Paula Hernandez from Woodstock Academy as its 2019-20 Gatorade Connecticut Volleyball Player of the Year.Hernandez is the first Gatorade Connecticut Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from Woodstock Academy.
The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.
The 5-foot-7 senior outside hitter recorded 500 kills, 622 digs and 66 service aces this past season, leading the Centaurs (19-6) to the Class L semifinals. Hernandez is a three-time First Team All-State and First Team All-Eastern Connecticut Conference honoree and was selected the GameTimeCT Player of the Year.
Hernandez has volunteered locally on behalf of a community clean-up initiative and youth volleyball programs.
“Paula Hernandez is an outstanding player,” said Steve Banks, head coach at Fitch. “She has the complete package of volleyball skills and she’s a tough competitor. She reads the court better than any high school player that I’ve seen.”
Hernandez has maintained an A average in the classroom. She remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
She joined the volleyball team that fall, helping the Centaurs win back-to-back ECC championships and reach the Class L finals for two straight years.
“She’s a really good volleyball player, but even more so, she’s become a really big part of the community,” Woodstock Academy coach Adam Bottone said earlier this fall. “It’s not just volleyball, it’s the whole school community in general.”
Hernandez joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Volleyball Players of the Year Kiara Robichaud (2018 – 19, Barlow), Alana Hruska (2017-18 & 2016-17, RHAM), Gabriela Vazquez (2015-16, Platt), Izzy Taylor (2014-15, Darien), and Sarah Veilleux (2013-14, RHAM) among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Hernandez has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.