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VolleyballMag.com DREAM TEAM for March 16

S/OH: Izzy Starck, 6-1 Sophomore, Colorado Juniors 16Sherri (CO) — Starck was a do-it-all player for Juniors this past weekend at the Salt Lake City Showdown. She hit .400, had 13 blocks, was one of the team’s best passers, was second in digs and is a three rotation setter to boot! Thanks to Starck’s work, CJ went 10-0 and finished first in 16 Open, punching a ticket to Junior Nationals. In one match last weekend, her first seven swings all went for kills.

Izzy Starck

“Whenever we needed a side-out, she was either the go to hitter or, as a setter, knew exactly who to get the ball to,” coach Sherri Hawkins said. “Izzy is also one of the most humble players. When she puts up a great set leading to a huge kill, she gets more excited for that hitter than when she herself crushes the ball, [in which case] she just smiles and just moves on to the next play.” 

RS: Addison Gaido, 6-4 Freshman, Austin Skyline 15 Royal (TX) — “Addy” was instrumental to Skyline’s qualifying in 15 Open last weekend at the Salt Lake City Showdown. She hit .397 over 10 matches and was instrumental at the service line as well, with six aces and only three errors over 85 attempts. In one match, Gaido hit .733 with 11 kills and no errors over 15 swings.

Addison Gaido

OH: Nayeli Gonzalez, 6-2 Junior, Alamo 17 Premier (TX) — Gonzalez was a force for Alamo, in system and out of system, and from every position on the floor, as the San Antonio squad punched its ticket to Junior Nationals in 17 Open.

OH: Rylee Unruh, 5-11 Junior, Dynasty 17 Black (KS) — Unruh was missing from the lineup over President’s Day when Dynasty struggled to an 0-7 record at Triple Crown. She was instrumental for the team in her return to the lineup this past weekend as Dynasty qualified for Junior Nationals in 17 Open. “She was a major point scorer and a great passer for us,” said coach Brian Tate. “We missed having her due to injury at Triple Crown, but she came back this weekend and helped guide us to a bid, evidenced by her bid winning ace!”

MB: Megan Gustus, 5-11 Sophomore, SynergyForce 16 Jon (CA) — Gustus filled up the stat sheet for Jon Arrow’s team at the WCVBA League Tournament this week. She led SynergyForce in hitting percentage, blocking, and aces. She has an outstanding ace to error ratio of 15-to-1, and hit north of .370, her season high. “For our team, she was a continual calming presence and consistently blocked and sided us out when we were in dire need,” Arrow said. “Due to an injury, she also had play back row in a match and was exceptional, picking up 10 digs and even four assists as the out-of-system setter.”

MB: Zeta Washington, 6-2 Junior, OT J 17 John (FL) — Washington, a Cincinnati recruit, was a beastly presence at the net this past weekend at NEQ and helped OT’s Jacksonville satellite qualify its first team ever in Open play.

Libero: Abby Keller, 5-4 freshman, Lions 15 Navy (Illinois) — Keller helped lead 15 Navy team to a second place finish in the 15 American division at the Mid-East Qualifier last weekend. “She led our defense, took half the court on serve receive, set my hitters well, served aces and even got kills in a majority of our matches this weekend,” noted coach Brad Rutherford. “She does a bit of everything for us. We rely heavily on Abby and she comes through for us every time. Abby didn’t have an off game all weekend. She helps our whole team feel confident that if the ball is hit in her direction, she will get it up. If the ball is served to her, she’s going to give us a good pass. We went into the gold playoffs as the 11 seed and took out the #6, #3 and #2 seeded teams but eventually fell to the top seeded team in the finals.”

DS: Mandi Morioka, 5-6 Senior, Mizuno Long Beach 18 Rockstar J (CA) — Morioka was a difference maker for Long Beach this weekend in Utah. Her serving and amazing covering helped the team win 18 Open at the Showdown to qualify for Junior Nationals.

Also considered (by position, in order of consideration):

Brayden Hipp

S/RS: Brayden Hipp, 5-8 Senior, Florida Gulfside 18U Prime (FL) — A Tulsa commit, Hipp led her team to first place in the Liberty Division at NEQ, earning the first-ever bid in Liberty awarded at NEQ. The team finished with a record of 8-0 in matches and 16-1 in sets. She averaged 9.6 assists per set and 1.4 kills per set.

S/RS: Kiera King, 5-8 Sophomore, Ultimate 16 Gold (IL) — King was a standout player in the 2022 Dunes March Madness Tournament, which UVC won. Throughout the weekend, Kiera showed consistency, leadership, and outstanding effort. “Kiera played each point with maximum effort, regardless of if the team was winning by 10+ points or losing by 10+ points,” said coach Lauren Lorenz. “She was first and loudest to cheer on her teammates from the bench when she was subbed out and truly embodied what it means to be a good teammate. Day 2 of the tournament brought much tougher competition and Kiera did not come off the court. UVC played 4 matches, 3 of which went to 3 sets, so it was a long day of battling. Kiera set in the back row and hit in the front row- she was our leading scorer on offense, ran a quick paced, advanced offense when setting and played aggressive defense. Kiera’s positive attitude, leadership and tenacity on the court was undoubtedly one of the main factors in UVC winning the 2022 Dunes March Madness Tournament.”

