By PATRICK CASEY
Walton High School senior Betsy Stevenson was named the All Sports Association/Daily News Player of the Year for small schools in December for her effort during the 2008 high school volleyball season.
Stevenson was one of seven seniors on the squad to help lead the Braves to a 20-9 record and an appearance in the second round of the Class 3A volleyball playoffs. The Braves finished as runner-up to Pensacola Catholic in District 1 and lost to the Crusaders in the second round of the state playoffs after pulling off a miracle five-set victory in Marianna in the opening round.
Betsy called the rally for the win at Marianna one of the highlights of her high school career. “We got down the first two games and kept fighting back. We never gave up and somehow managed to pull it out at the end. It’s the best feeling!”
Stevenson, who was equally effective as a hitter and setter for the Braves, piled up 300 kills, 290 assists, 99 aces, 95 digs and 35 blocks in her career.
She was named the Florida Athletic Coaches Association’s 3A Player of the Year and took part in the All-Star game in South Florida in December. Stevenson played with the North Florida Volleyball Academy in Tallahassee during club season to get ready for her senior year.
Stevenson played all four year under Walton coach Marla Harrell, who is 63-44 in four seasons as the Lady Braves head coach. That mark also doubles as the Braves record during Stevenson’s four years on the squad. The Braves had winning seasons for three of Stevenson’s four years at Walton and have made the state playoffs three times during that span.
Walton sophomore Delaney Bell was also chosen to the First Team while Freeport’s Lindsey Jones and Curstin Buford were named to the Second Team. Walton’s Casey Perkins, Devin Richardson and Caiti Stewart were named Honorable Mention with Freeport’s Stephanie Morrison and Autumn Warner. South Walton’s Hope Goodwin also made the Honorable Mention list.