From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Senior outside hitter, Torrey Pines (San Diego, Calif.)
Greatness Present: The Buechlers know a bit about winning. Reily’s father, Jud, won three NBA titles as Michael Jordan’s teammate on the Chicago Bulls from 1996-98. But he was also an All-American volleyball player at the University of Arizona, where Reily’s mother, Lindsey, etched her name into the Wildcats record books as a setter.
Now, the younger Buechler has Torrey Pines (30-4) on the precipice of a San Diego Section Open Division crown. After recording 26 kills in a semifinal win over Westview on Wednesday, she and the Falcons face San Diego’s Francis Parker School in this Saturday’s sectional title match.
The No. 28-ranked senior recruit by PrepVolleyball.com, Buechler also led Torrey Pines to a championship at September’s Durango Classic in Las Vegas, capturing MVP honors at the prestigious event for a second straight season. An Under Armour First Team All-American, she amassed 365 kills and 231 digs through her team’s first 33 matches.
Greatness Past: Named the California Interscholastic Federation’s San Diego Player of the Year as a junior, the 6-foot-2 Buechler recorded 424 kills, 256 digs and 30 services aces last season, leading the Falcons to the 2012 Division I state quarterfinals.
Interestingly, her club team, WAVE, also featured Cal-Berkeley freshman Maddy Kerr, daughter of Jud’s former Bulls teammate Steve Kerr. Together, they led the 18U team to a top-10 finish at the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships this past summer.
Greatness Future: Buechler signed with UCLA.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year races aren’t over, and the National POY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list.Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.