For the first time, the top high school volleyball player in the country will be a Longhorn.
Texas-bound outside hitter Lexi Sun was recognized as the Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year on Wednesday. Sun is the first Longhorn-to-be to win the award, which is given annually to the nation’s premier preps player. During the 1995-96 school year, Kerri Walsh became Gatorade’s first honoree for the sport of volleyball.
“I think it just gives me more incentive to work hard and get better every day,” Sun said. “It’s just giving me more drive to get better.”
Sun attends Santa Fe Christian in Solana Beach, Calif., and she was presented the Gatorade award by Olympian April Ross on Wednesday morning. As Sun and her high school teammates were playing volleyball on the beach, Ross rode up on a bike and surprised her with ice cream and the accolade.
“The award kind of speaks for itself,” said Ross, who was Gatorade’s top volleyball player for the 1999-2000 school year. “It’s a huge confidence boost, especially going into college to know how much your coach believes in you, that you’re officially the best player in the nation and that you’re also being recognized for your academics and community service.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 25, 2017
— Gatorade (@Gatorade) January 25, 2017
During her senior year, the 6-2 Sun averaged 5.9 kills and 2.7 digs per set. In December, Sun was recognized as MaxPreps’ Player of the Year and named the West team’s MVP at the Under Armour All-America volleyball match. PrepVolleyball.com listed Sun as the top recruit in the Class of 2017.
Sun represents 25 percent of Texas’ 2017 recruiting class. Middle blocker Brionne Butler and libero Olivia Zelon have already enrolled at Texas, but Sun still has oceanography, film and English classes to wrap up. She plans to move to Austin in June.
“It’s all happening so quickly, and I’m excited to get to play with the girls, move to Austin and start a new chapter in my life,” Sun said.
Sun’s acceptance of the Gatorade award isn’t the only news that broke for the Longhorns this week. One day earlier, Sun gained two future teammates as Skylar Fields and Naomi Cabello gave verbal commitments to Texas.
— sky money (@skylarrfields) January 25, 2017
I am so excited to announce my verbal commitment to play D1 volleyball at the University of Texas! Hook'Em 🤘🏽🤘🏽 pic.twitter.com/RVgrXyGLE2
— naomi (@naomiicabello) January 24, 2017
A 6-2 outside hitter from Missouri City’s Ridge Point High, Fields was the only sophomore on the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s Class 6A all-state team in 2016. Cabello is a Florida freshman, and she averaged 5.0 assists and 2.1 kills per set this past fall for East Ridge High.