DARKE COUNTY – Darke County had many great teams this fall sports season, and those great teams all have great players leading them.
Throughout the 2012 season, The Daily Advocate’s volleyball MVP and girls tennis MVP played well and then continued their success into the postseason tournaments.
This year’s Daily Advocate volleyball MVP is Mississinawa Valley’s Hope Neargarder, and this year’s Daily Advocate girls tennis MVP is Greenville’s Sophia Navas-Davis.
Neargarder established herself as one of the top players throughout the area her senior year, finishing the season first in the county in blocks with 100 and second to Versaill1es’ Lauren Bruns with 243 kills, only finishing one behind Bruns.
She also led her team with 28 aces, 194 points and a 90 percent serve reception rate. She was second on the Lady Hawks with 261 assists and a 23 percent hitting efficiency.
The Mississinawa Valley senior earned first team all Cross County Conference honors, second team District 9 honors and will play in the senior all star game on Nov. 14.
Neargarder also helped lead Mississinawa Valley to a pair of sectional tournament victories.
“Hope is one of a kind,” Mississinawa Valley volleyball coach Scott Brewer said. “She has the ability to read the defense and know where the hole is and puts the ball in that hole. She has been a great leader and an asset to the Mississinawa Valley program. You will find her name near the top of many of MV’s career stats in volleyball.”
Navas-Davis helped lead Greenville’s girls tennis team to its second consecutive Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division championship.
The Lady Wave junior went 22-6 at first singles this season and was named first team all-GWOC North.
“If you’re going to have a good team, you have to have a good first singles player,” Greenville girls tennis coach Jim Koontz said. “She was that.”
After being ranked third in her sectional, Navas-Davis then advanced to the district round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament.
“I think it’s been a while since we had anyone qualify for districts,” Koontz said. “Of course (second singles player Michelle) Borgerding did, too.”
Playing first singles for the second year in a row, Koontz said Navas-Davis was a vital part of the Lady Wave’s success the last two seasons. It seems every team has a good first singles player to challenge her in a match up that helps set the tone for the rest of the match, he said.
“Overall she improved,” Koontz said. “She’ll be a senior next year, and we just hope that she keeps on working on it, and I think she will.”
Navas-Davis and her sister, Raquel, who is Greenville’s third singles player, play indoor tennis during the winter, Koontz said.
“I’m proud of her, how she’s worked hard,” he said.