Two Xavier Prep student athletes have been named to The Arizona Republic’s All-Arizona volleyball team and were also nominated for Player of the Year for the 2019 high school season.
Jasmine Knight and Briana McKnight, both seniors and varsity volleyball players for Xavier, have been recognized for their accomplishments as strong athletes.
AZCentral’s high school sports reporters use statistics and rankings to make these nominations, and both Knight and McKnight have some impressive numbers that are a testament to their skills on the court. As senior captain and middle blocker, Knight led her team this season with 130 blocks, earning a No. 2 ranking in the state for solo blocks. She also had a 51.1 attack percentage for the Gators and made the top ten for hitters in Arizona.
McKnight’s contributions on the court also helped Xavier advance to quarters in the 6A premier conference before narrowly missing out on a spot in the semifinals. The outside hitter finished fifth in the state with 500 kills. Another highlight for McKnight this year was earning a full-ride scholarship to continue her volleyball career at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Both Knight and McKnight say making the All-Arizona team was an exciting achievement, especially as they’ve grown and ultimately thrived with Xavier over the past few seasons. “Being nominated is such an honor because there are so many great athletes in the state,” Knight said. “I am proud of the hard work that I put in during the last four high school seasons.”
Knight, who started playing volleyball when she was 12, is amazed at her progress since she first hit the court. “Being nominated for the Player of the Year Award is something that I still can’t wrap my head around,” she added.
McKnight, who has played volleyball for eight years, shares the sentiment about the All-Arizona team and the Player of the Year Award. “I’m so blessed to have been able to be named to this team filled with amazing players,” McKnight said. “Plus, the Player of the Year Award is something that I had wanted since I was in 8th grade, so seeing that I was nominated for that was insane and made me so happy.”
Knight and McKnight credit their success to the team environment at Xavier, where they have been surrounded by coaches and teammates who share their determination and dedication to the sport.
“The culture and traditions at Xavier are one of a kind. We all put in the hard work at practice and spend so much time together even outside of volleyball, just because we love being around each other,” Knight said. “The chemistry on the court is perfect when everyone is working toward the goal of winning, wanting to get better each game, and going crazy for every single point.”
With lots of memories from her time at Xavier, Knight is preparing for the next step as she plans to play Division 1 volleyball at Virginia Commonwealth University. McKnight is confident they will both go far, thanks to the opportunities they’ve had at Xavier.
“The best part of playing for a team like Xavier is most definitely the teammates,” McKnight said. “I have met some of my best friends through the program and have learned a lot throughout my four years playing at Xavier. The team truly is a sisterhood.”