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Sat. December 12, 2009 | Eduardo A. Encina

Player of the Year
Maddie Martin, OH, Sr., Plant

Why we selected her: Martin is hands down the best player in the state. She was named an Under Armour All-American and is a finalist for the Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Volleyball, all in a senior year in which she led Plant to its fourth consecutive state championship. The 6-foot-2 senior overcame a preseason shoulder injury to remain the county’s most dominant, powerful hitter. Her back-row defense was also exemplary. And she was at her best when it mattered most. She averaged 6.3 kills a game in five region and state matches, bettering her 5.1 season average.
Most impressive accomplishment: Against some of the best teams in the country, Martin led the Panthers to a third-place finish in the Asics Challenge in Chicago. Martin averaged 6.0 kills and 4.4 digs a game in five matches there.
Future plans: Martin has signed with Penn State, which boasts a 98-game match streak dating to 2007 and is chasing its third straight national title.
Did you know? Martin almost chose soccer over volleyball in seventh grade. “I thought I had more of a future in it,” Martin said of choosing volleyball. “At a young age, I started getting a hang of it. It just came a little bit more naturally. And my height was a little clue that I should go into volleyball.

First team
Ali McCurdy, Lib, Sr., Plant:
Duke signee is the county’s top defensive player (6.3 digs a game), quarterback of Panthers’ deadly offense.
Jordan Burgess, OH, So., Berkeley Prep: One of county’s most complete players (3.6 kills a game, 3.8 digs).
Lindsay Young, MH, Sr., Berkeley Prep: Steady performer, Colgate recruit was at her best with games on the line. No one runs a slide play better.
Becca Howard, S, Sr. Plant: Two-year starter had 48 assists in Class 6A championship and averaged 10.9 a game.
Mackenzie Dagostino, RS/S, So., Berkeley Prep: Was Bucs’ best player in 3A state tournament title run (19 kills, two attack errors at state)
Alex Johnson, OH, Jr., Plant: Sometimes overshadowed, she had some of her best efforts in the Panthers’ biggest matches.
Leah Jordan, MH, Sr., Plant: Four-year letter winner was force on the block and hitting in the front row (2.6 kills a game, 1.1 blocks)

Second team
Lindsey Watson, S/OH, Jr., Brandon
Natasha Rowland, Lib, Jr., Berkeley Prep
Gabby Fernandez, OH, Jr., Bayshore Christian
Caroline Dillabough, S, Sr., Tampa Prep
Lauren Zellmer, OH, Sr., Newsome
Emilee Taylor, OH, Sr., Armwood
Sarah Burrington, MH, So., Riverview

Honorable mention
Alex Biver
Armwood: Allysa Reidy, Sabrina Beckles
Bayshore Christian: Valencia King, Hannah Mirabella
Bloomingdale: Danielle Jenkins
Berkeley Prep: Chelsea Parker, Amber Mirabello, Ginny Willis
Brandon: Aly Woodlee, Nicole Higgins
Cambridge: Olivia Yeager, Amber Rubright
Chamberlain: Jordan Lansford, Kayla Sanchez
Durant: Chelsea Bowden, Taylor Hackemack, Kaitlin Messick, Allison Wade
Freedom: Jasmine Linville, Lindsay Taggart
Gaither: Laura Ackart, Jenna Clark
Holy Names: Kelsey Rafols
Lennard: Shelby Sanchez
Leto: Fatima Domingush
Newsome: Hillary Byrd, Jonni Raga
Plant: Katie Daorai, Tina Catanach
Plant City: Alix Hooker
Robinson: Leslie Gibson, Nicole Mello
Sickles: Lauren Ramsey, Carlye Owens
Steinbrenner: Kristen Ligouri, Cary Anne Bame, Sam Drane
Strawberry Crest: Brandi Dilts, Jamee Townsend
Tampa Bay Tech: Khambria Hudgins, J.J. Rodriguez
Tampa Prep: Megan Aschenbrenner, Latora Lofgren, Ericka McGriff
Wharton: Timber Times

Coach of the Year
Kate Correa, Newsome

In her first year, she guided the Wolves to their first state tournament berth in their seven-year history by winning three region matches on the road.


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