The Gatorade State Volleyball Players of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For the complete list of Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Maria Bellinger
School: Paramus (N.J.)
Position: Outside hitter
Athletic achievement: She recorded 434 kills, 159 digs and 42 service aces while posting a kill percentage of .508 and a hitting percentage of .446 this past season, leading the Spartans (21-6) to the Group 3 state championship match. The 2015 Star Ledger State Player of the Year, Bellinger is a two-time Bergen Record North Jersey Player of the Year selection and a two-time First Team All-State honoree. She concluded her prep volleyball career with 1,527 kills and 664 digs.
Academic excellence: Bellinger has maintained a weighted 3.85 GPA.
Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally with multiple fundraising campaigns to benefit the American Cancer Society and autism research and as a youth volleyball coach.
“Maria Bellinger has been exceptional on the court for Paramus throughout her career,” said Karen Klingner, head coach of Indian Hills High. “She is a dynamic hitter than can attack effectively from both the front and back row and has a jump serve that can be difficult to handle.”
THE FUTURE: Taking advantage of NCAA early signing rules, Bellinger inked a financial-aid agreement that paves the way for her to enroll at the University of Delaware. She is expected to graduate from high school this month and matriculate in the spring semester.