POY Potential: Top 3 Va. 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 three 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. Heritage High (Leesburg, Va.) middle blocker Kelsey Hrebenach

  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: 47

  • Height: 6-foot-1

  • Club: Virginia Elite

  • College: Maryland (verbal)

  • John Tawa, publisher of PrepVolleyball.com: "Hrebenach is just fun to watch. Her athleticism is hard to match, showcased by her special jumping ability. She is very quick laterally and when she hits a slide heads turn. Few, if any, are better off of one foot."

2. Stone Bridge High (Ashburn, Va.) middle blocker Alex Heyn

  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: 68

  • Height: 6-foot-4

  • Club: Virginia Elite

  • College: Ohio State (verbal)

  • John Tawa, publisher of PrepVolleyball.com: "A true 6-4, Heyn is an intimidating presence at the net. Very strong in front of the setter, she has a lively arm. Her 'straight down' shots have the ability to demoralize opponents. As a blocker, Heyn’s long and lean frame allows her to get her mitts on a lot of balls."

3. Madeira School (McLean, Va.) outside hitter Breanna Atkinson

  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: 89

  • Height: 5-foot-11

  • Club: Virginia Elite

  • College: Duke (verbal)

  • John Tawa, publisher of PrepVolleyball.com: "Atkinson is an athletic attacker with long arms, a good vertical and a work ethic that always has her going above and beyond what is asked of her. A member of the 2011 USA Youth National Team, Atkinson’s skill set includes powerful attacker, a killer jump serve and pin point passes."

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 …

Cheyanne James SR OH Kellam; Glelia Reyes SR OH Heritage

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.