Sometimes things just make sense in sports – the numbers add up and the players rise to the occasion.
And that is the case with TR’s inaugural Leon County Volleyball Player of the Year award which goes to Chiles High School junior outside hitter Kaylin Johnson.
In most cases, volleyball player of the year awards start with kills, blocks, aces, hitting percentage, and winning. These metrics are tracked at almost every level of competitive volleyball and are used by the NCAA to determine player of the year awards.
The reliance on these numbers take much of the bias out of player awards and more importantly provides a rationale for decisions.
When you combine Kaylin Johnson’s standing with her Leon County peers in these statistical categories with that fact that she led her team to a 6A District 2 title in an upset victory over the Mosley Dolphins, it just makes sense that she is TR’s Leon County Volleyball Player of the Year.
Chiles High School volleyball coach Kaitlin Jahn told TR that “Kaylin had a tremendous season offensively and as the season progressed, defensively as well. Her offensive presence made her a threat to all the teams we played. The top teams in our county and even the top teams in the state couldn’t defend her.” She added, ” I am glad she is on our side of the net.”
Only Leon County players on teams ranked in the top 200 of the MaxPreps final rankings were eligible for the player of the year award. This list includes Chiles, Florida High, Lincoln, Leon and Maclay.
Using statistics from MaxPreps, TR created a list of the top ten players based on the total number of kills, aces, and blocks. We added hitting percentage to the list and then ranked the 10 players in each of the four categories.
The list is provided below.
Johnson was the only player to rank in the top five in all four of the categories. She ranked 2nd in kills, 5th in blocks, 4th in aces and 2nd in hitting percentage.
Johnson told TR, “I was very proud of how our season turned out. We learned a lot as a team, and I personally learned a lot of lessons throughout the year. We learned how to come together as a team when our coach was out on maternity leave. We learned how to bond as a team and become a player driven team. For me this award is reflective of our entire team, and how we started together as a new team, and ended as a team who pushed and supported each other to win districts! Coach Jahn came back, ready to hold us all accountable to beat Mosley!”
Winning & The “Moment“
Player awards are not just about statistics, they are also about winning and about that “moment.”
The Chiles High School volleyball team finished the season with a 20-8 record and was the highest state ranked Leon County team at 24. The team was ranked 5th in the 6A class.
But, the highlight of the season was the upset victory over the Mosley Dolphins for the 6A District 2 title.
Just seven days after suffering a regular season loss (3-1) in Tallahassee to Mosley, the Chiles Timberwolves faced the Lady Dolphins in the district final in Lynn Haven.
Mosley entered the district final ranked No. 3 in the Florida 6A class with a 20-4 record and a line-up that featured the top four hitters in District 2. Also, during the 2022-23 regular season, the Lady Dolphins matched up against Leon High, Florida High and Lincoln High a total of five times and did not drop a set.
During the district final, Johnson had her “moment” and more than rose to the occasion.
Johnson led the Timberwolves with 21 kills and 5 aces – both season highs – and had a hitting percentage of 39.5%. An amazing performance against a high caliber team that ended with a five-set victory and a district title for Chiles High School.
On the victory, Johnson said, “it was truly one of the best feelings. Games like those really show the real passion that I have for volleyball. It was great to see that all the work we had put in as a team all year paid off with a win. Our team worked together to make it happen and we performed at such a high level!
I knew you had a vested interest in Lady’s Volleyball, Mr. Stewart. 😉
(I was there with Lady’s Soccer 5 years ago!) 🙂
Congratulations young lady! Well done.
Well Deserved Congrats!