Every Wednesday during the high school season, VolleyballMag.com will recognize a Dream Team of volleyball players who were standouts the weekend before. Most weeks, the eight-girl Dream Team will consist of the following:
Setter, S/RS or RS
Players will be considered for Dream Team ONLY if they are nominated by their high school coaches using this link: https://volleyballmag.com/hs-player-of-the-week-submissions/.
Nominations will be solicited by email to high school coaches only on our email list. To sign up, follow this link: https://volleyballmag.com/hs-email-sign-up/
This week, because we had no DS submissions, we have added an extra setter to the Dream Team.
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 week.
VolleyballMag.com HIGH SCHOOL DREAM TEAM for September 21, 2022
S/OH: Kennedy Phelan, 5-8 Sr., Fayetteville (Arkansas) — Fayetteville came into the Durango Fall Classic undefeated and ranked among the nation’s top five. The Bulldogs left with a third-place finish and made all the doubters believers. Phelan, a Florida State recruit, was superb, whether setting up her hitters, serving rockets, playing fierce defense or taking her swings from the left side. She finished the weekend with 148 assists, 39 kills, 39 digs and 12 aces. She is a coach’s kid and comes by that knowledge naturally but she also is a natural athlete who gets the most out of her physical ability.
S/RS: Ariana Rodriguez, 5-11 Sr., Poly Prep (Brooklyn, New York) — Head coach Ben Diaz asserted that his University of Miami-bound setter was “by far the best player in the gym” both days at the Durango Fall Classic this past weekend.
That’s high praise considering that Audrey Liddle (Archbishop Mitty senior OH) and London Wijay (Alemany junior OH) were in the same pool on Day 1 at Desert Oasis HS and that Olivia Babock (Sierra Canyon senior RS), Zoey Burgess (Lone Peak junior MB), Jaidyn Jager (La Costa Canyon soph. OH) and the entire rosters from Mater Dei and Iolani were also playing at that school on that day. That’s how much Diaz believes in his player, who recorded 85 kills (hitting .516) with 37 assists, 44 digs, 26 aces, 23 blocks and a passer rating of 2.1 over seven matches. That’s mighty impressive work. “She was dominant throughout the tournament and made herself and her Brooklyn, New York team’s presence known,” Diaz said. “She’s committed to Miami, where she will continue to shine and grind.”
RS: Olivia Babcock, 6-5 Sr., Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, California) — The Trailblazers logged a strong, fifth-place finish at Durango behind the hitting, blocking and serving of Babcock, a Pittsburgh Panther recruit. Babcock is fierce at the net but absolutely scary behind the service line, where her top spin jump serve, which exhibits both pace and consistency, has back rows cowering.
OH: Ava Novak, 6-3 Jr., Benet Academy (Lisle, Illinois) — Novak led Benet to the title at last weekend’s Wheaton Classic, which is on the short list for most competitive tournament in Illinois. Novak was named MVP for leading the 17-1 Redwings in kills while providing excellent first ball contact all day on Saturday.
OH: Torrey Stafford, 6-3 Sr., Marymount (Los Angeles) — For the second straight week, Stafford, a Pittsburgh commit and elite national attacker, proved unstoppable as the Sailors made the finals of another prestigious tournament. Stafford hit .400 for the weekend, served tough and was terrific in the back row. She was the player more coaches mentioned to me than anyone else. It usually came while they were shaking their head at just how dominant she was.
MB: Jenna Hanes, 6-3 Jr., Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, California) — Hanes, a Michigan commit, was an unstoppable force this weekend at the biggest tournament in the country. Long and agile, Hanes was always available and practically every swing produced a kill. It’s no wonder that the Dons sailed through the Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas and that Hanes was the MVP. “Jenna dominated at Durango in every way possible,” noted coach Juliana Conn. “Teams consistently put two and three blockers against her, but she powered through each and every time. In many matches, she was the key to our success and we fed her the ball as much as possible knowing that she’d put it down. Her ability to hit high, while also cutting incredible angles, is truly remarkable. The pace in which she hits a ball can be scary to watch, especially if you’re the defender on the other side. It’s no surprise that when all was said and done at Durango, she was crowned tournament MVP.”
MB: Kaitlyn Gotsch, 6-4 Sr., Friendswood (Texas) — A first-year varsity player, coach Sarah Paulk says that Gotsch is one of the most improved players over a high school career that she has ever seen. In two matches last week she recorded 18 kills and a whopping 16 blocks! She is only eight blocks away from breaking the school’s single-season record!
Libero: Reilly Chausse, 5-4 Jr., Sandburg (Orland Park, Illinois) — Chausse led the Eagles to a 4-2 record last week, highlighted by wins over Illinois state power Marist and a highly-touted Oak Park River Forest at the Wheaton Classic.
Chausse made the All-Tournament team after collecting nearly 100 digs, including a season-high 25 against OPRF. She served at 97 percent with 11 aces and added 17 assists. What a week!
