Eye on POY: Idaho 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.

Jenna Ellis

Senior outside hitter, Century (Pocatello, Idaho)

2011 Team record: 36-4 (Class 4A)

2011 Team standing: Class 4A state champions

2011 Kills: 454

2011 Digs: 439

2011 Aces: 65

2011 Blocks: 18

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: University of Idaho

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Totaled 19 kills, 19 digs, six service aces and three blocks in a 3-1 Class 4A state title victory against Skyview (Nampa, Idaho). Recorded a .408 hitting percentage and .546 kill percentage. Averaged 4.7 kills and 4.6 digs per set. 2011 Player of the Year as named by the Idaho State Journal. 2011 Class 4A First Team All-Tournament selection. 2010 and 2011 Class 4A Player of the Year. 2010 Class 4A state champion. 2009 USA Volleyball High Performance Girls’ International Youth Championships gold medalist.

Jennifer Schuman

Senior outside hitter, Lake City (Couer d'Alene, Idaho)

2011 Team record: 21-6 (Class 5A)

2011 Team standing: Class 5A third place

2011 Kills: 346

2011 Blocks: 40

2011 Digs: 99

2011 Aces: 31

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Produced 19 kills in a 3-2 win over Rocky Mountain (Meridian, Idaho) in the Class 5A state tournament third-place match. Averaged 3.7 kills and 1.1 digs per set. Owned a .376 kill percentage. 2011 First Team All-Tournament selection. 2011 All-North Idaho selection. 2011 First Team All-League selection. 2010 USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships U16 National qualifying Splash Volleyball Club (Spokane, Wash.) member.

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.

Lily Austin: Skyview (Nampa, Idaho) sophomore libero

Kylie Curtis: Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) junior setter/right-side hitter

Dani Failor: Post Falls (Idaho) junior middle blocker

Hayley Farrer: Idaho Falls (Idaho) senior setter

Kaitlyn Johnson: Idaho Falls (Idaho) senior libero

Brea Mitchell: Century (Pocatello, Idaho) senior middle blocker

Hannah Schleis: Borah (Boise, Idaho) senior outside hitter

Rochelle Sever: Skyvview (Nampa, Idaho) junior outside hitter

Rebecca Sweeney: Bishop Kelly (Boise, Idaho) senior outside hitter

Whitney Young: Rigby (Idaho) 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.