The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Ava as Michigan’s best high school volleyball player. She is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award. Ava joins previous winners Alex Lovell, Marian Alumnae 2011, 2010-11 Gatorade Michigan Volleyball Player of the Year and Rachel Charles, Marian Alumnae 2010, 2009-10 Gatorade Michigan Volleyball Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-1 junior outside hitter led the Mustangs to a 37-5 record and the Division 1 state championship this past season. Brizard compiled 598 kills, 412 digs, 37 blocks and 35 service aces while posting a .492 kill percentage and a .395 hitting percentage. She recorded 26 kills and 10 digs in Marian’s 3-0 win over Lowell High in the state final. Ranked as the nation’s No. 75 recruit in the Class of 2022 by PrepVolleyball.com, Brizard was a Division 1 First Team All-State selection. She concluded her junior year with 1,536 kills and 1,340 digs in her prep volleyball career.
Ava, daughter of Julie and Brian Brizard of Novi, has maintained a weighted 4.17 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally as a youth volleyball coach with Summer in the City, through which teens invest their creativity and compassion into the city of Detroit. She has made a verbal commitment to play volleyball on scholarship at North Carolina State University beginning in the fall of 2022.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Ava has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of their choosing. She is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $2.7 million across 1,117 organizations.