The future of high school volleyball is bright, as evidenced by the 2021 MaxPreps Underclass All-America team. Comprised of 50 players, the 2021 squad features MVPs, state title winners, stat leaders and girls with international experience.
Torrey Stafford is among the selections after helping her Marymount (Los Angeles) squad to an unbeaten campaign that culminated in a CIF Open Division title and a MaxPreps National Championship.
Also on the team are a handful of players from the U.S. U18 team that won bronze in Mexico in September, including Chloe Chicione of McCutcheon (Lafayette, Ind.), Julia Blyashov of Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) and Harper Murray of Skyline (Ann Arbor, Mich.).
The player range from juniors leaders to freshman newcomers whose names should be talked about for the next three years.
Stella Adeyemi, Papillion-LaVista South (Papillion, Neb.) | Jr.
The Titans' 5-foot-9 junior pounded 341 kills while adding 108 digs in 98 sets for the No. 5 team in the MaxPreps Top 25 rankings.Julia Blyashov | Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) | Jr.
Helped the U.S. U18 team to a bronze medal in September and then led the Dons to a CIF Southern California Open Division finals appearance in November. Blyashov had 139 kills on the year, but Cathedral Catholic was one of the few teams to push No. 1 Marymount all season. Jordyn Byrd | Cardinal Mooney (Sarasota, Fla.) | Jr.
Headed to Texas, the Cougars' 6-4 outside hitter had 551 kills, 258 digs and 56 blocks as her team went 20-8 and reached the 3A playoffs. She topped the 1,000 career kill mark.
Chloe Chicoine | McCutcheon (Lafayette, Ind.) | Jr.
The Penn State commit had a busy fall helping the U.S. U18 national team to a bronze medal finish in September in Mexico before returning to lead the Mavericks to the Indiana 4A title. For McCutcheon, first-team all-state pick hammered 440 kills with 196 digs, 240 serve receives and 20 aces.Brooklyn DeLeye | Washburn Rural (Topeka, Kan.) | Jr.
The state 6A player of the year and Kentucky pledge, led the Rural Blues to a 40-2 finish while delivering 586 kills and 133 aces. Washburn Rural entered the 6A final four unbeaten before its only two losses of the year, providing motivation for DeLeye's upcoming senior season.Babi Gubbins | Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) | So.
The 6-3 hitter helped fuel the Monarchs in 2021 and is one of three players from the Class of 2024 on the All-America team. She helped Mater Dei to a 36-6 mark and No. X ranking with 322 kills, 279 digs and 58 blocks. Sydney Helmers | Assumption (Louisville, Ky.) | Jr.
The future Texas Longhorn boosted the Rockets' national title aspirations, pounding out 421 kills before a concussion sidelined her during the gauntlet that is the Kentucky state postseason.Lakin Laurendine | Jackson Academy (Jackson, Miss.) | Jr.
The 6-2 hitter helped the Raiders to their second straight MAIS Division 1 title, pounding out 509 kills while hitting at 43 percent. The Auburn commit added 378 digs and 389 serve receives for 38-8 Jackson Academy.
Claire Little | Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.) | Jr.
The 6-3 BYU pledge pounded 442 kills and 238 digs for the 20-10 Broncos, who played an aggressive national schedule. In two seasons with Vista Murrieta, Little has 903 kills and 485 digs.Lauren Medeck | Papillion-LaVista South (Papillion, Neb.) | So.
Teamed with Adeyemi to lead the Titans to an unbeaten season and Class A title. Medeck was second on PLVS with 379 kills while adding 55 blocks and 367 digs.Harper Murray | Skyline (Ann Arbor, Mich.) | Jr.
The future Cornhusker helped the U18 team to a bronze before returning to the Eagles' run to the Division 1 state title match. The 6-2 Murray notched 652 kills, 312 digs and 82 aces for the 55-4-2 Eagles, who fell to No. 2 Marian in the finals.Mary Neal | Walton (Marietta, Ga.) | Jr.
The Mississippi State commit enters her senior season needing 23 kills to top the 1,000 mark after leading the Raiders to a 27-6 mark and the AAAAAAA title. In 2021, she tallied 415 kills and 279 digs.Brooke Rockwell | Fayetteville (Ark.) | Jr.