Also considered (by position, in order of consideration):
S: Silina Damuni, 5-9 Sr., Timpview (Provo, Utah) — Damuni commanded the court for the Thunderbirds, who placed 12th at Durango this past weekend. Damuni, a BYU recruit, is a four-year starter and, with more than 3,000 career assists, is the school’s all-time assist leader.
S: Emily Dean, 5-8 Sr., Lakeside School (Seattle, Washington) — A Franklin & Marshall commit, Dean set a program record with 218 assists for the week over eight matches (21 sets). Dean, who has a rocket serve and delivers a beautiful ball, also chipped in with 20 aces and 70 digs. Lakeside went 5-3 over those eight matches, including a win over touted La Costa Canyon at the Durango Fall Classic.
S: Alex Bower, 5-10 Jr., Skyview (Nampa, Idaho) — The middle of seven Bower sisters showed tremendous leadership and skill over the weekend at Durango. With the Hawks playing shorthanded because their top attackers could not swing, Bower, a BYU recruit, willed her team to three Friday wins over tough competition. “She ran the offense extremely well and was a threat offensively for us,” said coach Kevin Murphy. “Alex’s leadership, energy and quality play were huge factors in allowing us to advance to the gold bracket on Saturday.”
S: Kate Kaiser, 5-10 Sr., Vestavia Hills (Alabama) — Kaiser directed the Rebels’ offense through two area match wins and a 3-1 showing in Florida at the USA Volleyball Challenge in Panama City Beach. Over the six matches, Kaiser dished out 161 assists and added 51 digs, six blocks and 10 aces. Following the weekend the Rebels are 24-6 and ranked No. 7 in Alabama.
S: Caroline Adams, 5-6 Fr., Friendswood (Texas) — A recent addition to the starting lineup, Adams is shining as a setter, not merely as a “freshman’ setter. In two wins last week, she recorded 46 assists and 27 digs as part of the Mustangs’ setting tandem. “She is a fierce competitor and runs the court extremely well,” Paulk said.
S/RS: Kaitlyn Cochran, 6-1 Sr., Whitney (Rocklin, California) — Cochran, an Oregon State commit, was again a force for the Wildcats at the Christine Craft Memorial this past weekend in Sacramento. Cochran leads state-ranked Wildcats (21-1) with 165 kills (hitting .404), tops the squad with 248 assists and has 45 aces. “All of these and she’s our main leader on the court,” coach Kami Kazel asserted. “We couldn’t play this game without her skills and leadership.”
RS: Autumn Bax, 6-1 Jr., Blair Oaks (Jefferson City, Missouri) — Bax had more than 100 kills, 10 aces and 65 digs to lead the 16-1 Falcons to an 8-0 week ending Sept. 10. Blair Oaks won a tournament and scored a big win over a conference rival.
OH: Cayleigh Ponn, 5-7 Soph., Hidden Valley (Roanoke, Virginia) — Ponn amassed 97 kills in just 10 sets for the Titans, who stayed undefeated in 2022 by taking the title at the Endless Summer tournament over the weekend. Ponn, who hit .348 over the tournament’s five matches, added 55 digs, 10 assists and 10 aces. Ponn had the final kills in both 25-23 sets in the championship versus Grafton. Just midway through her sophomore year, Ponn has recorded 606 kills, 458 digs and 148 aces. Her coach says she is a very hard worker with a ‘refuse to lose’ attitude.
OH: Julia Blyashov, 6-2 Sr., Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, California) — This is what I wrote in Tuesday’s Dots about Blyashov, after watching this All-Tournament attacker at Durango over the weekend: “All of that being said, Blyashov was the outside who MOST impressed me. The senior, who was an impact freshman back in 2019 when the Dons first won Durango, scored on the left with both power and finesse. And she was studly in the back row, whether passing or laying out to keep a hard-driven ball off the wood.” This is what head coach Juliana Conn said about her Stanford-bound four-year starter. Does it sound similar? “Many know Julia for her high-powered offense, but it’s her all-around game and volleyball IQ that make her so great. She’s excellent in every skill of the game, whether it be serve receive, floor and blocking defense, out of system setting, as well as her offensive firepower and finesse. She’s the core to our team and provides a calm court presence to the players around her, allowing others to shine in their own roles because they know Julia will hold her own and do her job to perfection. She’s an invaluable piece of our puzzle and that really showed over the weekend in Vegas.”
OH: Jurnee Robinson, 6-0 Sr., Mauldin (South Carolina) — Robinson had seven kills and 10 digs in a 2-0 sweep of Nation Ford for the title at the Dorman Tournament of Champions over the weekend. Robinson, an LSU commit, is perhaps the most athletic outside hitter nationally in the senior class. Mauldin is now 20-5 on the season.
