Posted: 8:54 pm Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Palm Beach Post ballot for 2011 Florida Dairy Farmers high school volleyball awards 

By Jeff Greer

As I did with my boys’ hoops ballot last year, I wanted to post my nominations for the Florida Dairy Farmers high school volleyball awards.

During last season, the boys’ basketball nomination form was the only one I received all year. Luckily, we’ve already received football and volleyball forms this year, so hopefully we’ll get the forms for all the other sports, too.

Anyway, here’s my list of nominess (by class) for the Florida Dairy Farmers volleyball coach and player of the year for each class.

Class 8A

Player of the Year: Katelyn Rawls, Wellington
There are so many good potential nominees for this award: Boca’s Lindsey Knapp or Lauren Gainer, Jupiter’s Jill Shemanski or Morgan Lear, a few of Rawls’s teammates, and so many more. But in my travels around the county, no player has made more of an impact in her team’s matches than Rawls. She’s put up impressive numbers in each aspect of the game, and she’ll be a major reason Wellington goes anywhere this postseason.

Coach of the Year: Brian Bausch, Wellington
His team has certainly benefited from the arrival of Italian exchange student Chiara Mazzola, the star power of Rawls, Abby Winsor and Kelly Sullivan and their talented counterparts, but Bausch in his first year as girls’ coach has Wellington (22-1) in position to make a big run in the playoffs. Of course, area power Boca Raton stands in the way, but Wellington has already had a special season.

Class 7A

Player of the Year: Nicole Walch, Martin County
This is a no-brainer, though Walch’s teammate Mallori Moffat deserves mention, too. These two seniors have been fantastic throughout their careers at Martin County, and they’ll be remembered for years to come. Walch may be the best player in recent area history. She’s broken the career record for kills at Martin County, and now she and Moffat want to end their careers with a state title, which would be their second in three years.

Coach of the Year: Austin Capi, Atlantic
This one’s a no-doubter. Capi has Atlantic (21-3) in the regional semifinals, something no Atlantic coach has done since 1977. If Atlantic beats Olympic Heights next week — and the Eagles are favored to do so — Capi will match Sharon Whittelsley as the only coach in school history to produce two regional playoff wins. How’s that for a first-year girls’ coach?

Class 5A

Coach of the Year: Mike Sawtelle, Jensen Beach
Jensen lost Jenna Ingram and Sarah Wickstrom, but the Falcons are still good enough to make a challenge in the postseason. I was impressed by them at the East Coast Challenge, and they’ve maintained that toughness since.

Class 3A

Coach of the Year: Alex Clarke, Benjamin
Benjamin lost two very good players in Christie Nicklaus and Christine Casey, but the Bucs have been just fine with Anna Dwyer, three other seniors and a talented group of younger players. Even with talent, winning the district and at least a regional quarterfinal is an impressive job in 2011 by Clarke.

Class 1A

Player of the Year: Amanda King, Lake Worth Christian
Just like Rawls, King does everything for her team. She’s racked up serious numbers of assists and aces, but she also has the blocks and kills to go with ‘em. She’s a junior on a very young team, and her role along with two other juniors and three seniors has been pivotal in keeping Lake Worth Christian alive this year. The Defenders still have enough talent to make a postseason run, too.

Coach of the Year: Terri Kaiser, Lake Worth Christian
This season, Kaiser has had to coach — and coach and coach and coach. Her team is young and inexperienced, and it lost a ton of talent from last year’s state runner-up.

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