The Bulldogs' standout led her team to the state 4A championship with 503 kills and 275 digs for 32-4 Fayetteville. In the title match vs. rival Har-Ber, the first team all Arkansas preps pick pounded 15 kills in the sweep. Sara Siefert | Sequoyah (Canton, Ga.) | Jr.
She passed the 1,000 kill mark this season for the 50-4 Chiefs, adding 448 kills to her tally with 291 digs.Torrey Stafford | Marymount (Los Angeles) | Jr.
Second on the MaxPreps National Champions with 320 kills, the 6-2 transfer added an extra weapon to the Sailors' impressive arsenal. Combined with Rubin, Keefe and others, Marymount went 35-0 to be crowned MaxPreps National Champion.Leilia Toailoa | Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) | So.
The 6-1 hitter came of age in her first varsity season (Nevada didn't play in 2020, leading the team with 491 kills. She added 192 digs and 71 blocks for the No. 12 Gaels
SettersKennedy Phelan | Fayetteville (Ark.) | Jr.
With one more season before heading to Florida State, Phelan enters her senior year five assists shy of 3,000. In the Bulldogs' title-winning season, she dished up 1,123 assists and 274 digs for 32-4 Fayetteville. Ava Sarafa | Marian (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) | Jr.
The Mustangs' facilitator dished up 1,443 assists (with only 40 ball handling errors) en route to a Michigan Division 1 repeat, a 53-1 mark and No. 2 spot in the MaxPreps Top 25. Sarafa added 62 aces, 252 digs and 65 blocks.Allie Shondell | McCutcheon (Lafayette, Ind.) | So.
A second team 4A all-state choice, Shondell had 1,262 assists and 195 digs leading Mavericks to 30-6 mark, Indiana 4A title and No. 9 slot in the MaxPreps Top 25.Whitney Woodrow | Assumption (Louisville, Ky.) | Jr.
Headed to Fordham, she was the catalyst on a 30-6 Rockets squad with 1,233 assists (12.3) and 287 digs.
Malyssa Cawa | Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) | So.
Part of a core of young players who matured this season for the Monarchs, Cawa had 423 digs and 407 serves as Mater Dei went 30-6 with a No. 19 finish.
The Kansas commit was an all-state pick who helped the Mavericks to a 30-6 record, 4A title and No. 9 ranking. She had 605 serve receives and 578 digs for McCutcheon.
Taylor Pecht | Sequoyah (Canton, Ga.) | Jr.
In three seasons for the Chiefs, Pecht has 3,457 assists, 713 digs and 180 kills. She led a 50-4 season for Sequoyah with 1,452 assists, 314 digs and 82 kills.Bergen Reilly | O'Gorman (Sioux Falls, S.D.) | Jr.
The Knights standout led her team to a repeat AA state title with 10 kills, three aces, 17 digs and 33 assists in the five-set win over Washington. Reilly tallied 393 assists, 174 digs and 191 kills as O'Gorman went 23-4.Charlotte Vinson | Yorktown (Ind.) | Fr.
The lone freshman on the All-America team, Vinson had 354 kills, 323 digs, 63 aces and 103 assists for the 29-4 Tigers.Second team
HittersEmily Breazeale | Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.) | Jr.
The 5-11 hitter hammered 489 kills for the 47-4 7A champions. She was second on the team in kills to All-American Audrey Rotham while adding 64 aces, 39 blocks and 268 digs.Kaitlyn Cabral | University Prep (Redding, Calif.) | Jr.
The captain led a three-pronged hitting attack that saw the Panthers capture the CIF Division IV crown, the school's first state title in any sport. The Northern Section MVP pounded 489 kills with 296 digs. Maddie Cox | Flower Mound (Texas) | Jr.
The sister of former MaxPreps All-America Kaylee Cox helped the Jags to a 36-6 mark with 316 kills, 91 digs and 46 blocks.Rosa Fisher | Sequoyah (Canton, Ga.) | Jr.
The Chiefs went 50-4 and she led the team with 561 kills while adding 285 digs, 46 blocks and 32 aces.Evan Hendrix | Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.) | So.
She followed up a breakout freshmen campaign with a team-leading 626-kill season that saw the Saints go 37-5 and capture the 4A crown. She added a team-high 71 aces along with 40 blocks, 374 receives and 283 digs.Liv Hertzog | Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) | Jr.
