Doherty's Washington named state's volleyball player of the year

Doherty's Haleigh Washington, left, with coach Tara Hittle. (Courtesy @DHSAthletics on Twitter)

Doherty's Haleigh Washington, left, with coach Tara Hittle. (Courtesy @DHSAthletics on Twitter)

Doherty star Haleigh Washington was named the state's volleyball player of the year by Gatorade on Thursday. It is the second year in a row she has been honored with the award.

Washington, a Penn State recruit, led Doherty to the state tournament this season. Her 589 kills this season were far and away the most across Colorado. In all, she averaged 6.5 kills, 1.9 digs and 1.1 blocks per set this season, and had a .523 kill percentage.

“Haleigh’s elite athleticism sets her apart from everyone else,” Doherty head coach Tara Hittle said in a release. “She touches 10-foot-9 on her approach jump and can dunk a basketball. She plays the game from a very high point, which gives her an advantage of hitting over any block, and she’s also able to hit the ball straight down at unreal angles.

"She had to do literally everything for us this season. We set her almost every ball. She is every coach’s dream player. Haleigh is an unbelievable volleyball player.”

Hittle, a Doherty graduate, also won the award when she played for the Spartans in 2004. Washington is the state's fourth two-time winner, following Fowler's Cari Jensen (1999-2000), Colorado Springs Christian's Morgan Broekhuis (2009-10), and Chaparral's Nicole Dalton (2011-12).

Washington is now a finalist for the national player of the year award, which will be announced later this month.

Doherty's coach Tara Hittle surprises Haleigh Washington with the news that she won the Gatorade player of the year award on Thursday. (Courtesy @DHSAthletics on Twitter)

Doherty's coach Tara Hittle surprises Haleigh Washington with the news that she won the Gatorade player of the year award on Thursday. (Courtesy @DHSAthletics on Twitter)