Tawa’s HS Dots: Mater Dei’s Golden State win clinches natty; N. Allegheny, Sioux Falls Christian exte...
November 29, 2023
April 5, 2023
Note to coaches and directors:Â 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 describeÂ with specificityÂ how well a player performed the previous weekend.
VolleyballMag.com DREAM TEAM for April 5
S/RS:Â Madilynn Mitchell, 5-8 Soph., MAVS KC 16-1 (KS) â€“ Mitchell came into her own this weekend, said coachÂ Henry Lee. She took some big swings in key moments, especially in a do-or-die match versusÂ Dynasty 16 BlackÂ that propelled MAVS into Gold pool play. She set three rotations, had key blocks and was integral to MAVSâ€™ qualifying in 16 Open at Show Me.
RS:Â Olivia Cohee, 6-0 Soph., TAV 16 Black (TX) â€“ Cohee had one of her best tourneys of the year in helping TAV qualify second in 16 Open at Show Me. She had 73 kills (3.17 per set), hit .399 and passed a 2.5. â€œShe was my most consistent player and got key kills in all of our matches,â€ said coachÂ Jason Tanaka.
OH:Â Mesaiya Bettis, 6-0 Soph., Northern Lights 16-1 (MN) â€“ A gifted athlete, Bettis stepped up for her team this past weekend and led Lights to the 16 Open title at Big South. She amassed 107 kills over 10 matches and also took on the responsibility of shutting down the other teamsâ€™ best attacker. Bettis hit .322 on Day 3, including .600 with 14 kills in the championship final.
OH:Â Megan Fitch, 6-0 Soph., Alamo 16 Premier (TX) â€“ Last yearâ€™s 16 Open Junior Nationals MVP was slowed early in the season by an ankle injury but is obviously fully fit after leading Alamo to an Open bid at the Big South qualifier. Fitch led her team in kills (115), hitting percentage (.366) and passing (2.0) and was second with 71 digs. She shined and was a difference maker in all six rotations even as every opponent focused its attention on stopping her.
OH:Â Christa Wilburn, 6-1 Fr., Austin Skyline 15 Royal (TX) â€“ Wilburn is one of several outstanding pins for Skyline but she stood above the rest this weekend. In helping lead Skyline to second place in 15 Open at MEQ, Wilburn recorded 76 kills, 10 aces and 36 digs and passed at a 2.2 clip. Her best match game in Gold versusÂ Team Pineapple, when she amassed 13 kills on 19 swings and just one error.
MB:Â Ashlynn Axtell, 6-0 Jr., Roots 171 Green (TX) â€“ Axtell led Roots in all blocking categories and was second with more than 40 kills while hitting .400. Her stellar showing helped Roots qualify for Junior Nationals in the 17 USA division.
MB:Â Audrey Dyas, 6-1 Fr., NKYVC 15 Tsunami (KY) â€“ A player with a â€œbeast modeâ€ mentality, Dyas was tough to stop once again this weekend and helped Tsunami capture an Open bid at Big South. She was terrific in transition and took away any opposing middle offense when she was on the net.
Libero:Â Alyani Correa, 5-4 Fr., Game Point 15 Rox (FL) â€“ Correaâ€™s best tournament of the season helped GP capture the competitive 15 Open division at Big South. Both her passing and defense were spot on and spectacular in every match.
Also considered (by position, in order of consideration):
S/RS:Â Logan Parks, 6-0 Soph., MAVS KC 16-1 (KS) â€“ Parks was a key reason MAVS was able to qualify at Show Me. She sets in three rotations and also is a formidable blocker and go-to hitter forÂ Henry Leeâ€™sÂ team.
S:Â Abby Yoder, 5-8 Jr., NKYVC 17 Tsunami (KY) â€“ All core hitters hit over .300 this weekend at Big South, a testament to the consistency Yoder exhibited in leading Tsunami to second place in 17 Open. A strong leader with great energy, Yoder opened up countless one-on-one opportunities for her hitters, who delivered.
S/RS:Â Kaia Thiele, 5-10 Soph., Alamo 16 Premier (TX) â€“ Thiele didnâ€™t come off the court as Alamo, the defending age group national champions, qualified on the floor at Big South. For the tourney, Alamo went 9-1, with Thiele contributing 109 assists, 32 kills, 39 digs, five aces and 14 blocks in an exceptional effort. The teamâ€™s floor captain and leader, she also delivered the serve that turned into an overpass kill that clinched Alamoâ€™s bid.
