Somer Stover

East Fairmont’s Somer Stover has been named the Times West Virginian Volleyball Player of the Year for the third straight season after notching a county-best 451 kills this season.

PLEASANT VALLEY — There was one final leap to be had for East Fairmont senior Somer Stover as she entered into the final year of what was already a well-established and accolade-laden career with the Lady Bees on the volleyball court this fall. Stover burst onto the scene as a freshman to become the Bee’s most potent weapon from the get-go, and in the next two seasons, she added to her repertoire to earn statewide notoriety.

This past fall, however, Stover vaulted higher still as she elevated herself into one of the top players in the entire state en route to earning Class AA all-state first team honors while leading the Lady Bees to a 16-10 record.

“We had high expectations coming into her senior year, and she got all the top honors she could get,” said Stover’s mother and East Fairmont head coach Giget Kuroksi. “She’s improved every single year. Each year she’d just work in the offseason and get stronger on her hitting, working on her vertical, working on her serving. Every year she just continued to improve.”

Stover’s outstanding senior season earned her first team all-state and first team all-conference honors as well as a spot in the annual North-South all-star game, which won’t be played this season due to COVID-19 concerns. Adding to that pile of awards, Stover has also now been named the Times West Virginian Volleyball Player of the Year for the third consecutive season.

All season long, Stover was the linchpin of the Bees’ attack, blending raw hitting power and athletic gifts into a devastating offensive combo that saw her amass a whopping 451 kills, but she was also so much more, Kuorski said. She may have also been the team’s most adept defender, both at the net and fielding opposing attacks, and she also had the wherewithal and skills to set up her teammates for attacks. All told, Stover complemented her 451 kills with 123 digs, 67 aces and 40 assists for the season.

“She’s a really strong hitter, but regardless of where she was on the court, she got the job done,” Kuorski said. “She was one of our best defensive players in the back row, and we had our setter get hurt and she stepped in and set for two games. If I could have put a libero shirt on her and put her in the back row, I would have done it.”

“I don’t just say it because she’s my daughter, but she was just capable all-around.”

Stover’s ability to do any job was evidence of her sheer on-court prowess, but her willingness to do any job offered a glimpse into her selflessness and leadership, Kuroski said.

“I think she was a great leader and a great captain in really working with the girls and communicating with the girls to make sure each play happened,” said Kuroski, who has coached Stover the last two seasons at East Fairmont after also coaching her throughout her upbringing in various sports — soccer, basketball, volleyball — at various levels — youth, middle school, travel, high school. “I’ve been her coach on and off for the last 15 years, and I don’t treat her any different than anyone else, but it is nice to be able to come home and talk about the things that went well and the things that went bad and how to play that leadership role on the court and bring all the girls together.”

Stover has received interest from local schools in continuing her career at the next level, Kuroski said, with West Virginia Wesleyan, in particular, being a strong possibility. But for the here and now, Stover’s year-to-year improvement individually alongside her burgeoning leadership from a team perspective were the ideal blend for a stellar end to a memorable career.

Email Bradley Heltzel at bheltzel@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @bradheltzTWV.

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