West Aurora senior Lauren Carlini was named the 2012-13 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year Tuesday.
Carlini, a 6-foot-1 senior setter/right-side hitter, recorded 333 kills, 303 assists, 156 digs, 92 aces and 50 blocks this fall, leading the Blackhawks to a 32-6 record. Carlini also compiled a hitting percentage of .462 and a kill percentage of .594.
A Wisconsin recruit, Carlini is rated the nation's No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2013 by PrepVolleyball.com. Carlini is now a finalist for the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award.
This past summer, Carlini led the U.S. Girls Youth National Team to a gold medal at the 2011 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships, earning MVP honors in the process. She also started for Team USA at that summer's FIVB Girls Youth World Championships in Turkey.
Carlini has maintained a 3.73 GPA. She has volunteered on behalf of the Geneva Police Department and the Illinois Math and Science Academy. She is also a youth volleyball coach.
More honors: In its 28th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, announced Carlini as its 2012-13 Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year.
Carlini is the first Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from West Aurora.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Carlini as Illinois' best high school volleyball player.
Carlini joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including USA Volleyball players Kim Glass (2001-02, Horseshoe HS, Penn.), Kim Willoughby (1998-99, 1999-00, Assumption HS, La.) and Ogonna Nnamani (1999-00, University HS, Ill).
Carlini joins recent Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Players of the Year Alexis Viliunas (2011-12, Lyons Township High School), Kelly Lamberti (2010-11, Cary-Grove High School), Annemarie Hickey (2009-10, Joilet Catholic Academy), Hannah Werth (2008-09, Joilet Catholic Academy) and Kelly Murphy (2007-08, Joliet Catholic Academy) among the state's list of former award winners.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.
The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, 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.