Player of the Year - Alexa Smith, Lewis-Palmer (Monument, Colo.)
Smith capped a brilliant four-year career at Lewis-Palmer by being named MaxPreps 2014 National Volleyball Player of the Year.
Smith, who will attend Purdue, led the Rangers to a perfect 2014 season and state 4A title when she averaged 4.2 kills (51.9% kill pct.), an ace per set (72 overall at a 93.6 pct.), 2.3 digs, while blocking 38 shots and returning 415 serves with just 14 errors.
But statistics aren't what sets the 6-1 Smith atop the final POY voting. In fact, her numbers are down from previous years.
That's because most teams played away from her, not wanting to experience her hitting ability. Yet Smith still managed to be the Rangers' primary passer in all six rotations and led the team with a passing percentage of 2.43.
It's that all-around ability that enabled Smith to be chosen as a member of the U.S. Women's Junior National Team last summer, and named an Under Armour All-American, as well as Colorado's 2014 State 4A Player of the Year. She was also honored as the Gatorade Player of the Year for Colorado.
Ranger coach Susan Odenbaugh knew Smith was special the first time they met.
"From the moment that she stepped on the court at Lewis-Palmer, we all knew that Alexa was something special," said Odenbaugh. "What makes Alexa so special is that she is a gifted six-position player."
Odenbaugh noted that after Smith's first two matches as a freshman, she was honored by a local newspaper as Player of the Week.
"Her response was ‘this is crazy. I am only a freshman.' That type of humility continued throughout her high-school career," said Odenbaugh. "Every time she received any type of accolades, she accepted those awards with both grace and humility and was quick to acknowledge her teammates as being key factors behind her success."
As a freshman, Smith set the all-time state 4A record for both kills in a match with 47 and kills in a season with 545. She will graduate as second in the state with 1,857 career kills. Her career kill percentage is an impressive 50.9 percent, and her hitting percentage is .396. Add to that 1,264 career digs, and a 92 percent career serving percentage.
But her leadership was likely her greatest asset in 2014.
"Alexa's teammates love playing with her because she is such an innately gifted leader who has guided them to play selflessly by playing for one another," said Odenbaugh. "Never did Alexa seek the limelight or consider herself the ‘star" of the team.
"She simply exudes a grace and confidence on the court that is admired by almost everyone, both players and coaches alike. The passion that she exhibited ignited our team's success. She will certainly be missed at L-P as she will graduate as the most gifted athlete ever to have played for our school."Coach of the Year - Susan Odenbaugh, Lewis-Palmer
Odenbaugh has been coaching for 32 years, the last 13 as head coach at Lewis-Palmer.
She said her team's depth, work ethic and dedication keyed the dream national championship season.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to coach such talented and gifted young ladies of such impeccable character," said Odenbaugh. "All of the credit goes to them. They are easily the most talented team that I have coached, and we were successful because of our depth."
She emphasized that all players contributed to the team's success.
The Rangers had just two seniors (Smith and Nicole Montgomery), six juniors, three sophomores and a pair of freshmen. Seven players recorded more than 75 kills, six served double digit aces, six recorded 15 or more blocked shots, and six had 75 digs or more.
"They are an exceptional group of passionate players who not only knew how to have fun while they were playing, but who also kept everything in perspective," said Odenbaugh. "It was truly a blessing to be able to coach these young ladies; this has certainly been one of the most memorable seasons of my coaching career."Team of the Year - Lewis-Palmer
Make it a clean sweep - POY, COY and now Team of the Year. Finishing atop the MaxPreps Xcellent 50 National Volleyball Rankings
presented by the Army National Guard gives Lewis-Palmer the 2014 mythical national championship.
The Rangers won Colorado's 4A title and all 29 of their matches, losing just five sets and winning 83.
"That we ‘swept' all categories is certainly an amazing honor," said Odenbaugh. "Alexa is certainly the contributing factor behind that kind of success. Undoubtedly, she is one of the most gifted all-around players in the history of our state. She plays with such ease and grace that it almost seems as though everything comes effortlessly to her; however, she is one of the most hard-working, dedicated athletes whom I have had the pleasure of coaching, and she is a student of the game."
2014 MaxPreps Volleyball All-American TeamFirst TeamOH - Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani, Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 6-4 Sr.
Bedart-Ghani, who was committed to Texas, was California's Gatorade winner after leading the Sea Hawks to a 39-2 record and the D-I state title. Bedart-Ghani slammed 483 kills while compiling a .538 kill percentage and .403 hitting percentage. Also an Under Armour First Team All-America selection as named by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, she added 163 digs, 82 blocks and 63 service aces in 2014. She was a sophomore at Marymount (Los Angeles) when the Sailors captured the 2012 D-I state title.
OH - Madison Duello, Liberty (Liberty, Mo.), 6-3 Sr.
Duello recorded 546 kills, 239 digs, 53 blocks and 23 aces in leading the Blue Jays (34-2-1) to a fourth-place finish in the Class 4 state tournament. Duello posted a hitting percentage of .403 and a kill percentage of .495. A 2014 First Team All-America selection by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, Duello concluded her prep volleyball career with 1,391 kills and 699 digs and was Missouri's Gatorade winner. She will attend Wisconsin.OH - Courtney Furlong, Oviedo (Fla.), 6-3 Sr.
Furlong, who has committed to South Carolina, slammed 487 kills while recording a .450 kill percentage and .325 hitting percentage this past season, leading the Lions (20-9) to the Class 7A regional semifinals. The two-time Class 7A Player of the Year as named by the Florida Dairy Farmers, Furlong also collected 592 service receptions, 361 digs, 37 blocks and 32 service aces.OH - Alyssa Enneking, Clear Falls (League City, Texas), 5-11 Sr.
