seventh grade. More than 1,000 career kills.

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.

Kayla Crook: Barnstable (Hyannis, Mass.) junior setter

Kaylee Deluga: Barnstable (Hyannis, Mass.) senior outside hitter

Taylor Fearing: Marlboro (Mass.) senior setter

Kelsey Weymouth: North Attleboro (Mass.) grade senior outside hitter/setter

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.