S:Â Maddie Wehr, 5-8 Fr., Game Point 15 Rox (FL) â€“ GP won 15 Open at Big South with Wehr running the show. She exhibited great leadership, distributed the ball masterfully and played good defense as GP overcame a 40-team field that included six in the top 25 to capture the Gold Ball.
S/RS:Â Abby Bianchini, 5-10 Fr., NKYVC 15-1 Tsunami (KY) â€“ Bianchiniâ€™s clutch play this past weekend helped 15 Tsunami earn an Open bid. As a setter, she ran a successful offense that found hot hitters in crunch time; and she pushed the ball across the court in search of open space. She also owned the line as a right side attacker and her no quit mentality rubbed off on her teammates, culminating in a successful weekend.
S:Â Makenna Kirlin, 5-8 Fr., Elevation 15 Tony (OH) â€“ Kirlin was Elevationâ€™s steady leader and helped her team qualify in Open at MEQ.
S/RS:Â Emma Stutzer, 5-6 Jr., JJVA 17 l Black (FL) â€“ 17 Black was dealing with injuries at Big South, which required Stutzer to do a lot of EVERYTHING. She set. She hit. She dug. She was the consummate team player in the face of significant adversity for a JJVA squad that came out of its first pool in 17 American, but struggled to win thereafter.
RS:Â Loryn Helgesen, 6-3 Jr., Club V 17 Ren Matthew (UT) â€“ Club V won 17 Open at Big South behind the massive Day 3 contributions of Helgesen, who hit over .600 the final day, including 1.000 in the championship match.
RS:Â Logan Devereux, 6-0 Soph., Sunshine 16 Pacific (CA) â€“ One of the teamâ€™s most consistent attackers, Devereuxâ€™ strong work in Power League this past weekend sent Sunshine to a first place finish and back into the top 12 in the Power division. She hit .264 on 85 swings and picked up tips â€œlike no other.â€ Devereux is a great teammate and reliable hitter. â€œWe do not win without Logan and that is a fact,â€ said coachÂ Katie Rhew.
OH:Â Grace Martin, 5-11 Fr., Pohaku 15-1 (KS) â€“ Martin plays older than her years, which may explain why club directorÂ Conan SalanoaÂ had her as a junior playing on his 17-1 team on the form her completed. Martin helped her 15 Open team finished third at Show Me, earning an Open bid in the process. Martin led her team in kills, digs and passer rating on the weekend. â€œShe played almost every single point this weekend and the team needed her,â€ Salanoa said. â€œGrace continued to crush balls when the team was in system and bailed us out time and time again when we were out of system.â€
OH:Â Alivia Skidmore, 5-10 Jr., NKYVC 17 Tsunami (KY) â€“ Skidmore was the teamâ€™s go-to hitter this weekend in Atlanta and brought power and termination to Big South in the 17 Open division. Her heavy arm contributed 68 kills on the weekend while hitting .313 and taking some massive swings for her team.
OH:Â Madi Miles, 6-0 Fr., Boiler Juniors 151E Gold (IN) â€“ Miles was a huge point scorer for the Boilers on their way to the 15 Open championship match at MEQ. The teamâ€™s go-to attacker also was a presence on the defensive end of the floor.
OH:Â Sydnee Petterson, 5-8 Soph., TAV 16 Black (TX) â€“ Petterson was outstanding at Show Me and helped her team qualify in 16 Open. Over 21 sets, she had 72 kills and 74 digs and passed a 2.2. Her play in the match versus top fiveÂ Nebraska ONEÂ helped TAV get to the championship match.
OH:Â Sidney Sprada, 5-11 Fr., Elevation 15 Tony (OH) â€“ Sprada slammed home 53 kills and was an anchor in serve-receive for now-Open qualified Elevation after a great weekend at MEQ in St. Louis.
OH:Â Cate Palmi, 5-7 Fr., Game Point 15 Rox (FL) â€“ Palmi showed off big power and essential ball control in helping GP win Big South in 15 Open.
OH:Â Kalen Lance, 5-11 Jr., LMVC 18 Elite Sue (VA) â€“ LMVC finished in the top quarter of the 97-team 18 Challenge division at Big South, thanks to Lanceâ€™s all-around excellence. The senior tallied 69 kills and passed a 2.42 for the Virginia squad, which won the 18 Silver B bracket. â€œKalen is always a bundle of energy, leads by example and always wants the ball when the game is on the line,â€ said coachÂ Sue Dillon.
OH:Â Mari King, 5-10 Soph., Jacksonville Skyline 16 Royal (FL) â€“ Playing without its starting right side, Skyline came within three-set loss (over already-qualified GP 16 Rox) from making the Gold pools in Open at Big South. Thatâ€™s because King was taking half the teamâ€™s swings and getting a kill on virtually half of them, while also leading her team in digs.
