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All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year: Kylee Giles, Bonneville

Bonneville High School senior outside hitter Kylee Giles is the 2013 Post Register All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com

Bonneville High School senior outside hitter Kylee Giles is the 2013 Post Register All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com

The name Giles is synonymous with Bonneville High School volleyball.

Long before she played for the Bees, Kylee Giles was more than familiar with Bonneville’s gym and the sport she would excel at and embrace.

For one, she had older sisters to keep up with. Kaity Giles Schultz, a 2006 Bonneville graduate, played on the 2004 state championship team, and Meranda Giles Maestas, a 2008 Bonneville graduate and present-day Hillcrest High School volleyball assistant coach, played on the 2007 state championship team.

“They both had state championships and I always wanted to be like them,” Giles said.

There was no question Giles would follow in their footsteps, taking up the sport in fourth grade and attending her sisters’ games. She made an immediate impact for Bonneville, starting as a freshman and being named a captain for the first time as a sophomore.

Although her high school career has concluded, Giles’ name will remain with Bonneville volleyball for years to come.

The senior outside hitter had 448 kills, 65 blocks, 390 digs, 38 aces, a .344 hitting percentage and a 2.11 passing average (out of 3.0) in her final season for the 34-8 4A state runner-up Bees. More impressively, Giles leaves Bonneville as the all-time leader in digs (1,564), in the top 10 in blocking and second all-time in kills (1,529) to 2010 graduate Mailie Garner.

For having a career worthy of making Bonneville’s record books and contributing to three state trophies and two consecutive 4A state title game appearances, Giles is the 2013 Post Register Volleyball Player of the Year.

Giles is the first Bonneville athlete to receive the honor since 2009, when Kylee Searle Sessions was named Post Register Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

Idaho Falls played Bonneville only twice in 2013, but it was enough to show Tigers coach Wendy Johnson how much Giles improved in her fourth varsity year. Giles emerged as an all-around player who was just as dangerous defensively as she was offensively.

“When you played Bonneville, you had to plan for how you would go against Kylee Giles,” Johnson said. “Kylee has a fast arm. She’s quick. She passes the ball really well. I think more this year than in the past, she was a steady Eddie. You couldn’t hardly rattle her.”

That level of focus was four years in the making. Bonneville coach Chantal McMurtrey said Giles is among a handful of four-year varsity starters since she became coach in 2005. Giles was brought into a leadership position almost immediately upon her varsity debut.

“She definitely led our team in a lot of ways, not just in the stats, but as a captain,” McMurtrey said. “A lot of times when you bring up freshmen, you bring them up because they’re great on the front row. Sometimes that part of their game needs time to develop. Kylee didn’t really get that time because we graduated eight seniors when she was an eighth-grader.”

Giles, who said she remembers being quiet and nervous when she was a freshman, became more vocal and influential with each year. One thing that hasn’t changed since the start, however, is her high aspirations.

“As a freshman, I made the goal to be Player of the Year as a senior,” Giles said. “My goal this year was to really block. I just wanted to block this year a lot.”

McMurtrey singled out Bonneville’s 3-0 regular season win Oct. 8 at eventual four-time 4A state champion Century as Giles’ breakthrough game. Sweeps against the Diamondbacks are rare, and Giles contributed to a Bees performance dominated by strong defense and outside hitting.

“It was the best match I’ve ever seen her play,” McMurtrey said. “You could see it in her eyes. Those special defensive plays she has, she had eight or 10 of those.”

That was the first of what would be five meetings between the Bees and Diamondbacks, who also played for the 2012 4A state title.

“I just remember on the bus ride there being really mentally prepared,” Giles said. “I did not want to lose that game.”

Just as big of a win — if not bigger — was Bonneville’s 3-2 victory over Skyview in the 4A state tournament semifinals. Both teams entered that match without a loss in the state tournament, and Skyview had not lost to an Idaho team in more than a year.

“I just remember being so excited,” Giles said.

Giles now turns her attention to another goal she has had since freshman year: college volleyball. Eastern Oregon and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks have shown interest in her, and she has more visits planned as she prepares for club season.

As she nears the next chapter of her career, Giles said she could not have made it this far without the support of her coaches, teammates and family. She also knows what she’ll miss the most from her four years at Bonneville.

“The practices,” Giles said. “There was not a day that we were not all dying laughing. I’m gonna miss the girls, the coaches. I’m gonna miss everything.”

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