CHICAGO, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- In its third decade of honoring the
nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in partnership
with RISE Magazine, today announced outside hitter Kelly Murphy of Joliet
Catholic Academy (Joliet, Ill.) as its 2007-08 Gatorade National Volleyball
Player of the Year.
The award, which recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high
standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on
and off the court, distinguishes Murphy as the nation's best high school
volleyball player. A national advisory board comprised of sportswriters and
sport-specific experts from around the country selected Murphy from more
than 390,000-plus high school volleyball players nationwide. Murphy is now
a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the
Year Award, to be presented at a special ceremony the afternoon prior to
The ESPY Awards in July.
The 6-foot-2 senior setter and outside hitter amassed 414 kills, 303
assists, 121 digs, 55 aces and 32 blocks this fall. This year's Chicago
Sun-Times Player of the Year and three-time Joliet Herald Player of the
Year, Murphy played on a badly sprained ankle in leading the Angels (34-6)
to within one win of the Class 3A final four. She also guided her Sports
Performance Volleyball Club team to back-to-back national titles at the USA
Junior Olympic Championships, twice earning Most Valuable Player honors.
Murphy led the USA Women's Junior National Team to a fourth-place finish at
the 2007 Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Junior World
Championships, earning the Best Server award in the process.
Murphy has maintained a 4.52 GPA in the classroom and is an
enthusiastic participant in the Varsity Club, the Mu Alpha Theta math honor
society, the Spanish National Honor Society and Student Ambassadors,
through which she interfaces with students from area grade schools. She is
an active volunteer in numerous community-service initiatives, donating her
time to local nursing homes and as an instructor at area volleyball camps
and clinics for high school, grade school and club teams.
"Kelly is as good as any attacker in the country, she's got one of the
best jump-float serves in the country and she can set," says Rick Butler,
director of the Sports Performance Volleyball Club, for which Murphy
competed. "There's no one else at the high school level this year who can
say they're one of top two or three hitters and one of the top two or three
setters. She's an athletic attacker who can set. At the Olympic level or
pro level, she could control a match at that position."
Murphy has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on
scholarship at the University of Florida next fall.
"Without question, Kelly is deserving of recognition as the nation's
best high school volleyball player based on her statistics on the field and
the impact her play had on Joliet Catholic Academy's success," said
Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jeff Urban. "But she is
also a shining example to peers and aspiring young players of what a leader
and a student-athlete should be. She represents everything we hope for in a
Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner
in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high
school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and
girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and
girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each
sport. The selection process is administered by RISE Magazine, which works
with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished,
veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each
For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including
nomination information and lists of past winners and future announcement
dates, visit gatorade.com/playeroftheyear.
ALL-TIME GATORADE NATIONAL VOLLEYBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR HONOREES
Year Name High School/Location Status
2007-08 Kelly Murphy Joliet Catholic/Joliet, IL High School
2006-07 Alix Klineman Mira Costa/Manhattan Beach, CA Stanford
2005-06 Megan Hodge Riverside/Durham, NC Penn State
2004-05 Cynthia Barboza Wilson Classical/Long Beach, CA Stanford
2003-04 Cynthia Barboza Wilson Classical/Long Beach, CA Stanford
2002-03 Kristin Richards Timpanogos/Orem, UT Stanford
2001-02 Bre Ladd Canyon Del Oro/Tucson, AZ University of
2000-01 Ogonna Nnamani University/Normal, IL U.S. National
1999-00 April Ross Newport Harbor/Newport Beach, CA AVP Pro Beach
1998-99 Logan Tom Highland/Salt Lake City, UT AVP Pro Beach
1997-98 Sara Sandrik Pelham/Pelham, AL Stanford
1996-97 Denise Boylan Benet Academy/Lisle, IL Notre Dame
1995-96 Kerri Walsh Archbishop Mitty/San Jose, CA AVP Pro Beach