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Walton High Volleyball Standout Named Player of the Year | People

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Walton High Volleyball Standout Named Player of the Year
Walton High Volleyball Standout Named Player of the Year

MARIETTA, GA -- In its third decade of honoring the nation's best athletes, the Gatorade Company, in connection with ESPN RISE, named Kelly Murphy its 2010-11 Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Player of the Year.

The 6' Murphy is a junior at Walton High School in Marietta. She is the second Walton student to earn the honor.

The award, which recognizes athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character, distinguishes Murphy as Georgia's best high school volleyball player. She now joins an elite alumni association of past state volleyball winners, including Olympians Kim Glass (2001-02, Horseshoe High School, Pennsylvania), Kim Willoughby (1998-99, 1999-00, Assumption High School, Louisiana) and Ogonna Nnamani (1999-00, University High School, Illinois).

Murphy led the Walton Raiders to a 42-7 record and a second consecutive Class AAAAA state title in 2010. She recorded 28 kills and 10 digs in a 3-1 Class AAAAA state championship victory against Johns Creek's Northview High School. Altogether, she produced 613 kills (the 8th most number of kills in a single season in state history), 179 digs, 61 service aces and 55 blocks during the season.

"Her work ethic is off the charts, and she was something to watch during sets two and three at the finals this year. She called her team to battle," said Suzanne Fitzgerald, Walton's head volleyball coach. "I cannot say enough about how this girl continues to grow and develop as a player. Her serve-receive numbers improved, her defense was comparable to our libero and her attacking numbers speak for themselves. She is an incredible talent."

The Georgia Volleyball Coaches Association named Murphy the 2010 Class AAAAA Player of the Year. She also maintains a 4.0 GPA at Walton, donates her time as a youth volleyball instructor and performs community service through her church and the Young Life Christian ministry.

Murphy joins recent Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Players of the Year Mary Hoey (2009-10, Pope High School, Marietta), Monique Mead (2008-09, Landmark Christian School, Fairburn) and Betsy Smith (2008-07, Wesleyan School, Norcross) among the state's list of former award winners.

Walton's other past winner is Stacy Buerger from the 1997-98 school year.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner from each state and the District of Columbia in high school football, cross country, basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, track and field, and volleyball. One National Player of the Year is chosen for each sport.

The selection process is administered by ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

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