R-B's Frantti selected for Gatorade Illinois Player of the Year

Richmond-Burton senior Ali Frantti received a text with some unexpected news around lunch time on Thursday.

Frantti checked her cellphone to find a congratulatory message from Penn State assistant volleyball coach Kaleena Davidson. Frantti learned from that text she had been selected as the Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year.

Frantti, a 6-foot-2 hitter who signed with Penn State last month, recorded 603 kills, 270 digs, 99 service aces and 84 blocks, with a .540 kill percentage this season for the 23-14 Rockets. She recenty was named Northwest Herald Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.

The Gatorade award caught Frantti off-guard.

“I was pretty shocked,” Frantti said. “I didn’t really expect to get this or anything. It’s such an honor, I couldn’t believe it. The state of Illinois has such great players and to be recognized is a complete honor. So many girls I look up to have won this.”

Frantti helped R-B to a Class 3A state runner-up finish as a junior with a 37-5 record. Area coaches rank her at the top of the list of players who have come through the McHenry County area. Former Cary-Grove hitter Kelly Lamberti, who now plays at Ohio University, received the Gatorade award for Illinois for the 2010-11 school year.

The Gatorade award goes to an athlete who displays excellence in academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field. Frantti was selected to the American Volleyball Coaches Association first team and also was a two-time All-State selection. She was the No. 2-ranked player in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com.