OH:Â Lilly Gillespie, 5-9 Jr., NKYVC 17 Tsunami (KY) â€“ Gillespie was a difference maker for Tsunami, which went 9-1 and earned an Open bid at Big South. She brought energy and drive as a six rotation impact player. Gillespie finished with 59 kills while hitting .366 and was amazing versus vauntedÂ A5, with six kills on 12 swings.
OH:Â Julia Hopkins, 6-1 Jr., Roots 171 Green (TX) â€“ Hopkins was a dominating force for third-place Roots in the 17 USA division at Big South this past weekend. She had more than 60 kills and hit over .300 on the pin. â€œHer efficiency and consistency kept us in the hunt through the entire weekend,â€ coachÂ Lindsay ThompsonÂ said.
OH:Â Sarahbelle Jameson, 6-0 Soph., JJVA 15 Teal (FL) â€“ Jameson was pounding balls for her team at Big South this past weekend. This is a player who is determined, works hard and shows off an amazing arm swing that makes scoring look easy.
OH:Â Ameena Campbell, 5-11 OH, Mizuno Long Beach 18 Rockstar (CA) â€“ Long Beach picked up an At-Large bid to Open and will have a weapon in Campbell, a flyer playing top-level volleyball right now. She hit .264 for the weekend as Long Beach placed third in the Elite division of the SCVA.
OH:Â Nadia Ewton, 6-0 Soph., JJVA 16 Teal (FL) â€“ Ewton found her groove this weekend at Big South. She led her team in kills in 16 Open. â€œShe pounded, pushed, slammed, tipped, rolled, used and abused the block,â€ exclaimed JJVAâ€™sÂ CJ Sherman.
MB:Â Julia Hunt, 6-2 Jr., NKYVC 17 Tsunami (KY) â€“ A regular on our Dream Team because of her high-end consistency, Hunt was once again a huge presence on both sides of the ball for Tsunami, which earned an Open bid with a second-place showing at Big South. The Washington commit hit .360 with 60 kills on the weekend and was a big presence as a blocker at the net as well.
Libero:Â Brooklyn Vigil, 5-7 Soph., Alamo 16 Premier (TX) â€“ A rock in serve-receive, Vigil took over more than 50 percent of the court this weekend. Her first-ball prowess was key in Alamo getting to and earning an Open bid. The team hit .277 and sided out at a 64 percent clip in large part because of the â€œVigil assist,â€ which produced nearly twice as many pass attempts as anyone else on her team.Â Â Vigil also finished with a team-high 78 digs and added 24 assists as a secondary setter.
Libero:Â Emma Frietch, 5-7 Fr., NKYVC 15 Tsunami (KY) â€“ Frietch had an already-developed rep coming into Big South, so itâ€™s big news for the club to say that she played her best volleyball yet in Atlanta. â€œShe continues to make outstanding plays keeping the ball alive on our side, including a winning dig in the third set againstÂ A5,â€ noted directorÂ Jill Hunt. â€œHer consistent serve receive is why our offense is so successful. She will take any ball she can in serve receive to make sure our setters have the best options. Emma continues to perform at the highest level and is a serious threat to any teamâ€™s offense.â€
Libero:Â Anna Grace Martin, 5-3 Jr., LMVC 18 Elite Sue (VA) â€“ Big South was the last tourney of Martinâ€™s career and she played with no regrets. She had 42 digs, seven aces and passed a 2.63 in helping LMVC win the Silver B bracket.
Libero:Â Madelyn â€œDDâ€ Banton, 5-7 Soph., JJVA 16 Black (FL) â€“ Banton was a back row force for JJVA, which placed fifth out of 163 teams in 16 American at Big South this past weekend. â€œShe is the total package as a libero,â€ noted recruiting coordinatorÂ CJ Sherman. â€œShe sacrifices herself and encourages her teammates. She is a leader and is developing her game to the next level.â€
Libero:Â Ella Grimes, 5-9 Fr., Elevation 15 Tony (OH) â€“ Grimes had 21 aces and continued to be Elevationâ€™s defensive leader in a qualifying effort at MEQ in St. Louis this weekend.
Libero:Â Ava Wind, 5-6 Jr., Roots 171 Green (TX) â€“ Wind was a constant for Roots, which won a bid in the 17 USA division at Big South. She passed a 2.5 for the weekend and her spectacular defense helped the Austin club rally from a 24-20 deficit to win a set, 27-25, in the third-place match for the bid.