Seth Polansky
Sports Information Coordinator

Xavier's Shannon Shields earns Gatorade Arizona Volleyball Player of the Year honors

January 15, 2019 by Seth Polansky, AZPreps365

Shields amassed 974 assists and 401 digs to go with 143 kills, 49 service aces and 39 blocks this past season. (Mark Jones photo/MaxPreps)

CHICAGO (January 15, 2019) — In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Shannon Shields of Xavier College Prep as its 2018-19 Gatorade Arizona Volleyball Player of the Year. Shields is the fourth Gatorade Arizona Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from Xavier College Prep.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Shields as Arizona’s best high school volleyball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award to be announced in January, Shields joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including USA Volleyball players Kayla Banwarth (2006-07, Wahlert Hight School, Iowa), Alisha Glass (2005-06, Leland Public High School, Mich.), Jordan Larson (2004-05, Logan View High School, Neb.) and Foluke Akinradewo (2004-05, St. Thomas High School, Fla.).

The 5-foot-9 senior setter led the Gators to a 33-9 record and a second-straight Conference 6A state championship this past season. Shields amassed 974 assists and 401 digs to go with 143 kills, 49 service aces and 39 blocks this past season. An American Volleyball Coaches Association Second Team All-American selection, Shields was also the Conference 6A Premier Region Player of the Year. She concluded her prep volleyball career with 3,704 assists, 1,172 digs and 519 kills.

A member of the Xavier student council, Shields has volunteered locally with Kitchen on the Streets, a service that feeds the homeless, and she has donated her time to multiple community service initiatives through the National Charity League. “Shannon is such a dynamic player and her passing is spot-on,” said Ben Maxfield, head coach of Corona del Sol High. “She brings energy and tenacity to the court, especially in her defense and running of the court.”

Shields has maintained a weighted 3.87 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at the University of Louisville this fall.

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 work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Shields joins recent Gatorade Arizona Volleyball Players of the Year Brooke Nuneviller (2017-18 & 2016-17. Corona del Sol High School), Khalia Lanier (2015-16, Xavier College Prep.), Jenna Tunnell (2014-15, Desert Vista High School), and Sarah Sponcil (2013-14, Veritas Preparatory Academy) among the state’s list of former award winners.

As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Shields 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.

Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.

To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit, on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at