Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Volleyball: Manatee's Cothron, Coulter win Class 8A awards

Winning its first state title is continuing to pay dividends for Manatee's volleyball team.
Haley Coulter was named the Class 8A Player of the Year and Tony Cothron was named the classification's Coach of the Year in the Florida Dairy Farmers High School Sports Awards after helping the Hurricanes win a state championship Nov.  15.
Coulter earned 132 points to beat Jupiter's Cara Guthrie (119) after finishing the season with 356 kills, 261 digs and 31 blocks. In Manatee's state semifinal and final victories, Coulter, a junior who has committed to Tulsa, had 32 kills and 22 digs.
"It's nice to be recognized for something I love to do,"  Coulter said, "and this award is just as much mine as it is my coach's, my team and my family's. I wouldn't be the player that I am today without them."
By winning the honor in Class 8A, Coulter is up for Miss Volleyball along with the players of the year in the state's  seven other classifications.
Manatee had never advanced past the regional semifinals before Cothron took over the program prior to this season. A longtime area club coach, Cothron led the Canes to 25 wins and a 3-1 win over nationally-ranked Jupiter in the state championship match.
Cothron tallied 146 points to beat Jupiter's Blane Betz (133) and is now a nominee for the state's overall  Coach of the Year honor.
Lakewood Ranch coach Perri Hankins finished third  in the Class 7A Coach of the Year honors with 49 points. Hankins helped the Mustangs reach the state semifinals for the second time in three years.

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