Enneking, who has signed with the University of Oklahoma, amassed 858 kills, 580 digs and 63 blocks while leading the Knights (33-11) to the Class 6A state finals. A 2014-15 Under Armour First Team All-America selection, Enneking is a three-time All-State honoree and was chosen Class 5A-6A Athlete of the Year by the Texas Girls Coaches Association.OH - Katherine Carlson, Notre Dame Prep (Pontiac, Mich.), 5-11, Sr.
Carlson amassed 1,042 kills, 425 digs, 114 service aces and 63 blocks while posting a kill percentage of .600 and leading the Fighting Irish (57-6) to the Class B semifinals this past season. The state's 2014 Miss Volleyball winner, she is a 2014-15 American Volleyball Coaches Association Under Armour All-America Honorable Mention selection and a three-time First Team All-State honoree. She will attend Valparaiso.MH - Audriana Fitzmorris, St. James Academy (Lenexa, Kan.), 6-5 Jr.
St. James had its streak of state titles snapped at six, but Fitzmorris had a monster year with 667 kills (6.5 avg.), 111 blocks and 217 digs as the Thunder got the runner-up trophy and finished 40-7. Fitzmorris also played on the U.S. Junior National team last summer.MB - Rachael Fara, Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.), 6-3 Sr.
Fara led Benet to the 4A state title and 41-1 record. She was state tournament MVP and MVP at the Benet Invite, Wheaton Classic and Mizuno Cup, as well as the East Suburban Catholic Conference Player of the Year. She was a first team all-state pick. The Northwestern recruit had a team-high 89 blocks to go with 229 kills.MB - Merideth Jewell, Mercy (Louisville, Ky.), 6-3 Sr.
Jewell led the Jaguars to a 40-1 record, the state championship and a No. 2 ranking nationally by MaxPreps. Jewell recorded 475 kills, 375 digs, 98 blocks and 82 service aces. A 2014-15 Under Armour First Team All-America honoree, she was also named Miss Kentucky Volleyball by the Kentucky Volleyball Coaches Association. She has signed with Morehead St.MB - Anna Walsh, Heritage (Colleyville, Texas), 6-3 Sr.
The Virginia signee finished third in the Dallas area in kills with 657, ranked among the area leaders with 55 solo blocks and 81 block assists and had a hitting percentage of .462. In addition to being a force at the net, the star middle blocker also had 241 digs.MH - Mikaela Foecke, Holy Trinity Catholic (Fort Madison, Iowa), 6-3 Sr.
Foecke slammed 812 kills and amassed 270 digs, 170 service aces and 95 blocks this past season, leading the Crusaders to a 48-4 record and the school's first state title in any sport. Named Gatorade's National POY, she anchored the U.S. Women's Junior National Team that won gold at last summer's NORCECA Women's U20 Continental Championship. She concluded her prep career with a state-record 2,813 kills. Foecke was named Elite All-State Co-Player of the Year, Iowa Class 1A Player of the Year, All-Hawkeye Player of the Year and State Tournament MVP. Foecke has signed with Nebraska.S - Kristin Krause, Parkland (Allentown, Pa.), 5-9 Jr.
Krause distributed 842 assists during regular match play and had 1,233 assists in all competitions. The All-State choice totaled 105 aces and a 92.0 serve percentage. Krause was named an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 first-teamer.S - Jordyn Poulter, Eaglecrest (Centennial, Colo.), 6-0 Sr.
The future University of Illinois player averaged a team-leading 10 assists per set in 2014. The Colorado 5A Player of the Year also led Eaglecrest in aces and blocks and was second in kills, averaging more than three per set, despite setting exclusively. She was also a member of the U.S. Women's Junior National team last summer.
S - Katie Kemp, Brentwood (Tenn.), 5-9 Sr.
Kemp lead Brentwood to the state large school title and a 60-1 record, including victories in its final 60 matches. She dished out 1,703 assists (10.6 per set average), had 2,326 digs and 81 aces with a 92 percent serving average.S - Samantha Seliger-Swenson, Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.), 6-0 Sr.
Seliger-Swenson was named Minnesota's Miss Volleyball after leading the Royals (23-6) to the Class 3A Section 6 semifinals, amassing 1,063 total assists (12.8 per set), 268 digs (2.9) and 98 service aces (1.1). She was the state large school POY, three-time First Team All-State selection and the 2014 Minneapolis Star Tribune Player of the Year. She has signed with Minnesota.A-A - Carly Townsend, Germantown (Wis.), 5-11 Sr.
Townsend recorded 689 assists, 582 kills, 65 blocks and 42 service aces while posting a kill percentage of .583 and leading the Warhawks (37-14) to the DI semifinals. The 2014 Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel POY, Townsend has signed with Toledo.A-A - Ryann DeJarld, Mother McAuley (Chicago), 5-10 Sr.
DeJarld, who has signed with Notre Dame, was named All-State and the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year. The outside hitter had 289 kills and 306 digs and served for 65 aces. She was the GCAC Red Player of the Year and earned second-team honors on the Under Armour All-American squad.A-A - Jenna Tunnell, Desert Vista (Phoenix), 5-11 Sr.
Tunnell led the Thunder to a 41-3 record and the D-I state title. She was also the 2014 Arizona Republic Big School Player of the Year. Tunnell dished out 500 assists and compiled 309 kills, 199 digs, 87 blocks and 41 service aces while posing a .478 kill percentage. She has signed with Pepperdine.