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VolleyballMag.com DREAM TEAM for April 20:
S: Ella Rogers, 6-0 Freshman, Six Pack 15 (IA) – Rogers averaged nine assists per set as Six Pack qualified in 15 Open at Windy City over the weekend. She added 45 digs and 12 blocks. “Her great decision making, court leadership, and offensive presence were a huge part of our success,” noted coach Hannah Cowan.
RS: Laynie Smith, 6-3 Sophomore, Triangle 16 Black (NC) – Smith has shined in her first year on a “Black level” team. This past weekend at Big South, the skilled and athletic right side hit .636 in the semifinals and .444 in the 16 Open Gold Medal match as 16 Black earned its first medal on 2022 and the club won its first Open title at Big South in 16 years. Smith made the All-Tournament team, putting up a big block on the right and crushing the seam when her number was called.
OH: Kennedy Wagner, 6-1 Junior, 1st Alliance 17 Gold (IL) – Wagner, an Ole Miss recruit, was the catalyst in 1st Alliance’s run to the Gold Medal in 17 Open at Windy City this past weekend. Wagner was very aggressive offensively and at the service line, leading her team with 97 kills and 13 aces. Defensively, she shined with 72 digs and a dominating 15 blocks! “Wagner was calm, cool and collected throughout the weekend and closed the door on multiple teams at the end of big matches,” said coach Danielle Mikos. In the championship match against Circle City, Wagner had a monster performance, hitting .385 and tallying 15 kills. In addition to her excellent physical performance, Wagner’s leadership played a major role in 1st Alliance’s success. “In each time out of the big game, Kennedy exuded confidence in herself and her teammates and never showed one ounce of doubt that we would win,” Mikos said. “This belief spread through the team and 17 Gold made enough big plays to finish on top!”
OH: Emmi Sellman, 6-4 Sophomore, Metro 16 Travel (DC) – A fast-improving sophomore, Sellman helped Metro qualify in 16 Open at Windy City over the weekend. She had 109 kills over 21 sets, while hitting .370 from a pin; and passed a 2.0.
MB: Jordyn Dailey, 6-2 Junior, CHAVC 17 Black (NC) – Dailey, a Kentucky recruit, hit .514 for the weekend as Chapel Hill Area qualified in Open for the first time in club history. In the match versus Top Select 17 Elite that clinched the bid, she hit .750 with 12 kills, three blocks and two aces. “Attacking or just driving, her presence dramatically helped the team all weekend,” said coach Tristy Bittikofer. “She was terminal but she helped other hitters be terminal also. She held the block over and over again and gave so many of our undersized hitters open looks. She is one of the most dynamic and explosive athletes in this class and this weekend she was unstoppable for all three days!”
MB: Aubrey Bellus, 6-1 Freshman, Excel 15 National Red (TX) – Bellus was a standout this weekend at Lone Star, and helped Excel qualify in 15 Open. She averaged 1-2 blocks per set and led the team in kills in a majority of its matches. She had 14 kills in a three-set win over ARVC 15N1 Adidas that sealed Excel’s trickle down bid.
Libero: Claire Luoma, 5-8 Sophomore, Milwaukee Sting 16 Gold (WI) – Sting coach Dave Bayer said there were 3-4 superstar liberos in 16 Open at Windy City and that Luoma was part of that group. “What I felt stood out for Claire and certainly helped our team win some crucial points was Claire’s pinpoint accuracy and decision making with her second contact out-of-system setting,” Bayer explained. “I feel she is one of the best in the county in that area and she certainly could string together a pretty good highlight video of that skill if she wanted to. I know our pin hitters appreciate her out-of-system setting big time!” Luoma also is adept at all the things liberos do: receiving serve, defending and serving. For the weekend, she amassed 130 digs over 20 sets, 12 aces and passed a 2.4 to help her team qualify.