S: Charlie Fuerbringer, 5-11 Sophomore, Mizuno Long Beach 16 Rockstar (CA) — One of the most impactful setters nationally in her class, Fuerbringer put on a show for Long Beach in Salt Lake City. The team made the Gold Pools and lost out on the chance to qualify because of a three-way 2-1 tiebreaker.

S: Maddie Waak, 5-11 Senior, Houston Skyline 18 Royal (TX) — Waak controlled the offense to help Skyline overcome nemesis A5 18-Marc to win 18 Open at NEQ.

S: Bianca May, 5-8 Senior, Adversity 18 Adidas (IL) — May, a University of Illinois signee, returned from a June ACL tear to help the 18s defeat Adversity 17 Adidas in an all-Adversity championship match to end the Windy City Power League.

S: Ashley Mullen, 5-11 Junior, Dynasty 17 Black (KS) — Mullen was a key player in Dynasty’s rebound from an 0-7 weekend at Triple Crown to a qualifying spot in Open at NEQ. She moved the ball around with efficiency and accuracy, picking the right hitter at the right time to help key the offense and keep it firing fire on all cylinders. “Ashley did a tremendous job of understanding angles and tempo to keep us in system even when plays seemed ‘broken,’” noted coach Brian Tate.

S: Annie Dill, 5-9 Senior, Jacksonville Juniors 18 Teal (FL) — Dill, a Newbury College signee, led JJVA to a second place finish in 18 USA at NEQ, earning the Florida squad a bid to Junior Nationals. On the final day, she paced the offense to a 0.317 hitting efficiency, with a blistering 0.419 in the first match of Gold Bracket play. Not only was she extremely successful in managing her attackers and finding creative ways to help them score, Dill finished second on the team in digs (58) and service aces (9).

S: Macy Hinshaw, 5-10 Junior, Circle City 17 Purple (IN) — Hinshaw really stepped up this weekend and helped lead Circle City 17 Purple to the 17 Open title at the Northeast Qualifier. “She ran the offense well, made good decisions, served well, played solid defense, and was able to get up good hittable balls to the pins when we were out of system,” said coach Chris Due.

S: Naomi Chinchar, 5-8 Sophomore, No Name 17 Sarah (FL) — A sophomore playing up, Chinchar helped lead No Name to a T-5 in 17 Open at NEQ this past weekend. “Naomi has many options to set as No Name has plenty of pin and middle power,” said the club’s director. “With the help of Naomi’s leadership and solid passing, No Name was able to place to hitters on the All-Tournament team, with another being mentioned as a daily impressive player.”

***

Carissa Young

RS: Carissa Young, 6-0 Junior, AVA of Texas 17 Adidas (TX) — Young was instrumental in AVA’s third-place finish in17 USA at the Salt Lake City Showdown. She has distinguished herself as the go to player in tight situations and is a dominant lefty right side who also puts up a big block. “Her confidence and leadership on the court has improved tremendously this season,” noted director Katy Garza.

RS: Bella Rittenberg, 5-11 Junior, Coast 18-1 (CA) — Rittenberg had a “monster tournament” according to assistant coach Pat Bonner as Coast was able to punch its 18 Open ticket to Junior Nationals at the Showdown.

RS: Annie Tucker, 5-8 Freshman, Dallas Premier 15 Nike Black — Tucker played great all weekend as Premier took second in 15 USA at the Showdown to earn a bid to Junior Nationals. “She came up with big blocks and kills when the team needed them most,” noted Premier’s Geoff Kiessling. “Energy and focus were also huge all weekend.”

***

OH: Caroline Jurevicius, 6-2 Junior, Academy Volleyball Cleveland Rox 18 Red (OH) –Coach Meredith Gromala described Jurevicius’ effort in leading AVC to an 18 Open bid in Philly as “consistently elite.”

OH: Jordan Middleton, 6-2 Senior, Arizona Storm Elite 18 Thunder (AZ) — Middleton soared and scored all weekend for Storm, helping the Phoenix-area squad earn a trip home to Junior Nationals in April.

OH: Paityn Chapman, 6-3 Sophomore, Colorado Juniors 16Sherri (CO) — Chapman had 67 kills over 21 sets and hit .400 for Juniors, which won 16 Open at the SLC Showdown. Chapman also was strong blocking and even had a few solo stuffs that brought down the house. As Chapman increases her efficiency, she will become a go-to attacker on one of the nation’s tallest and best teams.

OH: Jaidyn Jager, 6-1 Freshman, Coast 16-1 (CA) — Jager was efficient offensively, great in serve-receive, served aggressively and was a great leader for a Coast team that qualified third in 16 Open at the Showdown in Salt Lake City.

