The Archbishop Mitty Monarchs dominated the national high school volleyball scene this year, starting the season at No. 1 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and going wire-to-wire to claim the national championship with a 39-0 record.
So it shouldn’t be any surprise that the Monarchs also cleaned up in the awards handed out on the MaxPreps Volleyball All-American Team. Coach Bret Almazan-Cezar has been selected as the MaxPreps National Coach of the Year thanks to his season-long stay atop the national rankings. Almazan-Cezar also guided the Monarchs to their second straight California Division II state championship.
“The national rankings are nice and it’s fun to follow, but it’s not what we play for,” Almazan-Cezar said following his team’s win over Redlands East Valley in the state finals. “Our goal is to hang banners. We have to keep our eyes on the prize and the prize is that trophy right there.”
Leading the way for Almazan-Cezar’s team was senior outside hitter Rachel Williams. Bound for Stanford next season, Williams was the state tournament MVP for the second year in a row. For her efforts this season, Williams has been selected as the MaxPreps National Player of the Year.
Following is a look at each of the first, second and third teams.
OH – Ashley Wittman, Shakopee, Minn., 6-1, Minnesota
Named the Twin Cities All-Metro Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, Wittman led Shakopee to its third straight 3A state crown with a 32-0 record. The future Gopher finished the season with 570 kills in 32 matches.
OH – Sara Shaw, Westlake, Austin, Texas, 6-1, USC
The Texas Girls Coaches Association 4A-5A Player of the Year, Shaw led Westlake to the 5A state championship before falling to Amarillo. Shaw was also the Central Texas Player of the Year by the Austin Statesman and had 392 kills and 285 digs despite missing the early part of the season with an injury. Shaw had over 1,500 career kills and 1,000 digs. The Chaparrals made the state finals three times during her four-year tenure on the varsity.
OH – Rachel Williams, Archbishop Mitty, San Jose, Calif., 5-11, Stanford
Williams was the top player on the top team in the country as she led the Monarchs to a 39-0 record and a second straight Division II California state championship. Played on a team loaded with strong hitters but she still managed to get 387 kills while also registering 239 digs.
OH – Falyn Fonoimoana, Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach, Calif., 6-2, USC
Fonoimona committed to USC during her freshman season and the Trojans will be getting a good one. She dominated at the net this year, posting 694 kills and getting 311 digs and 63 blocks during Mira Costa’s 26-8 season.
MB – Adrienne Gehan, Episcopal School of Dallas, Texas, 6-3, Cal
Named the Dallas Morning News Player of the Year, Gehan had a phenomenal season for Eagles. Besides getting 723 kills, Gehan also had 142 aces, 120 blocks and 372 digs.
MB – Tori Dixon, Burnsville, Minn., 6-3, Minnesota
Dixon is a two-time all-state and all-metro player for Burnsville. The Minnesota signee dominated at the net this year, posting 549 kills with 245 digs, 73 aces and 28 blocks.
MB – Elise Walch, Martin County, Stuart, Fla., 6-5, Wisconsin
Selected as the Dairy Farmer’s 5A state Player of the Year, Walch led Martin County to a 31-1 record and the 5A state championship. Headed to Wisconsin, Walch was one of the hardest hitters in the state of Florida, registering 539 kills and making 137 blocks on the season.
LI – Taylor Unroe, Muncie Burris, Ind., 5-7, Florida
Although one of the team’s top hitters, Unroe suffered an injury and played mostly defense the last month of the season in helping Muncie Burris finish 40-0 with a Division 2A state championship in Indiana. Unroe earned all-state honors and had 564 receptions and 298 digs on the year. She will play at Florida next year.
LI – Natalie Hagglund, La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad, Calif., 5-8, USC
Although not exclusively a libero for the Mavericks, Hagglund was one of the team’s top defenders and passers while leading La Costa Canyon, the 2008 national champions, to a San Diego Section Division I championship.
ST – Molly Kreklow, Delano, Minn., 6-0, Missouri
An all-state player at the 2A level in Minnesota, Kreklow led Delano to the state finals. Kreklow led the Tigers to a 29-4 record and finished with 551 assists, 236 digs and 90 aces.
ST – Hannah Allison, Siloam Springs, Ark., 5-11, Texas
The University of Texas signee led Siloam Springs to its third straight Arkansas Class 5A state championship. The all-state selection had 430 assists in leading the Panthers to a 24-2-1 record.
AA – Morgan Broekhuis, Colorado Springs Christian, Colorado Springs, Colo., 6-5, Nebraska
The state player of the year in Colorado, Broekhuis led the Lions to their sixth straight Colorado 3A state championship with a 30-0 overall record. Broekhuis led the team with 465 kills but also had 411 assists on the season.
OH – Kelly Reeves, Cathedral Catholic, San Diego, 6-1, UCLA
The UCLA-bound outside hitter led her team to two straight California Division III championships and was named the tournament’s MVP. She posted 395 kills on the season and also led the team in digs with 349. The Dons finished the year 31-7.
OH – Deja McClendon, DuPont Manual, Louisville, Ky., 6-0, Penn State
The state player of the year in Kentucky by the state coaches association, McClendon had 320 kills during the Crimsons’ 29-9 season that included a win over state champion Mercy.
OH – Annemarie Hickey, Catholic Academy, Joliet, Ill., 5-8, Wisconsin
The state player of the year in Illinois, Hickey led the Angels to a 41-1 record and a Class 3A state championship for the second year in a row. Headed to Wisconsin next year, Hickey had 388 kills and 359 digs.
OH – Kristina Graven, Archbishop Mitty, San Jose, Calif., 6-0, Cal Poly
A perfect complement to Williams, Graven was a heavy hitter in her own right, registering 373 kills and 253 digs during Mitty’s 39-0 season.
