In the Kansas Class 5A state volleyball championship, the St. James Academy team faced an unfamiliar situation. For the first time all season, the Thunder had dropped a set, and head coach Nancy Dorsey wasn’t sure how her players would respond.
She got her answer when she pulled aside senior left side hitter Arianna Person and said, “AP, you’re not going to let this happen.”
Sure enough, Person and the Thunder bounced back to take the third set and win their sixth consecutive state title, defeating St. Thomas Aquinas 25-22, 19-25, 25-17. For that performance and many more, Person is The Star’s All-Metro Volleyball Player of the Year.
“She looked at me, and I could tell from the look in her face that it was over,” Dorsey said. “I didn’t stress another minute, because I knew she was going to go out there and completely dominate and take over the match, and she did just that.”
Person, a Belmont University signee, capped off her high school career with 376 kills, which gave her a program-best 1,236 in four years. She also had 325 digs, which moved her into third place in program history. She was selected the Kansas Volleyball Association 5A Player of the Year and also was honored as an American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American.
“AP is one of the most dynamic volleyball players I’ve ever seen,” Dorsey said. “There is this fire about her that you can’t really teach, but it is innate in her and we’ve seen it over the last four years.”