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VolleyballMag.com DREAM TEAM for May 11:
S: Olivia Tukuafu, 6-0 Junior, Aspire 17-Premier (AZ) – An Omaha recruit, Tukuafu ran Aspire’s offense so smoothly and made great decisions, leading to her team’s Arizona Region 17 Open Championship.
The team hit a blistering .317 and she averaged almost 10 assists per set. She also had nine blocks and was 6-for-10 with no errors on her dumps. Tukuafu tossed in six aces and 14 digs for good measure, a true dominating performance from the setter position.
RS: Aspen Maxwell, 6-0 Sophomore, Houston Juniors 16 Elite (TX) – Maxwell was HJV’s kill leader with 45 and hit .290 to help her club win Gold at Lone Star Regionals this weekend. Maxwell added 10 blocks as her team earned the National bid to the Junior National championships.
OH: Neomi Beach, 6-0 Junior, Aspire 17-Premier (AZ) – Beach was a highlight reel for the Arizona Region 17 Open champions. “Her thunderous kills from the back row left onlookers in awe,” noted coach Beth Nuneviller.
“She looks so fluid in her approach and with such pace, she reminds me at times of Yossiana Pressley.” Beach, who is committed to USD, tied for the lead in kills with 46 and was part of the passing pattern in most receptions and passed her best of the season at 2.26. She also added six aces, four blocks and 24 digs.
OH: Ari Brown, 6-0 Junior, Asics Willowbrook 17 Gold (TX) – Willowbrook went 8-0 to win the 17 Elite division at Lone Star Regionals over the weekend. Coach Gabi Carbone said that Brown, nicknamed he Texas Hammer” for her thunderous attacks, was at her best, dominating the net with her heavy swings. “She was a joy to watch for sure,” Carbone added.
MB: Erika Sayer, 6-2 Freshman, Colorado Juniors 15Shannon (CO) – Sayer was the go-to hitter this past weekend for 15 Shannon, which won the RMR’s National bid. Sayer ended up with 34 kills, hitting .430. She had more attack attempts than any other player, which is incredible for a middle. Sayer also came up huge at the net with 19 blocks (almost two per set!). Not only did she contribute offensively; she also came up huge from the service line with seven aces!
MB: Morgan Poulain, 6-2 Junior, Roots 17 UA Green (TX) – Poulain has been good all year, but has stepped up her game over the past month to become a team leader and difference maker in a tight match. Case in point: Down 12-10 in Game 3 of the third place match of the 17 Bid tournament at Lone Star Regionals last weekend, Poulain stopped three hitters in a row for blocks to change momentum and get her team on top. “Her quickness in the middle makes opponents second guess their block decisions, leaving our setters and pins with a much easier job,” noted director Lindsay Rosenthal.
Libero: Avery Freeman, 5-2 Freshman, Circle City 15 Purple (IN) — Freeman was integral to Circle’s third-place finish this past weekend at CanAm, playing up in the 16 Open division. “Our defense was insane,” said coach Jenna Tadros. “It was definitely led by Avery. She passed half the court in serve receive and passed at such a high rate. Her out of system balls also put our hitters in great positions – as she can be deceptive. Her leadership was excellent as even when a play was missed she responded and took accountability.”
DS: Eva Hurrle, 5-8 Freshman, Circle City 15 Purple (IN) – Hurrle played big this weekend at CanAm, as part of a sensational back row that has boosted the team all season long. She also was an exceptional leader and teammate. “Our entire backrow is gritty, relentless and keeps the balls in play so often for us,” noted coach Jenna Tadros.
Also considered (by position, in order of consideration):
S: Kelly Pawelka, 5-8, Asics Willowbrook 17 Gold (TX) – Willowbrook went 8-0 to win the 17 Elite division at Lone Star Regionals over the weekend. Coach Gabi Carbone said that Pawelka has great knowledge of the game and used her I.Q. to record more assists than ever before. “She was a key player for us to win the championship,” Carbone added.
S: Charli Crowson, 6-0 Sophomore, Houston Juniors 16 Elite (TX) – Crowson kept her hitters swinging this past weekend, all the way to the title at the Lone Star Regional Championships. She finished with 79 assists and was very strong on the defensive side with 25 digs. She served up seven aces and came up with two crucial blocks in Game 3 of the semifinals to help HJV reach the championship match.
S: Leeann Maysonet, 5-4 Sophomore, JJVA 16 Black (FL) – Maysonet is small but she plays like a giant. The sophomore led her team to the Gold division this weekend at the JJVA Spring Classic. “She is a competitor who is easy to coach,” coach Madison Dill said.
S: Taryn Gilreath, 6-0 Sophomore, Houston Juniors 16 National (TX) – Gilreath was more than solid in helping HJV secure a National bid to the national championship tournament. She finished the tournament with 70 assists, 23 digs and six aces.
RS: Mariana Buchanan, 5-11 Sophomore, Houston Juniors 16 Elite (TX) – Buchanan was terrific this past weekend for HJV and a key contributor to HJV’s run to the title at Lone Star Regionals. She recorded 28 kills with a hitting efficiency of .261. She also had 12 blocks for the tournament. “With Mariana’s contribution, HJV 16 Elite secured a National bid at this year’s GJNC,” said coach Tara Cross-Battle.
