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Pendleton Heights' Avery Ross gets one of her 15 kills against Lapel in August. Ross has been named the 2021 THB Sports Volleyball Athlete of the Year.

Pendleton Heights senior Avery Ross capped her brilliant high school volleyball career with the most enjoyable — and accomplished — season of her four years. After recording more kills than anyone in Indiana, winning a fourth straight Madison County title and leading the Arabians to a 30-win season, Ross has earned a second straight nod as the THB Sports Volleyball Athlete of the Year.

“It’s just awesome to be honored with it just one year, but to get it two years in a row, it’s just amazing,” she said. “There’s a bunch of other people out there who could have won this, so to get it two years in a row is amazing.”

An all-around performer, Ross also recorded 34 blocks, 34 aces and was second on the team in digs with 274. But where she truly excelled was at putting points on the scoreboard by putting the ball on the court quickly.

Despite recording 597 kills — nearly six per set — Ross was named second-team instead of first-team All-State by the Indiana High School Volleyball Coaches Association. Like many, she was surprised by the snub but still happy to be named one of the most talented players in the state.

“Yeah, that hurt my feelings a little bit. I’m not going to lie,” she said. “But, that’s OK. It’s still great to be honored on the second team.”

Ross achieved milestones this season, including reaching 1,500 kills. Along with continuing her dominance of the county tournament and posting a rare season win total for Pendleton Heights, it made for a special season.

In a season full of highlights, one match stands out. On Sept. 20 at Fishers, the Arabians overcame a 2-0 deficit to pull out an 18-25, 17-25, 25-16, 25-19, 15-13 victory, part of a season when PH was 4-0 in five-set matches. In the victory, Ross recorded a career-high 37 kills.

“That was my favorite game of the season,” she said. “It was a lot of fun because we played so well as a team and I had a great game that night. The energy in the building was amazing after we came back and won.”

Ross recently signed to continue her volleyball career at Oakland, a Division I school in Michigan. She will continue to play outside hitter but is undecided on a course of study. One certainty is she will be teammates with her cousin, Madison Ross, who will be a senior setter for the Golden Grizzlies.

With all her individual accomplishments, what Ross will remember most about her four years at Pendleton Heights is the friendships she has made while compiling a 98-33 record.

“I’ve had a lot of fun and made a lot friends through volleyball,” she said. “I just built such strong relationships with my coaches and teammates, we’re more like a family now.

“Overall, Pendleton Heights volleyball has been great. It’s been one of my favorite things.”

Contact Rob Hunt at rob.hunt@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4886.

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