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Utah high school volleyball: 2022 Players of the Year

Volleyball is a team sport, but when you have dominant players like each of this year’s Players of the Year, it sure makes life easier. Each of the following six stars helped lead their respective teams to state championships, and now are being recognized for their efforts all season long on the court.

Here’s a look at the 2022 Deseret News Players of the Year who made the biggest difference for their teams in each classification.

Lone Peak Knights’ Zoey Burgess, wearing white, hits the ball

Lone Peak Knights’ Zoey Burgess hits the ball while playing the Bingham Miners in the 6A quarterfinal in Orem on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

6A Player of the Year

Zoey Burgess, Lone Peak, Jr., MB

The Burgess family is certainly making a name for itself in Utah volleyball. Following in her sister’s footsteps from last year, Lone Peak’s Zoey Burgess led the charge this year, helping lead the Knights to their third-straight state crown.

Burgess totaled 323 kills this season, hitting .382. She also averaged 3.3 kills per set while recording 31 aces, 22 solo blocks, 46 block assists and 112 digs. Her efforts all over the court were huge for Lone Peak.

“Zoey is a dominant force on both offense and defense. She keeps the block honest, so that frees up our other hitters as well,” said coach Paula Jardine.

“She’s fiercely competitive and is always a force to be reckoned with.”

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The Timpview Thunderbirds’ Silina Damuni (3) hits the ball while playing the Mountain View Bruins in the 6A finals in Orem on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. The Timpview Thunderbirds won 3-1 in sets.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

5A Player of the Year

Silina Damuni, Timpview, Sr., S

After a triumph over region foe Mountain View for the state championship, Silina Damuni made it clear how happy she was. After an absolutely stellar career, the Timpview senior has every right to be thrilled about what she’s accomplished.

The four-year starter and captain finished off her senior season by recording 1,060 assists, 11 assists per set, 55 aces, 298 digs and 147 kills. In her final season as a Thunderbird, Damuni also helped Timpview win the state title, the team’s second in three years, and broke the Utah all-time assist record with 3,467.

“Silina’s work ethic is relentless and unparalleled. She’s extremely coachable,” said coach Charmay Lee. “Each year I’ve had to level up my practices because of her desire to raise her level of play, and as a result, has raised the level of play of her teammates.”

The BYU commit also finished her career having won the region title in each of her four seasons.

 

The Ridgeline Riverhawks’ Nia Damuni (wearing green) hits the ball

The Ridgeline Riverhawks’ Nia Damuni (3) hits the ball while playing the Desert Hills Thunder in the 4A volleyball state championship in Orem on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. The Hawks won 3-0 in sets.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

4A Player of the Year

Nia Damuni, Ridgeline, Sr., S

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are getting a proven leader and the two-time player of the year in Ridgeline’s Nia Damuni.

“Nia was a big part of our success this year. She brought energy, passion, leadership and consistency to our court,” said coach Jaicee Roden.

The senior setter finished her final season at Ridgeline with 566 assists, 228 digs, 34 blocks, 71 aces and 82 kills while hitting .148. Those efforts helped the Riverhawks record a perfect 10-0 region record and capture their second-straight state championship.

“Her confidence in herself and her teammates was contagious and allowed everyone to demand excellence of each other,” said Roden.

Morgan Trojans’ Alyvia Jaffa hits the ball

Morgan Trojans’ Alyvia Jaffa (8) plays against the Richfield Wildcats in the 3A state volleyball tournament in Orem on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. The Trojans won 3-1.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

3A Player of the Year

Alyvia Jaffa, Morgan, Jr., MB

After three straight second-place finishes, Morgan reclaimed its spot atop 3A, thanks in large part to junior Alyvia Jaffa.

Much like she had all season, when the Trojans needed some energy in the state final, it was Jaffa who answered the call. After dropping the first set, attention for Morgan turned to the block, and the junior middle blocker set the tone for the rest of the match.

“When the games got close this year, Liv accepted the challenge and went to work finding ways to score and help Morgan win. She has a passion for the game and it is fun to watch her play,” said coach Liz Wiscombe.

Jaffa finished her junior season with 45 aces and led Morgan in both kills (398) and blocks (141). Not only returning to the state title match in 2023, but defending their title will certainly be a goal for Jaffa and her squad next season.  

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Parowan’s Paige Felder (13) was voted the Deseret News 2A volleyball Player of the Year.

2A Player of the Year

Paige Felder, Parowan, OH, So.

With history on the line in the 2A state championship, Parowan turned to young sophomore Paige Felder, and she didn’t disappoint.

Switching from outside hitter to middle during the final match of the season, Felder did everything she was asked to do, helping the Rams secure their first state volleyball championship.

“Paige is the ultimate competitor and a true team player. She makes everyone around her better through her positive influence and drive to succeed,” said Parowan coach Macey Yardley.

The underclassman has a bright future ahead after leading the classification in both kills (484) and aces (85). She also totaled 35 blocks and 257 digs while hitting at a .301 clip.

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Rich’s Darleen Petersen was voted the Deseret News 1A volleyball Player of the Year.

1A Player of the Year

Darleen Petersen, Rich, OH, Sr.

When Rich High found itself in need of some positive encouragement, the others often found themselves turning to senior Darleen Petersen.

Facing a potential loss in her final match with the Rebels, it was Petersen’s “can-do” attitude that helped her record the final kill of the match, lifting Rich to its first state title since 2016.

The senior outside hitter recorded over 400 kills, 35 solo blocks, 55 aces, 355 digs and 545 serve receives in her final season.

“Darleen was a great asset to our team. She spent a lot of extra time in the offseason to make herself a better hitter,” said coach Wendy Lamborn. “She hit the ball hard and it was usually not returned. She is extremely competitive and loved to win.”

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