MB – Ariel Scott, Immaculate Heart Academy, Washington Township, N.J., 6-4, Penn State
Scott is a two-time state player of the year in New Jersey. She had 374 kills in leading the Eagles to a 30-1 record and the non-public state championship. The Penn State commit finished her career with 1,116 kills.
MB – Kathleen Slay, Wakefield, Raleigh, N.C., 6-6, Penn State
Slay helped lead the Wolverines to a 25-1 record and a deep run in the North Carolina state playoffs. She led the team with 435 kills and also had 83 blocks.
MB – Erica Denney, Grandview, Aurora, Colo., 6-5, Penn State
An all-state choice by the Denver Post, Denney had 280 kills and 126 blocks for Grandview, which finished 25-6.
LI – Ali McCurdy, Plant, Tampa, Fla., 5-6, Duke
McCurdy earned recognition as one of the nation’s top defensive specialists while helping lead Plant to the 6A state championship.
LI – Eden Williams, Amarillo, Texas, 5-5, Oklahoma
The Texas 5A state tournament MVP, Williams was an all-state selection by the Texas Girls Coaches Association and led the Sandies to the state championship.
AA – Chanel Brown, Valley Christian, Chandler, Ariz., 5-10, Florida
The 1A-3A state player of the year in Arizona, Brown led the Trojans to a 34-12 record and the 2A state championship. She had 881 kills on the season and also led the team with 768 digs and 121 aces.
ST – Dani Reinert, Urusuline Academy, Cincinnati, Ohio, 5-10, Buffalo
The Cincinnati Enquirer Player of the Year as a junior, Reinert had a sensational senior season, as well, leading Ursuline Academy to a 29-0 record and the Ohio Division I state championship. Reinert earned Division I all-state honors after posting 911 assists on the season.
ST – Stephanie Preach, Xavier College Prep, Phoenix, Ariz., 5-9, Arizona State
A two-time large-schools state Player of the Year by the Arizona Republic, Preach led the Gators to a 39-6 record and the 5A-1 state championship. Preach had 997 assists, but she also had 74 aces and a team-high 96 kills.
OH – Maddie Martin, Plant, Tampa, Fla., 6-2, Penn State
The 6A state player of the year by the Dairy Farmers’ Association, Martin had 390 kills and helped lead the Panthers to a 29-1 record and the Class 6A state championship.
OH – Sam Wopat, Dos Pueblos, Goleta, Calif., 6-1, Stanford
One of two talented twins for the Chargers who helped Dos Pueblos finish 32-3 with a Southern Section Division I-A championship and a Southern California runner-up finish. Wopat had 324 kills, 34 blocks and 143 digs.
OH – Taylor Simpson, Doherty, Colo., 6-3 (Junior)
The Colorado 5A MVP by the Denver Post, Simson had an outstanding junior year with 446 kills while leading the Spartans to a 23-7 overall record.
OH – Sara Palmer, Hawaii Baptist Academy, Honolulu, Hawaii, 5-11, Texas
The two-time state player of the year in Hawaii, Palmer led Hawaii Baptist Academy to the Division II state championship for the third year in a row.
MB – Carly Wopat, Dos Pueblos, Goleta, Calif., 6-2, Stanford
The other half of the talented twin duo at Dos Pueblos, Carly had 312 kills, 111 blocks and 121 digs to help keep Dos Pueblos among the top 10 in the Xcellent 25 National Volleyball Rankings for most of the season. Like her sister Sam, Carly will play at Stanford next season.
MB – Lisa Henning, Blue Springs, Mo., 6-1, Missouri
A two-time all-state choice in Missouri, Henning helped lead Blue Springs to a runner-up finish in the Class 4 playoffs. Henning had 390 kills, 69 blocks, 57 aces and 255 digs on the season.
MB – Haley Eckerman, Waterloo East, Iowa, 6-1 (Junior)
The state player of the year in Iowa, Erkcerman is a three-time all-state selection despite only finishing her junior year at Waterloo East. Eckerman finished second in the state with 643 kills while helping Waterloo East to the Class 4A regional finals.
LI – Rachel Charles, Marian, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., 5-7, Lehigh
A runner-up to teammate Alexandra Cocklin for Michigan state player of the year honors, Charles finished the season with 903 digs while helping Marian finish 77-2 with a Class A state championship. She’ll play at Lehigh next season.
LI – Danielle Thompson, Pope, Marietta, Ga., 5-7 (Junior)
Thompson helped lead the Greyhounds to a 54-2 record and the Georgia AAAAA state championship. Only a junior, Thompson was selected as the state MVP by the Georgia Coaches Association.
AA – Elizabeth Brenner, Jesuit, Portland, Ore., 6-1 (Junior)
An 11-time world champion in racquetball, Brenner has made her mark in volleyball as well, earning state player of the year honors in Oregon while leading Jesuit to a 29-2 record with its 12th straight Metro League championship and a runner-up finish in the Class 6A division.
ST – Chelsea Wintzinger, Huntsville, Ala., 5-7, Auburn
A three-time state tournament MVP, Wintzinger led Huntsville to a 61-2 record and a 6A state championship. Wintzinger holds the state record for assists in a season with 1,734 (set in 2006) and is the state career assist leader with 7,655 in five varsity seasons. She’ll play at Auburn next season.
ST – Lori Mendenhall, Brighton, Salt Lake City, Utah, 5-9, Idaho State
The state MVP by the Deseret News, Mendenhall set a state record for career assists with 3,208. She had 1,155 assists this year while leading Brighton to a fourth-place finish in the Utah 5A state tournament. She also had 194 digs and 112 kills.