Lakeland garners top coach, player honors
Published 10:16 pm Wednesday, November 11, 2015
The Lakeland High School boys’ volleyball team saw five of its players make the all-conference first team and one make the second team while Cavaliers junior setter Kyle Stuart was named conference Player of the Year and Cavaliers coach Tarijuana Napoleon was named conference Coach of the Year.
Joining Stuart on the first team were the following teammates: sophomore middle hitter Hunter Rawls, sophomore setter/opposite hitter Josh Bennett, junior outside hitter Donnel Blount and junior middle blocker Joseph Crouell.
Cavaliers sophomore middle back Peter Bowyer made the all-conference second team.
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Napoleon entered Wednesday night’s selection meeting with a particular expectation of who would win Player of the Year, and then she saw who her fellow coaches in the conference selected.
“I was very shocked,” she said of Stuart’s win. “I thought my middle hitter, Hunter Rawls, was going to get it just based off his stats, but to tell you the truth, (Stuart) deserved it, too. Hunter wouldn’t have all those kills without Kyle.”
Per match, Stuart averaged 27 assists, 10 aces and eight digs, numbers that illustrate his versatility as well as his tremendous impact in the service game.
Rawls averaged 13 kills, six blocks, three digs and three aces per match.
Bennett’s per-match averages were eight kills, five digs, four aces, three blocks and three assists, showing his own considerable versatility.
Blount demonstrated strength particularly on defense, average nine digs per match, to go with three kills, two aces and one block.
Crouell was impressive defensively at the net, average seven blocks per match along with four kills.
Though Lakeland (9-12) won the conference tournament championship and went 6-2 in the conference during the regular season, Napoleon said she was still a little surprised to be chosen as the conference’s Coach of the Year.
“I’m just humbled right now,” she said. “And I’m very appreciate of the honor. There were a lot of great coaches out there.”