CHICAGO (January 8, 2024) — In its 39th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Grace Agolli of Pace Academy is the 2023-24 Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Player of the Year. Agolli is the first Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from Pace Academy.
The award, which celebrates the nation’s top high school athletes for excellence on the court, in the classroom and in the community, distinguishes Agolli as Georgia’s best high school volleyball player. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sport, touting an all-star group of alumni that includes Harper Murray (2022-23, Skyline High School, Mich.), Kerri Walsh Jennings (1995-96, Archbishop Mitty High School, Calif.) and April Ross (1999-00, Newport Harbor High School, Calif.).
The 6-foot-2 senior setter and right-side hitter led the Knights (37-3) to a 4A state championship this season while playing a national schedule. Agolli compiled 389 kills, averaging 4.7 per set, and 362 assists (4.4 per set), adding 47 aces and 52 blocks while earning 4A Player of the Year honors. She also was named a First-Team All-American by MaxPreps and the American Volleyball Coaches Association. She concluded her high school career with more than 1,000 career assists and 1,000 career kills.
The student council secretary, Agolli has volunteered locally as a member of Pace Academy Student Support (PASS), a student-service group dedicated to helping students avoid drugs and alcohol and navigate the school. She also has donated her time to multiple youth volleyball clinics. “Agolli is a setter and a hitter, so her ability to impact the game is tremendous and she does it well,” said Woodward Academy acting head coach Rhana Mitchell. “I was really impressed with her ability to hit around a block and score.”
Agolli has maintained an A average in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at the University of California this fall.
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.
Agolli joins recent Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Players of the Year Ashley Sturzoiu (2022-23, Buford High School), Cheridyn Leverette (2021-22, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy), Ngozi Iloh (2020-21, McIntosh High School), and Savannah Bray (2019-20, Etowah High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
As part of Gatorade’s commitment to breaking down barriers in sport, every Player of the Year also receives a grant to donate to a social impact partner. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $4.9 million across more than 1,600 organizations.