The 6-footer hammered 261 kills and should be a force again next season as the Monarchs return fellow All-Americans Malyssa Cawa and Babi Gubbins.Samantha Hoppes | Byron Nelson (Trophy Club, Texas) | Jr.
The Bobcats didn't have as successful season record-wise as in the recent past, but Hoppes led a young crew with 505 kills while adding 221 digs and 69 blocks.Addison Hurst | Cleveland (Tenn.) | Jr.
She pounded 483 kills to lead the Blue Raiders to a 38-13 mark and added 350 digs and 54 aces.
Lauren Hurst | Cleveland (Tenn.) | Fr.
The 6-1 newcomer led the Blue Raiders with 514 kills and teamed with junior sister Addison for nearly 1,000 kills on the year. She added 245 digs and 41 aces.Ella Lewis | The Woodlands (Texas) | Fr.
The Houston Chronicle Newcomer of the Year impressed with 403 kills 49 blocks and 197 digs as the Highlanders reached the Region II-6A final.
Maggie Rickert | Nolensville (Tenn.) | Jr.
The 6-foot hitter topped the 1,000-kill mark with 496 in the Rockets' 42-4 season that culminated with a Division 1 AAA title. She added 356 digs, 47 blocks and 33 aces.
Nina Shaw | St. Pius X Catholic (Atlanta) | Jr.
Second to All-America pick Kate Larocco on the Golden Lions with 317 kills, Shaw helped the Atlanta program to a 52-1 mark and AAAAA title.Teraya Sigler | Phoenix Country Day (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) | Fr.
The newcomer had 392 kills for the 2A champions to go with 158 digs and 69 aces. In the 2A final against Chandler Prep, Sigler hammered home 29 kills in the sweep.
The 5-8 hitter punched above her weight class with 293 kills, 233 digs, 42 aces, 31 blocks for CIF D-III champions. In the title-game sweep of Carondelet, The' had 15 kills, seven digs and three blocks.
Zeta Washington | Ponte Vedra (Fla.) | Jr.
The Sharks were ranked in the MaxPreps Top 25 for much of the season, thank in large part to the 6-2 hitter's 274 kills and .474 hitting percentage. Ellie White | Mother McAuley (Chicago) | So.
She tallied 568 kills while adding 303 digs, 51 aces and 70 blocks as the 35-7 Mighty Macs came up short in the 4A finals.
Melia Barlow | Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) | Jr.
A huge reason the Huskies repeated as 6A champions, Barlow tossed up 1,227 assists to hitters like Micah Gryniewicz and All-American Jordan Middleton.Megan Hawkins | Canyon (New Braunfels, Texas) | So.
She helped the Cougars go 43-9 with a trip to the 5A semifinals posting 1,420 assists, 375 digs and 102 kills.Ellie Mattox | Vandegrift (Austin, Texas) | Jr.
The Vipers went 39-10 as the 5-11 setter posted 1,428 assists as her squad reached the 6A regional finals. She added 237 digs and 93 kills on the year.
Blakeley Robbins | Bayside Academy (Daphne, Ala.) | So.
She tallied 1,658 assists and 366 digs for the 57-6 Admirals, who won the state 5A title. She averaged 10.6 assists per set.
Libero/Defensive specialistKatie Barrier | Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.) | Jr.
The Tigers went 17-9 and reached the Division II-AA quarterfinals as Barrier had 674 receives, 110 assists and 758 digs.
The 5-6 Knight had 408 digs and 385 serve receptions with 44 aces.
Alex Bower | Skyview (Nampa, Idaho) | So.
The Hawks went 36-2 with wins over
Assumption, Lone Peak and Vista Murrieta and Bower was in the middle of
it with 1,078 assists, 200 digs and 135 kills.
Hailey Brockway | Graham-Kapowsin (Graham, Wash.) | Jr.
The Tacoma News Tribune's Player of the Year, the 6-foot hitter dropped 582 kills, 251 digs, 67 aces and 239 serve receives for 19-7 Eagles, who were a 4A semifinalist.
The Monarchs' season was buzz-sawed by Marymount in the CIF Open Division finals, but the 6-foot junior helped the team to a 37-8 mark with 258 kills, 199 digs, 25 blocks and 314 receives.