DS: Penelope Kavalieros, 5-6 Freshman, JJVA 15 Teal (FL) – In the semifinals and final of the 15 USA division at Big South, Kavalieros served 20 points, with eight aces, for the eventual champions. She also averaged 2.11 in serve receive for the weekend with 15 digs. “Penelope plays with an aggressive and competitive heart,” noted JJVA’s CJ Sherman. “Just what a great DS needs!”
Also considered (by position, in order of consideration):
S: Reese Messer, 5-11 Freshman, Dynasty 16 Black (KS) – Dynasty won 20 of 21 sets at Windy City to capture its third 16 Open National Qualifier this season. Messer was the engine, totaling 208 assists plus 60 digs. “Her ability to set a ball from anywhere on the court is insane!” noted coach Cassie Rockers. “Her decision making is top notch. She gets her hands on almost every ball and makes it look effortless.”
S: Emily Bobbitt, 5-11 Sophomore, Triangle 16 Black (NC) — Bobbitt is the quarterback of an offense that carried 16 Black through the Big South Qualifier and to a Gold Medal in the 16 Open division. With her ability to set a quick tempo to the pins, finding her middles for a fast transition kill, and being the vocal leader on the court, she played the key role in leading her team to Gold. “Emily holds herself to such a high standard and helps instill energy and the will to compete on the court in her teammates,” noted Triangle RC Tammi Fries. “She always displays a sense of composure and confidence, even in the toughest of situations on the court, and that was evident in her play this weekend. After losing to A5 at the previous tournament, they were not going to let that happen again. A very close match that went three sets, Emily’s decision making and ability to reverse flow help lead the team to victory over A5 and to the finals match.”
S/RS: Brooklyn Merrell, 5-7 eighth grade, Houston Juniors 15 Elite (TX) – Both a setter AND primary passer in serve-receive, Merrell passed an outstanding 2.24 and had 76 assists this past weekend to help HJV secure its 15 Open bid at Windy City in Chicago. “Brooklynn is a natural leader ON and OFF the court,” noted coach Lauren Rhodes. “She is the true definition of a team player and is willing to do whatever our team needs to be successful.”
S: Mary Grace Foster, 6-1 Junior, Infinity 17 Ren (MS) – Foster has a high volleyball IQ and knows who to set when and how to effectively use a setter dump. She served teams off the court and constantly kept opposing blockers on their toes this past weekend in 17 American at Lone Star. Her ability to swing aggressively from the front row also helped this team in many games in Dallas.
OH: Skyler Pierce, 6-2 Sophomore, Dynasty 16 Black (KS) – Yawn. Pierce was incredible again this weekend for Dynasty, which won yet another 16 Open qualifier. Being amazing is old hat for Pierce, the “Chloe Chicoine” of the 2024 class. She hit .430 from the pin, totaling 86 kills. Pierce also passed consistently, and added 50 digs and 16 blocks. “The energy she brings to the court is undeniable and she backs it up with solid game play all around!” exclaimed coach Cassie Rockers.
OH: Harper Murray, 6-2 Junior, Legacy 17-1 Adidas (MI) – One of the top attackers nationally in the country in her class, Murray showed up in a big way for Legacy this past weekend at Windy City, where her team went 8-1 and finished third in 17 Open. Over 19 sets, Murray slammed home 100 kills while hitting .374. The Nebraska recruit also had 24 aces and 15 blocks and passed a 2.3.
OH: Cameron Lloyd, 5-10, CHAVC 17 Black (NC) – CHAVC made history, becoming the first team from the club to qualify in Open. Lloyd was incredible in serve-receive at Big South, passing a 2.34 while handling 149 balls. “Her ability to control the first contact directly led to the team’s ability to qualify,” said coach Tristy Bittikofer. “Offensively she did a great job of making decisions; making a smart shot when she couldn’t score and scoring when she had the chance.”
