Player of the year ... Betsy Smith
Senior led Wolves to 4 AA/A titles

Betsy Smith never had a peak in her career.

No building crescendo capped off by a timeless performance. She didn't toil in her early years looking for wins or watching championships slip away.

No, Betsy Smith's volleyball career never peaked. It started and ended on top, never leaving the pinnacle in between.

The Daily Post's Volleyball Player of the Year never lost more than 16 matches in any season, twice only losing six, and won four straight Class AA/A state titles. Every season in high school ended with a win and a ring.

"It hasn't really sunk in because I don't really know how else to end a season but to win," Smith said of the end of her high school career. "(Four titles) is kind of a big deal, but right now it hasn't really sunk in."

It's hard to sink in because nothing changed. This season ended with a title and a celebration. No loss. No disappointment. Just tears of joy.

"I don't know many people that could end their careers (without a season-ending loss)," Smith said. "I am

thankful that I didn't have to experience that.

"I knew I did not want to finish on a loss. It was a lot of fun though getting to play with (best friend) Anne Marie (Armstrong) and Maggie (Smith), my younger sister."

Off the court, Smith is quick to flash a smile and she speaks with controlled modesty. She makes her volleyball prowess seem accidental. Like it is more a result of her height than her work ethic. She plays year-round and volleyball is still fun for her. But on the court, she dominates and intimidates. Her smile vanishes. Her serves are deadly accurate and her kills nearly un-returnable. The University of Florida doesn't sign just any player.

"It is one of those special things in a coaching career to have a kid that is not only that caliber of a player, but that caliber of a person," said her head coach at Wesleyan, Ted Russell. "Even before she came to Wesleyan, my first impression of her was that she was unbelievably mature and articulate.

"She is one of those kids that always focus on everybody else. She does not try to draw attention to herself."

Watching her play, she doesn't need to. She stands out, from the start, as the best player on the floor. You don't become the kills leader in Wesleyan's young, but storied program without noticeable power and Smith's power comes consistently.

"You watch her warm up and she walks with a quiet confidence," Russell said. "Her presence alone is intimidating. You see her hit and you are almost spotting yourself five points before the match begins."

And it's been that way for four years.

But Smith's arrival at Wesleyan, at first, wasn't about volleyball. When her family moved to the area they chose Wesleyan more for academics than volleyball.

"Who knew that we would go on to win four state championships?" Smith said. "It was an added bonus if you will."

Now Smith takes her custom of winning to Florida, where she will enroll in July to acclimate herself to college before the season starts early in the fall.

"I am just excited to get down there and start a new chapter," Smith said.

With as many chapters as Smith wrote at Wesleyan, heading to Florida may require the start of a new book. The real question is, will Smith keep ending seasons with wins and rings?

"I'd have absolutely no problem with that," she said.



Player of the Year: Betsy Smith, Sr., Wesleyan. Florida signee led the Wolves to their fourth straight state title

Coach of the Year: Kristy Shelton, GAC. Led team to a 35-13 record and a state quarterfinals berth

First team

Second team

-Anna Gouge, Brookwood

-Eve Machovec, Dacula

-Marleny Espinosa, Meadowcreek

-Olivia Day, Mill Creek

-Alex Shelton, GAC

-Amanda Komisarow, GAC

-Anne Marie Armstrong, Wesleyan

-Megan Carnell, North Gwinnett

-Hannah Nelson, Norcross

-Taiwo Adeshigbin, Central Gwinnett

-Audrey Hipple, Parkview

-Nicki Hannon, Grayson

-Abbie Daniel, Dacula

-Kiyomi Doscher, Collins Hill

-Haley Collins, Wesleyan

-Melanie Thompson, Brookwood

-Jessica Brower, Mill creek

-Ansley Roper, Buford

-Rachel Johnson, Central Gwinnett

-Anjelica Wilcox, GAC

-Stefanie Cash, Grayson

-Sarah Hedrick, Hebron

-Yasmin Appawu, North Gwinnett

-Naria Williams, Parkview

-Abby Batchelor, Parkview

-Molly Wolfe, Peachtree Ridge

-Caroline Adams, Providence

-Alexia Watkins, Shiloh

-Tiffany Clarke, Norcross

-Tyra Smith, Berkmar