DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Shannon Shields chosen Gatorade Volleyball POY

Shannon Shields has been a big part of the Xavier Prep volleyball tradition in her four years with the Gators.

Especially as a senior. Her teammates selected her as the player to get their pre-game warm-ups started by taking a pass high above the net and slamming it down on the other side.

That was an impressive display of power, but what was even more noteworthy was her success on the court as one of the top setters in the nation.

She had an uncanny knack of knowing where all of her teammates were and making sure she got them the ball in the right spot, even if they were behind her, to produce a point.

She led the Gators to their second straight 6A Conference state championship.

Shields was just as impressive in the classroom and with community service. She crafted a 3.87 weighted grade point average, was a member of the student council and was involved with the Kitchen on the Street project that feeds the homeless.

With that type of resume, it shouldn’t really be a surprise at the news that Shields is the recipient of the Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year Award, joining former Xavier players Khalia Lanier, Bianca Arellano and Stephanie Preach, who also won the award.
“Shannon was a four-year starter and outstanding on and off the court,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant. She was a great leader and her teammates would follow her lead. She liked to have fun playing the game. The award is a great recognition of a very deserving young lady.’’

Shields was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Second Team. She was the 6A Premier Region Player of the Year and is one of eight finalists for the azcentral Player of the Year Award that will be announced at a ceremony in June.

And she’s not done with volleyball – far from it. She will move on to play and study collegiately at the University of Louisville.

The 5-foot-10 Shields finished her senior season with 974 assists, 401 digs, 143 kills, 49 aces and 39 blocks, and for her career had 3,704 assists, 1,172 digs and 519 kills.

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