OH: Chloe Chicoine, 5-11 Junior, Circle City 17 Purple (IN) — Another week, another nomination for Chicoine. The Purdue recruit wowed once again as Circle City won its first National Qualifier by dominating the 17 Open field at NEQ. “She played well all weekend in every aspect of the game,” said coach Chris Due. “She was not only a huge threat offensively, but really stepped up her game blocking at the net, as well shutting down opposing right sides. She also played solid defense and passed well in serve receive as well. The biggest thing is that she made everyone around her better with her leadership and play.”

***

MB: Jill Johnson, 6-0 Junior, Jacksonville Juniors 17 Teal (FL) — Johnson, nicknamed “JC,” was a standout at the Spring Bash in Ft Lauderdale. Her JJVA 17 Teal placed 3rd overall and went 4-1, She posted a team high .660 hitting percentage, while earning 12 kills vs Wildfire 17 Arthur, 305 VBC 17 Mo and taking down a tough DME UA Elite 17-1. Johnson was punishing at the net with three solo blocks and 13 assisted blocks. “Her improvement over the past year has been nothing but phenomenal,” noted recruiting coordinator CJ Sherman. “Hard work, dedication to each and every practice and drill have helped JC to become a force for this team.”

MB: Hallie Brown, 6-2 Senior, East Carolina Juniors Volleyball Club 18 National (NC) — Brown and ECJVC 18 National participated in the Black Division at MAPL Raleigh this past weekend. The team finished 9th overall, just missing the Gold Playoffs, against a number of very competitive teams. Brown was a very strong presence at the net throughout the two days, providing 11 blocks and many quality block touches. She was extremely instrumental against Upward Stars 17 Corey on Day 2, causing their team to change up their swings to hit around her block. She hit 1.000 the third set against Upward Stars for the Gold Challenge final match. Hallie finished the weekend offensively with 18 kills while hitting .300. She will play at Queens University of Charlotte next season.

MB: Kaia Fitzz, 6-2 Senior, Surfside 18 Legends (CA) — A leader on the court and off, Fitzz played inspired volleyball last weekend in SLC. She played with great heart and boundless energy in leading Surfside to second place in 18 USA at the Showdown, which qualified the team for Junior Nationals.

MB: Amelia Robinson, 6-0 Freshman, Austin Skyline 15 Royal (TX) — Robinson was a standout in helped Skyline take third place and an Open bid in 15 Open last weekend. The freshman hit .400 in the Bronze Medal match and hit .800 (four kills on five swings) in a key Gold Pool match versus Alamo 15 Premier that helped put Skyline into the bid match.

***

Libero: Tatum Thomas, 5-6 Senior, Arizona Storm Elite 18 Thunder (AZ) — Thomas had the crowds around Storm’s court oohing and aahing at her defensive showmanship this past weekend in Salt Lake City. Her play helped Storm qualify in Open for Junior Nationals

Libero: Ella Vogel, 5-8 Sophomore, Colorado Juniors 16Sherri (CO) –We’ve recognized Vogel here before; she is one of the top liberos nationally in this class and never has an off-week, combining equal parts consistent and spectacular. Vogel is that kind of player who always wants the ball hit at her and dares opponents to try to score off of her. She had 102 digs last weekend, nearly five per set; and passed flawlessly to help Juniors win 16 Open in Salt Lake City.

Libero: Jaylen Clark, 5-7 Junior, Surfside 17 MB Legends (CA) — A TCU commit, Clark passed a 2.6 collectively at the Philly NEQ in 17 Open helping her team jump from a No. 33opening seed to a 15th-place finish. “She had numerous serving runs and incredible digs against some of the best hitters in the country,” said director Hayley Blanchard.

Libero: Heidi Devers, 5-4 Junior, Dynasty 17 Black (KS) — Devers was a back row rock for Dynasty, which qualified second in 17 Open at NEQ last weekend.
“Heidi was outstanding for us defensively all weekend,” noted coach Brian Tate. “She passed at an extremely high level, and came up with timely dig after timely dig against some of the top hitters around, which consistently ignited our transition offense.”

Libero: Kayla Hostetler, 5-7 Junior, NKYVC 17 Tsunami (KY) — 17 Tsunami team competed at NEQ this past weekend and finished T-5, ousted by the eventual winners, Circle City 17 Purple. “Kayla was very instrumental in the success of the team in her play, her leadership and her energy,” noted director Jill Hunt. “Kayla anchored the serve receive and played outstanding defense. She made key plays during some very intense matches.”

***

Every Wednesday during the club season, VolleyballMag.com recognizes a Dream Team of eight girls volleyball players (15s to 18s age groups) who were standouts the weekend before.
The team will consist of the following:
Setter or S/RS
Setter, S/RS or RS
OH
OH
MB
MB
Libero
DS
We include our eight-player Dream Team, as well as others we considered, based exclusively upon nominations received. (Are you a coach/director who may want to nominate someone next week or in future weeks? Just complete this handy-dandy form: https://volleyballmag.wufoo.com/forms/r7ybeg30hedscp/)

Note to coaches and directors:
 while there is no science to how we choose members of our Dream Team, performing on bigger stages will give players an edge, as will nomination forms that describe with specificity how well a player performed the previous weekend.


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