OH: London Wijay, 5-11 Jr., Alemany (Mission Hills, California) — A Texas A&M recruit, Wijay powered to a 5-2 record at Durango. She recorded 110 kills while hitting .327, and added 57 digs and 15 aces. “She’s an incredible volleyball player who empower her team to play at the next level of the game,” her coach said.
OH: Bella Bullington, 6-2 Soph., Marist (Chicago, Illinois) — The Redhawks placed third at the Wheaton Classic over the weekend. Bullington, an All-Conference selection as a freshman, was a big reason why. After contributing eight kills, 10 digs and three aces in a regular match win over Nazareth Academy, Bullington amassed 51 kills, 47 digs, 12 blocks and seven aces in the Classic, including a double-double (12 kills; 12 digs) in a semifinal loss to top-seeded Lyons Township.
OH: Kennedy Martin, 6-7 Sr., Nation Ford (Fort Mill, South Carolina) — Martin, a Florida recruit, had 12 kills in the Saturday championship match at the Dorman ToC, but they weren’t enough to send the Falcons past Maudlin for the title. Martin is averaging 5.5 kills per set this year.
OH: Quinn Anderson, 6-0 Jr., Westborough (Massachusetts) — In three sweeps last week for the undefeated Rangers, Anderson totaled 48 kills with five aces. She also was the leader in passing percentage across all three matches.
OH: Alli Reimer, 6-0 Jr., Parkland (Allentown, Pennsylvania) — Reimer shined over the weekend at the eight-team Parkland Invitational, which featured many of the best teams from Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Over nine matches (21 sets), Reimer amassed 73 kills while hitting .401.
OH: Isabel Patterson, 5-11 Jr., Jesuit (Portland, Oregon) — Committed to playing both beach and indoors at the University of Oregon, Patterson’s play all year has been downright ducky for the undefeated Crusaders. She has amassed 92 kills so far this year and her 104 digs are second only to the team’s libero. Jesuit plays at the challenging State Preview in Albany on Saturday.
OH: Taliah Lee, 6-0 Sr., Timpview (Provo, Utah) — Lee, a Long Beach State recruit, helped lead the Thunderbirds to a Friday pool win and ultimate 12th place finish at Durango last weekend. She now has 1,300 career kills and is the school’s all-time kill leader.
OH: Halsey Brummit, 5-10 Sr., Clackamas (Oregon) — The Cavaliers’ top point earner and passer hit .333 over the last three matches while passing 43 percent of all serves received.
MB: Zoey Burgess, 6-2 Jr., Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) — A tremendous athlete and one of the top recruits in Utah, Burgess balled out at the Durango Fall Classic over the weekend. She hit .386 with 44 kills and added 15 blocks for the Knights, who placed third in the Classic Division.
MB: Logan Wiley, 6-2 Jr., Alpharetta (Georgia) — A recent commit to Georgia Tech, Wiley had 17 kills and nine blocks in a big five-set win last week for the Raiders over Lassiter. “She lives in the solution of the game, is a fierce competitor and amazing teammate,” noted coach Grace Fossier.
MB: Liz Hertzog, 6-0 Sr., Mater Dei (Santa Ana, California) — Hertzog hit .511 over the weekend at the Durango Fall Classic and averaged a block per set for a Monarch team that went 6-1 on its way to a ninth-place finish.
MB: Emma Barnett, 6-1 Sr., Mercy Academy (Louisville, Kentucky) — Barnett hit .571 with 30 kills in Durango, while adding 11 blocks and four aces. The Jaguars started as the No. 29 seed and finished 18th overall.
MB: Olivia Wayne, 6-4 Soph., The Hockaday School (Dallas, Texas) — Wayne was an absolute force to be reckoned with at the Durango Fall Classic over the weekend. She led the Daisies in aces on the weekend with 15, finished with 26 kills and hit .236. She also finished with 14 blocks and 12 digs against the best competition in the country. “She is only a sophomore and is going to be a huge factor for us this season just as she was last when she led the team in blocks and hitting percentage,” noted assistant coach Allison Camp. “She is the most powerful hitter in the front row with Avery Jackson being injured, and has stepped up to the challenge.”
Libero: Maya Evens, 5-7 Sophomore, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, California) — Evens followed up her MVP performance at the Dave Mohs Tournament two weekends ago with another stellar showing at the Durango Fall Classic, which her team won. “Maya has stepped up this entire season, proving she’s an elite passer and defender week after week,” noted head coach Juliana Conn. “She consistently rebuffs opponents’ attacks and serves, while making it look effortless. She’s a workhorse for this team, providing our setters with perfect passes every single time she makes contact with the ball. Our offense gets a lot of the attention, but it’s Maya’s stout defense and precision passing that allow us to run the offense that we do. This weekend in Vegas was no exception to that, as Maya proved that her range and court vision as a defender can frustrate even the most skilled opposing attackers.”
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