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THE WINNER: Olivia Boender
School: Waverly (Neb.)
Athletic achievement: She amassed 515 kills, 407 digs, 374 service receptions, 45 service aces and 32 blocks this past season, leading the Vikings (31-5) to the Class B state quarterfinals. Named the honorary captain of the Lincoln Journal Star’s Super-State squad, Boender recorded a .441 hitting percentage and .523 kill percentage. An Honorable Mention Under Armour All-American selection as named by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, she totaled 30 digs, 26 kills, 21 service receptions, two blocks and an assist in her team’s 3-2, tournament-quarterfinals loss to eventual state champion Norris (Firth, Neb.).
Academic excellence: Also a basketball standout, Boender has maintained a 3.57 GPA and has been a member of both her school’s history club as well as its family and consumer science club.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth volleyball and basketball instructor, she has volunteered locally on behalf of her church and as the founder of a “Kills for Cancer” event to benefit the Side-Out Foundation’s Dig Pink fundraising campaign.
“I know of no weak areas in her game,” said Waverly head coach Terri Neujahr. “Olivia is known for her ability to hit a heavy ball as an extremely powerful attacker. She is one of the most powerful and dynamic hitters ever to come out of the state. But know that Olivia is much more than that. She is a primary passer, outstanding defender and blocker, and attacks the opponent with her serve. Olivia changes opponents’ game plan just by her presence on the court. She disrupts opponents to the point that they change where they attack.”
THE FUTURE: Boender has signed with Nebraska.