OH: Rachel Reed, 5-6 Junior, Aspire 17-Premier (AZ) – Usually an exceptional libero, Reed played six rotations as an outside hits past weekend for Aspire, which captured a 17 Open Region championship. “Her best was really good, as she passed a record breaking 2.54 in the five matches!!” exclaimed coach Beth Nuneviller. Reed ended up with 33 digs (3 per set) and added five kills and two blocks. She was huge behind the service line, with 12 aces, the most important came at 15-all in the third set of the finals.
OH: Avery Burks, 6-1 Junior, Aspire 17 Premier (AZ) – Burks, who is uncommitted, had 46 kills (more than four per set), hit .359 and passed a 2.44 as Aspire took the Gold in the 17 Open Arizona Region Championship. “She’s just an anchor for the team who we depend so much on,” said coach Beth Nuneviller. “Avery could be nominated every week as she is just so consistently solid.”
OH: Lauren Battle, 5-8 Sophomore, Houston Juniors 16 Elite (TX) – A quintessential L2, Battle did a lot of everything to helped HJV win the Gold Ball at Lone Star Regionals and earn the 16 National bid. She finished the tournament with 26 kills, six blocks, two aces and a whopping 40 digs.
OH: Taylor Williams, 5-8 Sophomore, Texas Tornados 16 National (TX) – The Tornados secured an American bid to Junior Nationals last weekend thanks to a dominating effort from Williams, who found ways to score from front row and back. In two crossover matches, Williams passed a 2.38 and hit .400, with 15 kills and two blocks.
OH: Kaitlyn Touzet, 5-10 Junior, JJVA 17 Black (FL) – Touzet was on fire both days at the JJVA Spring Classic, including the first day when she was pressed into duty in the middle. Her team went 2-1 on Day 1 to stay in Gold. She leads her team with energy and a smile.
OH: Dominique Phills, 6-0 Sophomore, Houston Juniors 16 Elite (TX) – Phills was a big reason why HJV captured the Gold Ball and a bid to 16 National this past weekend. She finished second on the team with 34 kills, hitting .210 from the outside; and added eight blocks and 14 digs.
OH: A.J. Bodunrin, 5-7 Junior, Asics Willowbrook 17 Gold (TX) – Willowbrook went 8-0 to win the 17 Elite division at Lone Star Regionals over the weekend. Coach Gabi Carbone said that Bodunrin is a very athletic outside who passes and plays defense. Her ability in six rotations was key to Willowbrook’s championship.
MB: Adell Murray, 5-11 Sophomore, Houston Junior 16 Elite (TX) – A dislocated kneecap has sidelined Murray for most of the season. She returned to play less than a month ago and this weekend was a huge reason why HJV won Lone Star’s Regional Tournament and qualified for Junior Nationals in the 16 National division. She amassed 29 kills with a .574 efficiency, and added 16 blocks and five aces.
MB: Lillia Neill, 6-1 Junior, Colorado Juniors 17 Kevin (CO) – Neill helped lead 17 Kevin to a first-place finish at the Rocky Mountain Region bid tournament over the weekend. The team earned a National bid. Neill had 21 kills and just one error for the event, hitting .590. She also contributed nine blocks.
MB: Allana Archie, 6-2 Junior, Asics Willowbrook 17 Gold (TX) – Willowbrook went 8-0 to win the 17 Elite division at Lone Star Regionals over the weekend. Coach Gabi Carbone said that Archie was “an absolute standout, dominating the net not just hitting but blocking as well.” She had an average hitting percentage of .750 for the weekend.
MB: Zoe Humphrey, 6-2 Sophomore, Houston Junior 16 Elite (TX) – Humphrey put up the big block – 21 rejections in all – to help HJV earn a 16 National bid with a first-place showing at Lone Star Regionals. She also added 19 kills with a .234 hitting efficiency.
Libero: Caity Clancy, 5-6 Junior, Colorado Junior 17Kevin (CO) — Clancy had an incredible 2.34 passing average and averaged four digs per set in helping 17Kevin earn the RMR National bid last weekend. “She is a true competitor and leader on the court!” said head coach Kevin Marquis.
Libero: Alice Volpe, 5-5 Sophomore, Houston Juniors 16 Elite (TX) – Volpe had a great tournament this past weekend and helped HJV earn a 16 National bid to Junior Nationals with a title at Lone Star’s Regionals. She passed a 2.37 for the event and had a time-high 42 digs. She was the reason HJV was in system more than 60 percent of the time. Volpe also was an asset behind the service line, with five aces and 97.7 percent serving.
Libero: Ally Alessio, 5-4 Junior, Aspire 17 Premier (AZ) – A Navy recruit, Alessio was solid all day for the 17 Open Region champions. She passed a 2.36, tied for the lead with 12 aces and led the team with 51 digs (almost 5 per set).
Libero: Bailey Montgomery, 5-6 Freshman, JJVA 15 Black (FL) – The heartbeat of her team, Montgomery passed a 2.0 and dug up 30+ balls this past weekend at the JJVA Spring Classic, which her team won. Montgomery is strong, quick twitch and very consistent on the court.
Libero: Cameron Steger, 5-3 Sophomore, Texas Tornados 16 National (TX) – Coach Briana Hudson called Steger a “rock star” for her work this past weekend, which helped the Tornados secure an American to Junior Nationals. Steger passed a 2.8 in the team’s bid match against Katy United, adding 13 digs and two aces.
DS: Bianca Byerly, 5-7 Sophomore, Houston Juniors 16 Elite (TX) – Byerly’s aggressive serving and big defensive plays helped HJV capture Gold at Lone Star Regionals and earn a 16 National bid. She recorded five aces and had 25 great defensive plays, noted coach and former Olympian Tara Cross-Battle.
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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