To state the obvious, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way a lot of things operate these days.
Youth sports are no exception. So we were in a quandary at VolleyballMag.com when it came time to name our 2020 girls high school All-Americans. It’s one of the oldest (VBM is chugging toward the big 50, as in 50 years old) and most prestigious award programs that honors the nation’s top girls high school players.
Due to the pandemic, not all states played a fall season. John Tawa chronicled in a recent VBM article (he’s taking a comprehensive five-part girls high school spin around the country) that 38 of the 50 states attempted some sort of fall season.
Alas, what to do with these awards?
The solution: Two sets of girls high school All-American awards. What you see below honors the folks who were able to play in the fall. We’ll come back in the late spring with the remaining states, including sport hotbeds such as California and Illinois, both of whom are in the midst of varying degrees of shutdowns, with Illinois currently allowing no high school sports to be played until COVID-19 statistical benchmarks lower. Girls high school volleyball in Illinois, classified as a moderate-risk sport right now according to the state board of health, is slated as of now to begin on a modified spring schedule, beginning in mid-February. Stay tuned on that front (news could break later this week on what Illinois is going to do the rest of the school year).
But of the teams and players that took the court this past fall, as always, there was no shortage of talent. This was one of the more challenging lists to put together because of the sheer amount of talent (always a good thing) and the variable of teams playing different amounts of matches and the extreme lessening of play against other highly touted programs in regular-season tournaments/events.
We’ve already introduced you to our fall team of the year, college-commit-rich Lovejoy out of Lucas, Texas, as well as our fall coach of the year, Chris Camper of Hoover (Alabama), whose team won a cool 50 in a row to close out the season.
Tuesday, we announce our national player of the year.
Fall First-Team All-Americans
High School: Seven Lakes (Katy, Texas)
This Nebraska recruit helped Seven Lakes win the Texas 6A crown thanks to a fantastic season that saw her record 575 kills, hit .335 and also lead the team in digs with 371.
High School: Mercy (Louisville, Kentucky)
Beavin capped a fine prep career at Mercy by being named the state’s top defensive player (for a third time, no less), while again recording first-team all-state honors. The University of Kentucky recruit helped the Jaguars reach the state finals.
High School: St. Thomas Aquinas (Overland Park, Kansas)
Bien, headed to the University of Kansas, was named the Class 5A player of the year by the Kansas Volleyball Association after posting 257 digs, 242 kills and hitting .319 to help Aquinas once again win a state title.
High School: Mercy (Farmington Hills, Michigan)
Michigan’s Miss Volleyball 2020 has the complete admiration of coach Loretta Vogel. “I don’t have enough words to describe Julia and her contribution to our program,” she said. “Her volleyball IQ and ability to make her teammates better are amazing, especially at her age.” She’s headed to Michigan State.
High School: Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas)
A key cog in helping Lovejoy win a Texas state title and earn the honor of 2020 VolleyballMag.com fall girls high school team of the year, the TCU-bound Bramschreiber finished with 257 kills (.333 hitting percentage) and 235 digs. “She’s crafty with the ball,” coach Ryan Mitchell said. “She’s 5-8 on the outside and hold the record for most kills in the program. She can hit any shot. She’s a phenomenal defender and an artist with the ball.” Bramschreiber was the player of the Year for the Dallas Morning News.
High School: Flower Mound (Texas)
Cox, part of a Flower Mound team that went 23-2, losing to Klein in the state playoffs, was a force all over the court, registering 234 kills, 223 digs and 20 services aces, all team highs. The Missouri-signee was named the Texas 6-6A district MVP.
High School: Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Hendrickson, who is verbally committed to Florida, was a major reason why the Cougars won the Ohio Division I state title and racked up multiple impressive wins over high-caliber competition. Hendrickson pounded home 512 kills, hit .351, and had 93 digs to go with 35 aces. Hendrickson was named the Cincinnati Enquirer Division I co-player of the year, and the only non-senior named first-team all-Ohio.
High School: Providence (Clarskville, Indiana)
The Purdue-bound Hornung, a first-team Under Armour-AVCA first-team All-American selection, posted 446 kills and 368 digs, while hitting .364 for Providence. Hornung racked up 1,284 digs since she started in 2017.
High School: McIntosh (Peachtree City, Georgia)
Iloh was a force for a Chiefs team that won the Georgia AAAAA crown, posting team highs in kills with 525 and blocks with 52. “Ngozi is obviously an incredible volleyball player, but what most people don’t know is what an amazing teammate she is,” coach Wendy Mabon said of the Duke recruit. “She is humble, encouraging and really wants to have fun.”
High School: Skutt Catholic (Omaha, Nebraska)
Krause hit opponents from all sides, blasting home 432 kills, hitting .475 and setting the school single-season service-ace record with 88. This Nebraska signee helped Skutt win its sixth Class B state title in a row, en route to being named the captain of the prestigious Lincoln Journal-Star Super State team.
High School: Hoover (Alabama)
McKinnon, the AL.com Birmingham all-region player of the year, put down 594 kills, had 267 digs, passed at a 2.32 rating on a 3.0 scale, and amassed 50 services aces. McKinnon, committed to Louisville, helped Hoover win its first-ever girls volleyball state crown.
High School: Chandler (Arizona)
Middleton, recently tabbed the top junior in the country by our guy John Tawa, helped Chandler win an Arizona state championship. Middleton, committed to Southern California, finished the COVID-19-shortened season with 286 kills and 141 digs.
High School: Yorktown (Indiana)
Stinson, headed to Northwestern, helped Yorktown (28-0) to a second undefeated season in the last three years (it’s only happened 15 others times since the state tournament started in 1972) by powering home 308 kills to go with 453 digs and 30 service aces. “Ellee is the hardest worker in the gym and leads in a way that pushes everyone around her to give their very best in all that they do,” Yorktown coach Stephanie Bloom said. “She is completely undersized as a hitter, but never backs down from a challenge and was a go-to hitter for us even at her size.”
High School: Fort Myers (Florida)
Florida’s Miss Volleyball for 2020 is the first player from southwest Florida to win the longstanding state honor. Thompson ended her senior season with 413 kills (.304 hitting percentage), 228 digs and logged 42 aces. Headed to Notre Dame. “Paris always puts others first,” Fort Meyers coach Stephanie Martin said. “She is always the first one in the gym and the last one to leave. She is always striving to make a positive difference on the court, in the classroom and with her peers. In the four years she has been with the FMHS volleyball program, her leadership skills have helped develop the younger players with their mindset to stay focused on the goals.”