OH: Chloe Chicoine, 5-9 Junior, Circle City 17 Purple (IN) – Chicoine, perhaps the best player “inch-for-inch” in the nation, had a great weekend at Windy City, helping Circle City finish second (barely) in 17 Open. “She played well in all aspects of the game,” said coach Chris Due. “She was flying around the court making great defensive and coverage plays. She was very solid at the net attacking with both power and hitting crafty shots. She also did a good job blocking and she was passing dimes in serve-receive. In other words, she was doing “Chloe things.”
OH: Abby Hayes, 6-2 Freshman, Six Pack 15 (IA) – Six Pack qualified in 15 Open at Windy City last weekend. Hayes was deadly in the front row as well as the back row. Over 18 sets, she recorded 65 kills, 14 blocks and 50 digs. She passed a 2.2 and hit over .300. Quite impressive!
OH: Keira Lucas, 5-10 Freshman, Circle City 15 Purple (IN) – Lucas dominated in the front row this past weekend for the 15 Open champs at Windy City. She led her team in kills for the weekend and showed off her strong blocking as well as her improved off-blocker defense.
OH: Lauren Lopez, 5-10 Freshman, Dynasty 15 Black (KS) – Lopez was a top scorer for Dynasty, which placed second in 15 Open at Windy City. “She was a weapon everywhere on the court and her many kills and ability to help us stay in system were keys to our second place finish this weekend,” said coach Brian Tate.
OH: Jenna Otts, 6-1 Junior, JJVA 17 Teal (FL) – Otts, a Gardner-Webb recruit, averaged 3.66 kills per set this past weekend at Big South, where her team finished ninth in 17 USA. She pounded down a total of 58 kills (hitting .320 for the weekend), with 12 total blocks, 28 digs and 14 aces.
OH: Cari Spears, 6-4 Freshman, Metro 16 Travel (DC) – Spears will be one of the most talked about players in her class before she’s through. Playing up, she helped Metro qualify over the weekend. Over 21 sets, she recorded 86 kills while hitting a robust .300.
OH: Lauren Perry, 6-1 Sophomore, Dallas Skyline 16 Royal (TX) – A key six-rotation piece for Skyline, which qualified in 16 Open at Lone Star this past weekend, Perry led the team with a 2.24 passer rating. This unsung hero also was second in hitting attempts for the weekend and hit .245. “Her back row attacks and out of system swings were crucial to our team earning its bid,” coach Jon Rye said.
OH: Ava Ladner, 6-1 Junior, Infinity 17 Ren (MS) – A six-rotation outside still searching for a college home, Ladner’s fast arm swing and approach make her difficult to defend, something teams in 17 American at Lone Star discovered this past weekend. “Ava is the player you can go to when your team is in a crunch and you need to get the side out,” said coach Lauren Corby.
OH: Madison Fairley, 6-0 Junior, Infinity 17 Ren (MS) – Infinity went 4-4 in 17 American at Lone Star last weekend. Fairley has been moved to various positions throughout the season (OH, RS, and MB) and has never once been selfish, said coach Lauren Corby. “She has put the team first and given 110% in each position and does it with a smile. She is a great teammate, as she is the first to cheer for her teammates, and an amazing athlete that you can trust to take care of the ball.”
MB: Eva Rohrbach, 6-2 Junior, WAVE 17 Juliana (CA) – WAVE went 10-0 to win 17 Open at Big South. Rohrbach was the MVP in the finals versus Triple Crown winner A5 Mizuno 17-Jing. The Maryland commit had 10+ kills in every match WAVE played and added a few blocks as well. “She was phenomenal throughout the whole weekend at the Big South Qualifier,” coach Juliana Conn said.
MB: Ashlyn Philpot, 6-4 Sophomore, Triangle 16 Black (NC) – Philpot was arguably the best middle in her division this past weekend at Big South, where Triangle won 16 Open with several wins over higher-ranked opponents. She hit .584 on the weekend and was instrumental in getting her team to the championship match. “From hitting 3s, 1s, slides, pushes…her range on the net is quite impressive,” noted recruiting coordinator Tammi Fries. “She is a very hard working middle, always making herself available as she can in transition, while also putting up an impressive block. Her smile is infectious as well, always celebrating her teammates and bringing positive energy to the court. Ashlyn’s hard work in making herself available for a fast transition and working to make every block, and her never give up attitude, helped lead this team to their goal of getting a gold medal.”
