With every season that comes, we are reminded that there is no shortage of talented volleyball players in Utah. Many players left their mark on the Utah volleyball landscape by leading their teams during the regular season and the state tournament.
With the end of the fall sports season, here’s the 2023 Deseret News Volleyball Players of the Year.
Levani Key-Powell, Bingham, OH, Sr.
Bingham ended a five-year 6A semifinal drought this season, and no one contributed more than Miners’ Levani Key-Powell.
Key-Powell had a strong season on the net with a season total of 515 kills with a .296 hitting percentage. She also contributed to the Bingham defense with 247 digs and 402 receptions.
“Vani lived our team values perfectly,” said Bingham head coach Reed Carlson. “She consistently pushed herself at practice and in matches which set an incredibly high standard for our program. She led by example and supported every athlete in our program. It’s one thing to be a great volleyball player which she is, but I would argue that she’s an even better person.”
Taylor Harvey, Bountiful, OH, Jr.
Taylor Harvey is following in the footsteps of her older sister and 2022 Ms. Volleyball winner Jordyn Harvey by leading Bountiful to a 5A championship appearance.
Taylor Harvey is a decorated athlete in her own right and has played for the 2023 Girls U19 National Team.
Harvey was the #1 hitter in 5A with 1,089 career kills and 589 kills on the season with a .303 hitting percentage.
Harvey rounded out her game with 51 aces, 44 blocks, and 336 digs this season.
“It has been such a joy to coach Taylor and get to know her not only as an athlete but as an amazing young woman with a kind, humble, and caring heart,” said Bountiful head coach Kelsie White. “She is a leader on the team in both skill and the way she treats her teammates and others.”
“It is no secret that Taylor is among the top players in the Country, and one of the best players to have ever played at Bountiful High. Her home position is in the Middle, but being as dynamic and dominant as she is, in both the front and back row, we worked hard to put her in a position where we could get her the ball as much as possible, and it paid off.
“I’m so proud of Taylor. It is not easy to take on so much responsibility, but she took it head-on, and helped carry our team through a successful season! Taylor truly is a special athlete and person who I am so lucky to coach”
Sami Blackett, Orem, OH, Sr.
This season Orem won its first state title since 1981, and Sami Blackett was a huge weapon for the Tigers in its championship run.
Blackett has had a well-rounded season, with 513 Kills on a .266 hitting percentage. Blackett also recorded 212 digs, 75 aces, 33 assists, and 607 receptions this season.
Orem had a dominant 3-0 victory over Green Canyon in the 4A championship, and Blackett performed with seven kills, two aces, and one block in the win.
“Sami has been a varsity starter for Orem High all four years,” said Orem head coach Bill Sefita. “She’s competitive, intense, and a force to be reckoned with. Each year, she has improved as a volleyball player and leader. We (Orem) are excited to watch her play onto the next level.”
Abby Morris, Emery, OH, Sr.
Emery also broke a long championship drought with its first 3A championship since 1996. Emery senior Abby Morris was a big contributor this season for the Spartans.
“I am so happy to hear that Abby Morris was voted Deseret News 3A girls’ volleyball Player of the Year,” said Emery head coach Ferd Allred. “Abby is the on-hand hitter for Emery High School. She has been a key varsity player for the past four years.
Morris came up big in the 3A championship match against Morgan, where she had 23 kills to push the Spartans over the top.
“She finished the season with over 450 kills. Abby is a hardworking player and consistently pushes herself to improve and be her best. She is also a very influential team leader both in and outside of practice and conscientiously acknowledges and supports her teammates. Abby plays with her whole heart, and it is obvious that she truly loves the game.”
Paige Felder, Parowan, OH, Jr.
Parowan was the only team in the state to have a perfect 29-0 record this season. Parowan head coach Macey Yardley said Paige Felder was instrumental in the back-to-back championship for the Rams.
“Paige’s work ethic and dedication to excellence set a high standard for the team, making Paige a key factor in our ability to claim the state title for the second year in a row,” said Yardley.
Felder led Parowan on the net with 539 kills on a .389 hitting percentage. She also had 60 aces and 35 blocks on the season
Parowan has won 52 straight games with Felder, the last time the Rams lost a game was a game against Kanab on Oct 11, 2022.
“Paige has committed to the University of Missouri after she graduates in 2025,” said Yardley.
Tabetha Henrie, Panguitch, OH, Sr.
Tabetha Henrie led the return to form this season for Panguitch, which won its first 1A state championship since 2019 after winning seven state titles in a decade.
Henrie has started all four years for the Bobcats and capped off her senior year with the state crown.
Henrie was all over the court in the 1A championship game with 12 kills, 5 aces, and 16 digs all while having a 2.59 pass rating.
“Tabetha is a four-year starter, this year she really improved her serving and back row play,” said Panguitch head coach Troy Norris. “In the championship game, we were down 5 points and she served 8 straight points with 3 aces to put us ahead.
“The best part of Tabetha’s game, in my opinion, is her passing and back row play, she has an uncanny ability to read hitters, and is just all over the court.
In the championship game, she passed at a 2.59 on a 3.0 scale which is so impressive. Tabetha has a heart of gold and you just can’t find a better person, she loves everyone and is so kind.”