Perennial powerhouses and up-and-comers dot our cross-country look.
While not every state has returned to action on the court, the high school volleyball season is in full swing in a majority of states. And those championship dreams are taking hold despite social distancing, masks and ensuring equipment is sanitized.
There are state champions looking to add another banner to the gym, runners-ups looking to avenge last season's defeat, and teams who gained experienced last season and now look to put it all together. Sprinkled throughout the list of top teams are All-Americans, state Gatorade winners and a slew of All-State selections.
Last year: 62-12, 4A champion
The Admirals are loaded with talent in a quest for a 19th straight state title. Senior setter Brelynn Dailey
returns with 963 assists, and hitters Ella Broadhead
(440 kills), Emily Buhl
(424 kills) and Colton Thompson
(255 kills, 629 assists) have enough to overcome the loss of the 587 kills from Jacque Martin, lost to graduation.
Last year: 58-10-3, 4A champion
The Wolverines lost three senior swingers, but have plenty waiting in the wings as they look for back-to-back state titles. Senior Cami Houser
brings back 319 kills, while juniors Hanna Henrie
and Kensey Schilke
combined for nearly 400 more in 2019. Rising senior Emma McMillian
dished up 536 assists for South.
Last year: 31-11, 5A quarterfinalist
The Huskies look to move further in 2020 as sophomore Kendal Murphy
pounded 359 kills and tallied a team-leading 517 assists, while junior Kaden Young
added 203 kills and 468 assists last year. Juniors Eden Driescher
(198 kills), Taylor Johnson
(197 kills) and Phoebe Stebner
(459 assists) add depth to what was a young roster in 2019.
Last year: 31-6, 6A runner-up
A 3-1 finals' loss to Bentonville will no doubt fuel the Mavericks. Senior Hanna Hogue
was five assists shy of the 1,000 mark last season and Avery Fitzgerald
posted 414 kills. Junior Toree Tiffee
(258 kills) and senior Aleigha Johnson
(190) provide extra firepower.
Last year: 33-5, Southern California Open Division semifinalist
Along with Texas, the Golden State is chock full of talent so picking one team is never easy. Cases could be made for Redondo Union (Redondo Beach), Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) and perennial power Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) — all young teams last season. But the Sailors have the talent and experience to perhaps put a state-title run together with junior hitters Elia Rubin
(420 kills) and Kerry Keefe
(265 kills). Junior setter Kelly Belardi's
825 assists shows she can put it where hitters like. Caroline Altergott
and Kathryn Kilroy
Last year: 29-0, 3A champion
The Tigers return every piece of the unbeaten title team save for Jade Feather (587 digs). Juniors Sydney Henry
(388 kills, 418 digs) and Kaylee Johnson
(298 kills, 142 digs) look to add to the win streak along with senior Valarie Allen
(163 kills) and junior Emerie Rios
(123 kills). Senior setter Allie Schumacher
dished up 907 assists.
Last year: 19-3, LL quarterfinalist
Last year: 18-3, Division I champion
Last year: 33-3, DCSAA champion
The Cadets look for a three-peat with returning state Gatorade winner Rachel Richardson
in the fold. The senior pounded 465 kills and added 253 digs for the WCAC champions. Junior Addie Gaskins
looks to fill the void left by Maya Boykin. Sophomore Pamela McCune
is a 6-0 middle hitter who tallied 151 kills and 63 blocks as a freshman. Samiha Foster
brings her 160 kills back as well.
Last year: 24-8, 6A runner-up
Last year: 36-1, AAAAA champion
The Chiefs enter 2020 already 5-0 on the young season and looking for their fourth straight Peach State title. Ngozi Iloh
(301 kill and 64 blocks) joins rising junior Alexa Markley's
217 kills to offset the graduation loss of Erykah Lovett. The only thing McIntosh needs is to find a way to replace the 931 assists that graduated setter Jessie Doyal supplied.
Last year: 39-4, Division I champion
The Warriors graduated senior leaders Keonilei Akana, Bryanne Soares and Tara De Sa, but have the state's top player in Devin Kahahawai
returning with her team-high 381 kills. Junior Maui Robins
posted 228 kills, 70 blocks and 314 digs last season.