MB: Brooke Bultema, 6-3 Junior, Elevation 17-Goller (OH) – A Kentucky recruit, Bultema took on more responsibility last weekend at Big South, with the team’s most consistent pin and one of its best defenders unavailable. “Brooke embraced the larger load she would have to shoulder with ease,” said coach Adam Goller. “She was set as much or more than pin hitters are set on most other teams. With this large number of attempts, Brooke hit well over 350 on the tournament, while leading the team in blocks.”
Libero: Kaieva Johnson, 5-8 Junior, Club V 17 Ren Matthew (UT) – The defensive and serve-receive leader for Club V, Johnson was a rock for a team that came to Lone Star down a coach and two setters and still qualified. She passed a ridiculous 2.7 for the weekend and led in digs by a wide margin.
Libero: Avery Freeman, 5-2 Freshman, Circle City 15 Purple (IN) – Freeman not only was a key factor in Circle’s winning 15 Open at Windy City on the weekend, she also was a catalyst in the team’s triple qualifying over the last month. “She runs our backcourt and is always steady and consistent,” noted coach Jenna Tadros. “Sound in serve receive but also expected to take up half the court on defense- Avery made incredible plays all weekend long!”
Libero: Dakota Mitchell, 5-3 Freshman, Six Pack 15 (IA) – Mitchell brought nonstop talk and energy to the floor for Six Pack, which qualified in 15 Open this past weekend at Windy City. She also contributed 102 digs, passed a 2.3 and added 23 assists.
Libero: Piper Mickenheim, 5-6 Freshman, Excel 15 National Red (TX) – Playing both middle and left back, Mickenheim averaged around six digs per set and passed around a 2.2 to lead Excel to fourth place in 15 Open at Lone Star and a berth in the field at Junior Nationals.
Libero: Molly Tuozzo, 5-7 Sophomore, Houston Skyline 17 Royal – Tuozzo is that libero who makes all the plays she’s supposed to. That’s high praise from coach Jamie Morrison. Tuozzo was a rock on defense, passed 52 percent perfect and got aced just twice as Houston Skyline qualified in 17 Open at Lone Star. She also was outstanding as a secondary setter when she needed to step in.
Libero: Sarah “Tiger” Seabrooke, 5-9 Junior, JJVA 17Teal (FL) — Tiger was on fire this past weekend and helped her JJVA 17 Teal team to a 9th place finish in the 17 USA division at Big South. She scrambled in the back row, digging, pancaking and saving 55 balls to create a play for her team. She encouraged and motivated her team with 47 service attempts, eight aces and passed a solid 2.0 for the tourney. “This Tiger earned her stripes!” exclaimed recruiting coordinator CJ Sherman.
Libero: Sydney Breissinger, 5-7 libero, Elevation 17-Goller (OH) – Breissinger, a Creighton recruit, was instrumental in leading Elevation’s back row all weekend at Big South. Holding down the fort with one of the team’s top defenders absent, Breissinger passed a 2.2 and was very low error. Elevation came within two points of a spot in the Gold Pools, managing to compete well because of Bressinger’s play.
Libero: Avery Meide, 5-5 Freshman, JJVA 15 Teal (FL) — Meide posted a team-high 45 digs and a 2.21 passing average this past weekend, helping her JJVA 15 Teal team to the USA 15 BID at Big South in Atlanta. “Meide had crucial aces in the semifinals and finals and managed to run down some balls that were long gone!” noted RC CJ Sherman. “Avery’s court demeanor and desire to compete is evident every time she is on the court!”
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
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.
Parents: If you’re not seeing your club represented ask your director/coaches to consider nominating deserving candidates.
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