Cranston East’s Lauren Milani Named R.I. Girls Volleyball Gatorade Player of the Year
CHICAGO (May 6, 2021) — In its 36th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today
announced Lauren Milani of Cranston East High School as its 2020-21 Gatorade Rhode Island Volleyball Player of the
Year. Milani is the first Gatorade Rhode Island Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from Cranston East High
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 Milani as Rhode Island’s best
high school volleyball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award
to be announced in May, Milani joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including USA
Volleyball players Kayla Banwarth (2006-07, Wahlert High 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-10 senior outside hitter recorded 194 kills and 73 digs this past season, leading the Thunderbolt (9-2) to the
Division I state tournament quarterfinals. Milani also compiled 24 blocks and 15 service aces while posting a kill
percentage of .561 and a hitting percentage of .402. A three-time First Team All-State selection, she was the 2019
Rhode Island Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year.
Milani has volunteered locally at a youth after-school program, and she has donated her time to the Warm Hearts
Warm Feet sock drive to benefit the homeless. “Lauren is the complete volleyball player,” said Ron Enos, head coach of
Barrington High. “She is dominant in the front both hitting and blocking, and her passing and defense are what every
coach wants in an all-around player.”
Milani has maintained a weighted 4.63 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play
volleyball on scholarship at Central Connecticut State University 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 works with
top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine
the state winners in each sport.
Milani joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Volleyball Players of the Year Keri Spitler (2019-20, North Kingstown High
School), and Maile Somera (2018-19, 2017-18 & 2016-17, Barrington High School), among the state’s list of former
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Milani has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a
local or national youth sports organization of their choosing. Milani is also eligible to submit a 30-second video
explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be
announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $2.7
million across 1,117 organizations.
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 playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at