Editor’s note: If you appreciate John Tawa’s coverage, PLEASE JOIN THE TEAM!
Keep free volleyball journalism free by becoming a VolleyballMag.com Sustaining Member: https://volleyballmag.com/sustaining-membership/
Or make a contribution through Venmo @VolleyballMag
VolleyballMag.com DREAM TEAM for June 15:
S/RS: Aysa Thomas, 5-10 Freshman, Circle City 15 Black (IN) – Thomas is the quarterback of a team that stands 59-17 on the season. Last weekend, as the Adidas Midwest Championships in Louisville, her hustle, serving and setting was one of the biggest reasons that 15 Black took home first place in the 15 Premier division.
RS: Autumn Jordan, 6-2 Sophomore, Ozark Juniors 16 Elite (AR) – Coach Angie Baker noted that “AJ” had a big weekend for Ozark Juniors at the MidWest Pre-National Tournament in Topeka, Kansas. “She came up big on the net with key blocks as well as putting down some balls that clinched matches for us,” Baker said.
OH: Delaney Russell, 5-9 Sophomore, Colorado Juniors 16Sherri (CO) – A 100 percenter, Russell is the spark plug for nationally ranked 16Sherri. “What she lacks in physical stature she more than makes up for with the size of her heart and determination,” noted coach Sherri Hawkins. Russell played most of the weekend at DS down in Topeka at MidWest Pre-Nationals, but when called upon to hit up front, she was crafty and found hopes in opposing defenses. “If we are going to get a win, she has to be on the court!” Hawkins exclaimed. “She plays a huge part in the success of our team!”
OH: Lydia Hartman, 5-10 Freshman, Circle City 15 Black (IN) – A six-rotation outside hitter, Hartman was a force in all of them this past weekend, as 15 Black won the 15 Premier Division at the Adidas Midwest Championships in Louisville. She hit pin point shots in the front row and came up with dig after dig in the back, as well as attacking from behind the line. “She has a calm presence on the court and helps to keep things loose and fun on the court,” noted coach Kenneth Wood.
Libero: Paige Spanbauer, 5-4 Junior, Carolina Rogue 17 (SC) — At a very tough tournament hosted by A5, Spanbauer locked down serve receive and led the way defensively as Rogue placed third, which included a narrow semifinal loss to national top 10 A5 Gabe in three sets. Without Spanbauer standing on her head, team achievement at this level would not have been possible.
Libero: Ella Aprea, 5-4 Sophomore, Ozark Juniors 16 Elite (AR) – Ozark Juniors played at the MidWest Pre-Nationals in Topeka last weekend. “Ella was everywhere defensively,” noted coach Angie Baker. “She was very steady in serve receive, served 15 points in a row in one set and communicated effectively all weekend.”
Libero: Lily Hopkins, 5-5 Junior, HJV 17 Elite (TX) – The Alabama recruit played some of her best volleyball of the year with great defense and solid passing throughout the weekend as HJV won FAST Pre-Nationals in Houston.
MB: Alyssa Finister, 5-11 Senior, HJV 17 Elite (TX) – Finister, an east Carolina recruit, played with 17 Elite for the first time after playing on 18 Premier all season. Coach Jeff Ham said that she fit in seamlessly and really did a great job in the middle.
One final thing:
Below are the eight players that head coach Ali Fathali Nejad nominated for Dream Team the week after Sunshine 18-LA won 18s Junior Nationals in Phoenix to successfully defend its 17 Open title from the year before. Because the coach did not include specifics about each player, we did not include any in the Dream Team that week. Today, we recognize all of them. Congrats Sunshine!
DS: Ellie Geoghegan, 5-7 Senior, Sunshine 18-LA (CA)
Libero: Megan Verbiest, 5-7 Senior, Sunshine 18-LA (CA)
OH: Dani Thomas-Nathan, 6-0 Senior, Sunshine 18-LA (CA)
MB: Lucia Scalamandre, 6-3 Senior, Sunshine 18-LA (CA)
MB: Kennedy Hill, 6-1 MB Senior, Sunshine 18-LA (CA)
OH: Elia Rubin, 6-1 Senior, Sunshine 18-LA (CA)
RS: Kerry Keefe, 6-2 Senior, Sunshine 18-LA (CA)
S: Kelly Belardi, 5-9 Senior, Sunshine 18-LA (CA)
Every week 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.
© 2022 VolleyballMag.com. Do not reproduce in whole or part without crediting