Prep girls’ volleyball POY awards go to Lanier, Carrizosa

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                </div>  After Khalia Lanier was named the Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year just a week ago, it was almost a foregone conclusion that her name would pop up […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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After Khalia Lanier was named the Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year just a week ago, it was almost a foregone conclusion that her name would pop up again as the azcentral sports’ Big School Player of the Year.

But contention for the in-state honor is familiar territory for the 6’2″ outside hitter.  She won it in 2013 and was among the finalists last year.  And now she’s added the 2015 award to put the final exclamation mark on an honor-filled prep career.

Julisa Carrizosa, this year’s Small Schools Volleyball Player of the Year, is also a senior that just wrapped up an impressive prep career.  The 5’8″ outside hitter was able to give just one season to the Greenway High School program – but probably her best of the four years.

Carrizosa played for Northwest Christian for the first three years, but was granted a hardship appeal by the Arizona Interscholastic Association to play her final year at Greenway.  And that was just what Greenway needed to soar to a 40-1 record and the Division III state championship.  The Demons were a 22-6 team last year without her.

She left a team that moved up this season, from D-IV to D-III, to go to a team that moved down, from D-II to D-III.

But there was no question which way her stats were moving.  At Northwest Christian, Carrizosa collected 144 kills and posted a .246 hitting percentage for a team that finished 19-10.  This season at Greenway, her numbers jumped to 372 kills, albeit over more games, and a .331 hitting percentage.

Lanier devoted her entire high school career to helping Xavier continue its decade-long run as one of the elite teams in Division I, and playing through a coaching change in her sophomore season.

During her time with the Gators, they won a state title in 2013 and played in the state championship games in each of the other three years, losing to Desert Vista High School in this season’s tightly-contested title match. Lanier almost carried her team to another title win, posting 32 kills in the four-set match.

That state-title season in 2013 was also the year Xavier became the first Arizona team to win the top division at the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions, which features a large field of some of the best teams in the country.

Her senior season showed why she is now considered the best player in the state.  Despite missing 11 games with an ankle injury, but she still managed to record 496 kills, 324 digs, and 28 service aces.  Her hitting percentage was .438.

The strength and athleticism she brings to the game can be contributed, at least in part, to her lineage.  She is the daughter of NBA hall-of-famer Bob Lanier, who averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds during a 14-year pro career that was honored when both the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks retired his jersey.

And now the University of Southern California will begin benefiting from her talents.  She committed to play for the Trojans the summer before her junior year after weighing offers from some of the top teams in the country like Stanford and Texas.