All week long, ESPNHS.com counts down the stories, events and trends that shaped the 2011 year in high school sports. Tuesday, we look at stories 16 through 20.
The Papillion-La Vista South (Papillion, Neb.) girls' volleyball team was in a bind. Riding a 63-match winning streak, the No. 1 team in the nation and the reigning FAB 50 national champion found itself in a brand-new position: down a set and trailing 10-1 in the second set on the road against No. 4 St. James (Lenexa, Kan.). But the Titans dug deep and rallied to win the match 22-25, 25-23, 17-25, 26-24, 15-12 to keep their undefeated season alive.
In November, the Titans, led by the junior trio of Kelly Hunter and twin sisters Amber and Kadie Rolfzen, ran their winning streak to 82 games and capped their season with their second straight Nebraska state championship. In December, they were crowned POWERADE FAB 50 champs for the second season in a row.
At 6-foot-9 and still sprouting, Lattin had apparently grown too big for Texas hoops. So the Houston native and sophomore F/C took his burgeoning game elsewhere.
In November, Lattin left Westbury Christian (Houston) and enrolled at the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain. He followed the route taken by Jeremy Tyler of the Golden State Warriors, who played overseas his senior year of high school.
Lattin, who's rated the nation's No. 21 boys' basketball recruit in the ESPNU 25, is the grandson of David Lattin, a member of the legendary Texas Western squad that captured the 1966 national championship.
Fagundez is only a sophomore at Leominster (Massachusetts), yet he's already making an impact at the professional level. The 16-year-old native of Uruguay is a member of MLS's New England Revolution, and he scored two goals for the team in six appearances this past season. His most memorable game was his pro debut on Aug. 6 in a 3-2 loss to Chivas USA, as he drew a penalty kick that was converted by teammate Shalrie Joseph in the 69th minute and scored his first pro goal in the 85th minute.
He may not yet have his driver's license, but he's already well on his way to accomplishing great things.
AAU basketball, for good and for bad, has been a staple of the high school hoops scene for decades. Now high school football could have its version of AAU in the form of 7-on-7 traveling teams.
The rise of 7-on-7 teams has become a hot-button issue with the NCAA because of the fear of third-party influences who could jeopardize the college eligibility of players on those traveling teams. And this June, the SEC banned non-scholastic 7-on-7 events from being held on its schools' campuses.
While gunning for its sixth straight Nike Cross Nationals title this fall, the Fayetteville-Manlius (Manlius, N.Y.) girls' cross country team lost two of its five top returning runners to injury, including 2010 NXN runner-up Christie Rutledge. And coach Bill Aris was dealing with the passing of his father.
But the team stayed strong and rallied behind junior Jillian Fanning, who finished fourth individually at NXN, to hold off a challenge from powerful in-state rival Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) and triumph once again at Portland Meadows in Portland, Ore. The squad also finished No. 1 in the POWERADE FAB 50.