North Suncoast Player of the Year
OH Kirbea Harrell, Sr., Fivay
Why we picked her: Harrell, whose first name is pronounced "Kirby," was the go-to player on a team that narrowly missed out on a Class 6A state tournament berth. The Falcons lost in five sets to Ponte Vedra in the region final. Ponte Vedra went on to win the state championship.
Harrell had 361 kills, 49 aces and 380 digs to help Fivay to a 24-4 season.
"This season was by far the most fun," Harrell said. "We’ve all played club together and we just knew that this could be a good season."
She has been on varsity since her freshman year. She had one injury her entire career and it caused her to miss her sophomore season. In warmups prior to the first game of the season she tore her ACL and both menisci in her knee.
"That was a long season, not being able to play," Harrell said. "The rest of the time went by fast, but not my sophomore year. That motivated me to push myself to get back to where I was."
Did you know? Harrell is a three-sport letter-winner at Fivay. She started playing soccer at age 5 and didn’t play volleyball until middle school. Prior to her knee injury, she played both club volleyball and soccer. She still plays soccer for the Falcons and in the spring she plays on the tennis team.
She never played tennis before her sophomore year, but was talked into playing by her volleyball coach, Nicole Pollack, who is also the boys’ tennis coach. Last year she went to state as an individual and a doubles player.
"I guess I’d consider myself a nature athlete,’’ Harrell said. "I just like to stay active and stay in shape. I think that’s important.’’
What’s next? Harrell has not chosen a college, but her decision will be an academic one. She wants to major in physical therapy. She is not sure if she will play volleyball.
Pinellas Player of the Year
OH Jessica Angelo, Jr., Palm Harbor University
Why we picked her: This was supposed to be a transition year for the Hurricanes, who lost five seniors from last year’s team that went to the Class 8A region final. But PHU got back to the region final this season, and Angelo played a big role.
She had 251 kills to lead the Hurricanes, as well as 195 digs. The only goal Angelo and her teammates didn’t reach was the school’s first state tournament appearance. They lost to eventual state champ Venice.
"It’s frustrating always losing in the same round," Angelo said. "But this season we lost a bunch of seniors and we had a bunch of new girls on the team. I think we improved through the season. We’re only going to get better next year."
Angelo, who was injured part of last season, plays club volleyball with Jenna Hampton of Berkeley Prep. In fact, volleyball has been a big part of Angelo’s life for a long time.
"Most weekends we are playing volleyball," she said. "And when I’m not playing club volleyball I’m probably playing beach volleyball. Or at least I’m at the beach."
Did you know? This was the first time Angelo can remember that she hasn’t played volleyball with her older sister, Julia, now at Louisiana-Lafayette. Jessica said her sister was a big influence.
"I wanted to be just like her," she said. "Growing up I was always lumped in with her. I wanted to follow in her footsteps and play volleyball and then once I did I fell in love with it."
What’s next? Angelo has another year of high school but already is verbally committed to North Florida. She had an offer from Louisiana-Lafayette but decided to stay in Florida for a couple reasons, one of which was to be close to Jacksonville Beach. The other was to get out of her sister’s shadow.
"I kind of need to branch out from my sister," Angelo said. "I wanted to have a new experience. We’ve always been on the same team for a long time. We’ve trained together, all that stuff. I want to do my own thing now."
Hillsborough Player of the Year
OH Jenna Hampton, Sr., Berkeley Prep
Why we picked her: On a team loaded with talent, and 10 seniors, Hampton stood out. She was a consistent outside hitter who usually converted the big points. She had 224 kills, 44 aces and 344 digs on a team that went 30-2 and won the Class 5A state championship in Jacksonville in five sets over Lake Highland Prep.
While Berkeley Prep has won 16 state titles, it hadn’t won a championship since 2011 prior to this year.
"It’s a season everyone is going to remember," Hampton said. "It was fun, of course, but also all 10 seniors were really close. The chemistry was there because we’d all been playing since our freshman year. It’s one of the best seasons I’ve ever had."
Hampton is a year-round volleyball player. She has been playing club since before she enrolled at Berkeley Prep. Her club coach is Palm Harbor University coach Dexter Rogers.
"I love playing club so I might as well keep playing instead of just working out," Hampton said.