Last year: 34-14, 5A champion
The Titans, in their second year of existence, brought home a battle-tested state title. All five tournament games went at least four sets and Idaho's top player, Paige Clark
steps into the limelight as the leading returning hitter with 236 kills, 207 digs and 729 assists.
Last year: 36-6, 3A champions
The Golden Warriors will rely on seniors Lexi Rodriguez
and Breelyn Borum
and Brooklyn Borum
, plus sophomore Grace Egan
. Egan had 360 kills in her freshman campaign and tied for the team lead with Brooklyn Borum. Bree Borum added 287 kills, while Rodriguez was all over the stat sheet in addition to leading the U18 US National team to a gold-medal performance in Egypt last September.
Last year: 35-1, 4A champion
The Trojans seeks a fourth state title — they own back-to-back 3A crowns before earning last year's 4A jewelry — and have leading hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster
back in the fold. Older sister Melani graduated, but Laila Smith
(340 kills), Bailey Cox
(284 digs) and Nicole Wilkinson
(117 kills) look to keep the Trojans rolling. Replacing Melani's 948 assists is first on the docket.
Last year: 38-5, 5A runner-up
had a monster sophomore campaign with 401 kills and 117 digs and looks to get help from senior Payton Lombardi
(127 kills). The Tigers need to replace Olivia Curry's 537 assists.
Last year: 33-9, 5A playoffs
After an early exit in pool play, the Golden Eagles return with their top three hitters in Ella Larkin
(341 kills), Riley Daugherty
(236 kills) and Kenzie Dugan
(139 kills). Daugherty posted 260 digs, while Larkin led the team with 290 digs and added 285 assists.
Last year: 36-7, runner-up
Last year: 20-4, Division II champion
The Rebels had little trouble winning their seventh straight crown, losing one set in the state tournament. Defending that title is now on the shoulders of Cicily Hidalgo
— the state Gatorade Player of the Year recipient — in addition to senior libero Molly Webre
and hitter Paige Guidry (497 kills, 438 digs).
Last year: 17-0, Class A champion
The Yachtsmen sailed to the unbeaten season and title behind the stellar play of two-time All-State Player of the Year and Gatorade selection Annika Hester
, who posted 329 kills, 161 digs and 14 blocks. Senior Katie Phillips
dished up 258 assists last year.
Last year: 23-3, IAAM A champion
Mary Grace Goyena
, the state Gatorade Player of the Year and three-time All-IAAM first team selection posted 405
kills, 133 digs and 58 aces. Senior Chidinma Onukwugha
and sophomore Kelenna Onukwugha
supplied nearly 400 kills combined. The Sailor must replace Grace Wallace's 771 assists.
Last year: 21-0, Division I champion
Rising seniors Karen Nie
and Lila Carr
combined for nearly 500 kills while Ellie Streeper
had 251 digs in her sophomore campaign. The Rockets need to find a setter to replace Daly Johnson's 622 assists.
Last year: 55-4, Division I runner-up
A strong case could be made for both D-II champion Grand Rapids Christian and D-I champion Mercy, but the Red Arrows simply counter with Jenna Reitsma's
873 kills from last season along with 1,571 assists from Sophia Powell
. Add in Emma Hall
and sophomore Aubreigh Oswald
and Lowell should be in position to challenge for the crown.
Last year: 36-1, AAA runner-up
The Wildcats lost a five-set heartbreaking in the title game, after breezing through the schedule up to that point. They're led by Star Tribune and Gatorade state Player of the Year Kennedi Orr
(170 kills and 269 assists), who is looking to avenge the title loss. The Nebraska commit will be joined by 6-2 middle hitter Abby Moe.
Last year: 43-3, MAIS champion
The Raiders are off to an 8-1 start and led by reigning Gatorade recipient Parker Bracken
(648 kills, 517 digs last season) and setter Natalie Derusso
Last year: 34-4-1, Class 3 champion
Last year: 33-0, Class AA champion
Last year: 34-5, Class B champion
Last year: 41-5, 3A champion
Last year: 19-0, Division III champion
Last year: 35-4, Non-Public champion, Tournament of Champions winner
Last year: 22-1, 5A champion
The Bears enter 2020 on a 22-game win streak after falling in their first 2019 match before running the table. Sidney McIntosh
returns after posting 323 kills in her junior season, while Maalese Wallace
and Isabella Harrison
combined for 300 kills. Junior Erin Jones
leads the offense having dished up 808 assists last season.
