Before Khalia Lanier ever set foot on the volleyball court, she knew she had big shoes to fill. It was in her blood to become a great athlete. So with her father as her inspiration, the senior at Xavier College Preparatory worked to get better every single day.


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[/quote_box_right]It formally paid off Dec. 9 when Olympic sand volleyball silver medalist April Ross — who was the fifth woman to ever receive the Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year title — surprised Lanier with the same title. The 6-foot-2 outside hitter recorded 496 kills, 324 digs and 28 service aces while posting a kill percentage of .438 and leading the Gators (34-8) to the Division I state final this past season.

Lanier also a 2015 American Volleyball Coaches Association and Under Armour First Team All-American and the top-ranked player in the nation as rated by She was a member of the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Volleyball Team, leading some of the country’s finest prep players to the 2015 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship final in Peru last summer.

This marks the third time in the award’s 21-year history that a volleyball athlete from a Catholic high school was selected. Mikaela Foecke from Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Iowa won last year.