Did you know? Hampton’s older brother, Jake, played football at Sickles and is now a sophomore linebacker at Gardner Webb in North Carolina. Hampton said she always wanted to keep up with her older brother. They have always been close, but became even closer when Jake was diagnosed with diabetes as a sophomore at Sickles.
"He was really strong through that and I was trying to be inspiring for him," Hampton said. "We’ve been really close and still talk all the time."
What’s next? Hampton has been committed to Penn State since her sophomore year. The Nittany Lions recently played in the NCAA Final Four.
"I think everyone who wants to play in college wants to play at one of those top schools," Hampton said. "And then going to the campus and meeting the coaches really did it for me. The program is amazing."
Co-Coaches of the Year
Mackenzie Dagostino, Berkeley Prep and Eric Praetorius, Carrollwood Day
No way to choose between these coaches. Both won state championships with talented, deep teams. For Dagostino, this was her first year as head coach after being an assistant coach under her father, Randy, last season. She also won three state titles as a player at Berkeley Prep. Praetorius brought the Patriots to the state final in 2014. This season they swept their way to the school’s first ever state championship.
S Grace Varsames, Sr., Berkeley Prep: Bucs’ top setter, she had 697 assists for the state champs. Will attend Harvard and play volleyball.
OH Ally-Reese Williams, Jr., Carrollwood Day: Named the Class 4A Florida Dairy Farmers Player of the Year, helped lead the Patriots to their first state championship. Had 335 kills and 81 aces.
OH Camryn Vogler, Jr., Plant: Last year’s Times Hillsborough Player of the Year, Vogler was just as important to the Panthers this season. Had nearly 300 kills in Plant’s 19-win season.
OH Gabriela Quarles, Sr., Carrollwood Day: Led the state champ Patriots with 369 kills and added 334 digs. Extremely athletic and a team leader.
Lib Jill Kilgroe, Jr., St. Petersburg: One of the top liberos in the area, she had 451 digs this season. She is the school’s all-time leader in digs with 1,244 in three seasons.
OH Mackenzie Dufresne, Jr., Tarpon Springs: Led the Spongers with 248 kills and added 45 aces. A key player in their run to the region final.
MH Amanda Phegley, Sr., Berkeley Prep: Penn State commit was a 6-foot-4 wall in front of the net. Had a team-high 90 blocks and 254 kills.
S Abby Strong, Jr., Palm Harbor University: A three-year starter, Strong had another good season. Had 555 assists and a team-high 75 aces.
S Kendel Saigol, Sr., Carrollwood Day
OH Jacqueline St. Cin, Jr., Shorecrest
MH Abigail Casiano, Jr., Tampa Bay HEAT
OH Cameron Fitzpatrick, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic
Lib Bailey Wilson, Sr., Plant
OH Jessie Mooney, Sr., Mitchell
OH Jessie Hansen, Sr., East Lake
S Kamdyn Mohr, Sr., Mitchell
S Hannah Sanders, Sr., Clearwater
OH Rachel Michner, Jr., Land O’Lakes
MH Morgin Tew, Sr., Mitchell
MH Kennedy Deluca, Jr., Mitchell
Lib Llanek Davis, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch
OH Lindsey Christianson, Sr., Fivay
OH Anya Reinhard, Jr., Tarpon Springs
S Amberlyn Werkmeister, So., Weeki Wachee
Academy at the Lakes: Hanley Riggs
Academy of the Holy Names: Katherine Pickard
Berkeley Prep: Kellyn Trowse, Frances Perez
Calvary Christian: Caroline Burgess
Carrollwood Day: Ava Swain
Clearwater: Olivia Jones, Sandy Cao
Land O’Lakes: Shayna Heymann
Mitchell: Selena Kriston, Mariella Haimes
Nature Coast: Madison Clark
Northside Christian: Morgan Madasz
Palm Harbor University: Zeena Khazander, Katy Cameron
Plant: Sarah Moffit, Birdie Frierson
Robinson: Kristin Werdine
Seminole: Caroline Demuth
Shorecrest: Taylor Waldmann
Springstead: Alexis Thompson
Tampa Bay HEAT: Allison Rogers
Weeki Wachee: Brooke Sereda
Wiregrass Ranch: Destanie Aydt