Nebraska commit named 2022-23 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year

Nebraska Commit Harper Murray surprised with Gatorade Player of the Year Award
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 6:10 PM CST
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Press Release) - Nebraska commit Harper Murray of Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Mich. is the 2022-23 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year.

Murray won the prestigious award for her accomplishments on and off the court, joining an impressive group of former Gatorade National Volleyball Players of the Year who have combined for more than 91 gold medals and 13 National Championships.

Murray was surprised with the trophy by her family, coaches and teammates at school.

The Gatorade Player of the Year award recognizes athletes not just for their excellence on the playing surface, but for their commitment in the classroom and impact in their community. Murray beat out nearly half a million other student-athletes who play high school volleyball nationwide, topping the list of state winners in volleyball who collectively boast an incredible list of accomplishments, including 45 with signed National Letters of Intent to play volleyball at Division I colleges/universities and 19 with a GPA of 4.0 and above.

“Murray has been a star since delivering 700 kills in her debut high school season,” said John Tawa, the national high school and club writer for VolleyballMag.com “She’s just so fast and vertically explosive that it’s hard to get in front of her. Even when a defense is set, her arm swing is so electric, it eats defenses up. She also has every shot in the book; give her a set and she will score no matter where she is on the floor. Despite her dynamic offensive skill set, Murray is a complete player. She makes passing look effortless and her quick feet allow her to pursue with abandon. She’s a natural leader who not only wants the pressure—she thrives on it.”

The 6-foot-2 senior outside hitter amassed 726 kills and 409 digs this past season, leading the Eagles (38-9) to the Division 1 regional semifinals. Murray also recorded 86 service aces, 44 assists and 40 blocks. She posted a .519 kill percentage and a .405 hitting percentage on the attack. She was named “Best Spiker” at the Under-19 Pan Am Cup in Tulsa, Okla., in August, where she helped the U.S. team to the gold medal. The state’s Miss Volleyball winner, Murray was named a First Team All-American by both MaxPreps and the American Volleyball Coaches Association. She concluded her prep volleyball career with 2,488 kills and 1.460 digs and also earned an AAU U17 national title in club play.

A member of Ann Arbor Schools’ Rising Scholars Leadership Program, designed to create access and opportunity for underrepresented yet high achieving students, Murray has volunteered extensively for the Vada Murray Endowed Fund for Cancer Research, named for her late father. She has also served as a lead coach for the Skyline Rising Eagle Volleyball Clinic.

Murray has maintained a 3.62 GPA in the classroom. Taking advantage of NCAA early signing rules, Murray inked a financial-aid agreement that paved the way for her to enroll at the University of Nebraska, where she will play volleyball. She graduated from high school in December and will attend classes in the spring semester.

In addition to excellence on and off the field of play, Gatorade Players of the Year also pay it forward for the next generation. As part of Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, Murray will receive a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners – Athlete Ally, Laureus USA, Move United, Women’s Sports Foundation and Up2Us Sports – supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport.

“What makes this award special is we look at the whole athlete, not just their on-court achievements,” said President and General Manager of Gatorade Michael Del Pozzo. “People like Harper demonstrate how athletes can make a difference and play a vital part in fueling the future of sport.”

Each year, a selection committee evaluates the nation’s top talent to choose one state winner from each of the 50 states as well as Washington D.C., in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track & field. In all, 608 athletes are honored each year. From the pool of state winners, one national winner is selected in each of the 12 sports.