Buford Standout Named Georgia Girls Volleyball Player of Year

CHICAGO (January 13, 2023) — In its 38th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Ashley Sturzoiu of Buford High School is the 2022-23 Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Player of the Year. Sturzoiu is the second Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from Buford High School.  

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Sturzoiu as Georgia’s best high school volleyball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award to be announced in January, Sturzoiu joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners, including Lexi Sun (2016-17, Santa Fe Christian School, Calif.), Jordan Larson (2004-05, Logan View High School, Neb.), Foluke Akinradewo (2004-05, St. Thomas High School, Fla.) and April Ross (1999-00, Newport Harbor High School, Calif.).

The 6-foot senior outside hitter led the Wolves to a 38-5 record and the 7A state championship this past season, the program’s first in 7A after winning back-to-back 6A state titles the previous two seasons. Sturzoiu recorded 487 kills, a .457 kill percentage, 302 digs, 71 aces and 20 blocks on her way to being named MaxPreps Georgia Player of the Year. She was also the state’s VolleyballMag Player of the Year and was named a MaxPreps First-Team All-American.

Sturzoiu has volunteered locally helping to package Thanksgiving meals for the needy, and helped raise money for the less fortunate during the holiday season. She also has donated her time as a youth volleyball coach during the summertime. “She has always had a huge arm and she definitely uses it well,” said Duluth High School head coach Brett Goblisch. “She does a great job of never letting up. Even if she isn’t having the best day swinging, she is going to keep swinging. It is very tough to defend since it’s coming at you so quickly.”

Sturzoiu has maintained a 3.7 GPA in the classroom. Taking advantage of NCAA early signing rules, Sturzoiu inked a financial-aid agreement that paved the way for her to enroll at Mississippi State University, where she will play volleyball.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.

Sturzoiu joins recent Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Players of the Year Cheridyn Leverette (2021-22, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy), Ngozi Iloh (2020-21, McIntosh High School), Savannah Bray (2019-20, Etowah High School), and Gabby Gonzales (2018-19, Walton High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.

Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners, supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.

For nearly 40 years, Gatorade has honored high school athletes at the top of their game as teammates, supporting their communities and achieving academic success. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes and community leaders, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sport.  

To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.

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