Last year: 44-6, Class A champion
Last year: 31-4, NCISSA 4A champion
The Knights lost kills leader Skylar Buckley, but Riley Buckley
looks to step into that go-to role along with Arica Davis
, Imani Lester
and Kayla Hawkins
, who all combined for nearly 800 kills. In addition to her second-high kill total, Riley Buckley also paced NRCA with 451 assists.
Last year: 33-2, Class A champion
Last year: 25-3, Division I semifinalist
Last year: 21-9, 6A quarterfinalist
The Timberwolves return Ali Woodrow
and are off to a quick 2-0 start in 2020.
Last year: 25-4, Class 6A champion
The Crusaders were young en route to their state championship. Flashing much more experience, they return their top three hitters in Maddy Dowdall
(288 kills), Amanda Henry
(194 kills) and Tess Masingale
(188 kills). Alison Bucholz
also is back after a 281 dig-765 assist season.
Last year: 31-11-3, 4A semifinalist
Top hitter Brynn Dreisbach
is back for the Trojans after notching 515 kills in 2019. Sydney Esquieres
also returns more than 100 kills from last season and senior Jackie Malitzki
averaged nearly 10 assists per set on her way to posting 1,169 for the season.
Last year: 25-0, Division I champion
The Skippers haven't lost since Nov. 19, 2016 and roll into 2020 looking for a fourth straight unbeaten season. Senior setter Ava Mattiucci
, senior hitter Cadia Greene
and senior libero Jaime Harrington
lead the charge for a fourth straight title.
Last year: 34-7-2, 4A semifinalist
Last year: 26-5, Class AA runner-up
The Knights return most of last year's squad led by the state's top player in Bergen Reilly
(503 assists, 225 kills and 47 aces). Sister Raegen Reilly
also returns along with her 411 assists and 222 kills. Libero Emma McKay
(327 digs) joins Grace Bengford
as key returners.
Last year: 54-3, Class 3A champion
, the Volunteer State Gatorade winner, returns as the Bruins seek their fourth straight AAA title. The Alabama commit recorded 856 kills, 444 digs, 80
blocks and 87 aces last year and is joined by Hollye Tate
(267 kills). Brentwood must replace Piper Drazek's 1,746 assists.
Last year: 41-4, 6A quarterfinalist
The Lone Star State is overflowing with talent and Lovejoy, Byron Nelson, Guyer or Hebron could easily supplant the Jaguars for the No. 1 spot. But with Caroline Dykes
, Kaylee Cox
and Angelique Cyr
all back, the senior leadership is undeniable. Cox and Cyr posted nearly 1,000 kills together, while Dykes added 936 assists and junior Megan Farris
added 579 of her own. Flower Mound needs to have its big three fill the leadership void left by Sarah Martinez.
21-12, 5A runner-upAvery Shewell
(443 kills) leads a quartet of hitters returning for the Pioneers. Senior Macey Faddis
(185 assists) must fill in the setter role vacated by Eliza Gibson. Libero Bailee Holland
added 295 digs for Lehi last season.
Last year: 26-1, Division I runner-up
31-1, VISAA Division 1 champion
Seeking their fourth straight state title, the Huskies lose all-around player Sydney Reed, but return Elayna Duprey
(264 kills) and sophomore Sydney Bryant
(112 kills). Additionally, Zoe Huang
is back for her senior season after putting up 542 assists (6.2 per game) last season. Flint Hill is a combined 98-2 over the last three seasons.
Last year: 19-6, 4A semifinalist
The Evergreen State is wide open and the Eagles look poised to step to the forefront with sophomore Hailey Brockway
returning after a 472-kill freshman season. Senior Makenna Jackson
added 150 kills and 300 digs last season and Madison Brockway
contributed 401 digs. The setter position needs to be filled after losing Raedyn Goudreau's 646 assists to graduation.
Last year: 58-2-2, Class 3A champion
Last year: 36-9, Division I section quarterfinalist
Last year: 25-11, 4A quarterfinalist