Senior Audriana Fitzmorris from St. James Academy (Lenexa, Kan.) has been named the 2015 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Volleyball Player of the Year by USA TODAY High School Sports.
With her selection, Fitzmorris joins an elite group of former ALL-USA Volleyball Players of the Year, including Iowa’s Mikaela Foecke (2014) and Texas’ Courtney Eckenrode (2013).
ALL-USA selections are based on performance, level of competition and strength of schedule.
Position: Middle blocker
School: St. James Academy (Lenexa, Kan.)
Noteworthy: Despite a schedule that featured state champions from three states and many other elite teams, Fitzmorris dominated from start to finish to help St. James Academy win the Kansas Class 5A state title. She racked up 603 kills on the year and added 249 digs to lead the Thunder to a 46-1 campaign and a strong claim on the national No. 1 ranking.
Ranked as the No. 2 player in the country by PrepVolleyball.com, Fitzmorris is also a two-time world champion with the U.S. Women’s Junior National team. Fitzmorris played a starring role for the U.S. team last summer, helping the Americans win gold at the European Global Challenge.
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Fitzmorris, pegged as a future star from an early age, might seem to have taken a straightforward path. But the formula for Fitzmorris’ success has been a rare combination of talent, hard work, grace and humility, according to St. James Academy head coach Nancy Dorsey.
“Other kids of her stature might believe their own press clippings, but you couldn’t get her to brag under any circumstances,” Dorsey said. “Regardless of how well she plays, she’s always trying to get better. She has all the skills she needs, and kids in her position aren’t always similarly motivated, but nothing is beneath her.”
Fitzmorris and her Thunder teammates entered the 2015 high school season with something to prove after losing to St. Thomas Aquinas in last year’s state final, a loss that snapped St. James Academy’s streak of six consecutive state titles. In a storybook ending to her career, the Thunder avenged that loss with a straight-set victory over St. Thomas Aquinas in the state final.
Finishing on top was fitting for Fitzmorris, who led St. James Academy to three state titles over her career and helped the program compile a 172-12 record. But to someone who has lived and breathed Thunder volleyball for so long, it felt a little bittersweet.
“It really didn’t hit me until the end of the state championship game that my high school career was over,” said Fitzmorris. “Now that it’s over, it’s sad, but I have so many great memories as part of the St. James volleyball family, and I’m so thankful for the skills and life-lessons that I’ve learned in every phase of that journey.”
Fitzmorris, who teamed with ALL-USA setter Jenna Gray to form one of the nation’s most dynamic duos this season, will join forces again with Gray at Stanford next year. After they led the Thunder to the state final all four years of their varsity careers, the prospect of Fitzmorris and Gray in Palo Alto has fans of the Cardinal brimming with anticipation.