Written by SportsDayDFW.com
2013 Volleyball superlatives: Colleyville Heritage's Anna Walsh is Player of Year
Player of the year
COLLEYVILLE — Anna Walsh probably couldn’t have predicted the sort of season that was in store for her.
Entering her first year as a six-rotation player, the junior middle blocker from Colleyville Heritage acknowledges there were some early bumps in the road.
“I was out of control back there,” the 6-3 Walsh said of playing the back row. “I’d never played six rotations. It was definitely a learning process.”
By the time the playoffs started, Walsh’s education was mostly complete. She led Heritage to the Class 5A Region I finals for the second straight season, avenging last year’s playoff loss to Coppell along the way.
Walsh dominated throughout the five-set Region I quarterfinal against the two-time defending state champs, amassing 21 kills, 19 digs and 1.5 blocks.
“Anna is an emotional leader and player,” Heritage coach Jamie Siegel said. “She was sick during that match, too.”
Walsh, who is committed to Virginia, is SportsDay’s pick for the 2013 player of the year. She finished the season with 600 kills on 1,233 attacks and was a .366 hitter. Defensively, Walsh added 50 blocks and 422 digs, solidifying her role as an all-around contributor for one of the state’s best teams.
“I wanted to play six rotations last year,” Walsh said. “I’ve always wanted to, but no coach has ever really given me the chance. Finally I got it.”
Heritage finished with a 42-7 record, and Walsh was named the District 6-5A co-MVP. She was also an all-tournament selection at the Allen Open and Arlington Invitational.
With one more year remaining in her high school career, the future is certainly bright for Heritage and its do-it-all player.
“When you have that player who is effective in all six rotations,” Siegel said, “that makes the difference between winning and losing.”
Newcomer of the Year
Ashley Robert, McKinney, Fr., Libero
The freshman libero started every match for a McKinney team that not only made its first postseason appearance since 2000, but ran all the way to the regional quarterfinals. Robert had 556 digs through the regular season. She also contributed 43 aces and was the team’s top passer. Robert was a second-team all-district selection in the highly competitive District 10-5A, and she previously won back-to-back titles at the USA Beach Junior National Championships in 2011 and 2012.
Coach of the Year
Erin McClanahan, Prosper
The first-year Prosper coach brought a championship pedigree with her from Lovejoy, where she spent three seasons as an assistant. McClanahan wasted no time turning around a Prosper team that went 5-9 in district last season and finished sixth. Prosper was a state finalist in 2013 and posted a 35-12 record. Ranked eighth in the area, Prosper toppled No. 5 Frisco, No. 3 Waxahachie and No. 2 Frisco Centennial in consecutive rounds to reach the program’s first state tournament.
Meredith Bramer; Prosper; Sr.; Outside hitter
Bramer was a senior leader throughout Prosper’s run to the state finals. She almost never left the floor, amassing 469 kills, 640 digs, 35 blocks and 52 aces. Bramer was named to the state all-tournament team after collecting 31 kills and 26 digs in two matches. She signed with North Texas in November.
Mary-Kate Marshall; Coppell; Sr.; Outside hitter
The Oregon State signee was a force in every match she played. Marshall was all-tournament at the Allen, Pearland and Arlington tournaments. She was the District 5-5A MVP and played all six rotations for Coppell. Marshall tallied 635 kills, 68 blocks, 430 digs and 41 aces.
Cat McCoy; Southlake Carroll; Sr.; Libero
One of the top liberos in the state and nation, McCoy tallied 583 digs for Southlake Carroll this season. McCoy was named the top defensive player at the prestigious Pearland Tournament, where Southlake Carroll finished third. McCoy is signed with Texas, the defending NCAA champions.
Kylie Pickrell; Coppell; Jr.; Setter
The junior was one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation before committing to Arizona State this week. Pickrell had 1,427 assists, 414 digs and 43 aces this season. She also had 102 kills with a .298 hitting percentage. Pickrell was named the best setter at the Pearland Tournament and was the District 5-5A setter of the year.
Regina Tillis, Rockwall-Heath; Sr.; Outside hitter
The LSU signee led Rockwall-Heath in kills during each of her four seasons, and Heath made the playoffs all four of those seasons. This year, while leading Heath to the regional quarterfinals, Tillis accrued 410 kills, 260 digs, 44 blocks and 32 aces. She was also named the District 12-5A MVP.
Micaya White; Frisco Centennial; Jr.; Outside hitter
The District 9-4A MVP and Texas pledge is perhaps the most dominant player in the area. White racked up an area-best 725 kills along with her 111 blocks and 406 digs. She led Centennial to a 9-4A title and nearly to the state tournament, falling a few points short in a five-set thriller against Prosper.
625 assists, 346 kills, committed to Florida State
517 kills, 138 blocks, 209 digs
364 kills, 169 blocks, committed to Texas
580 kills, 65 aces, signed with Wake Forest
280 kills, 90 blocks, 4-5A MVP
685 digs, 118 assists, 5-5A top defensive player