Marymount capped its unbeaten season with a California Open Division volleyball title on Nov. 24 with a 3-0 dismantling of Archbishop Mitty. During the match, Elia Rubin showed, as she had all season, that she was the catalyst of what one long-time volleyball writer described as one of the five best teams in prep volleyball history.
Rubin led the Sailors with 10 kills of her season's 396 with one error on 18 swings. It was typical of her season, in which she fueled Marymount's high-octane attack and more than earned MaxPreps National Player of the Year honors.
"Her IQ is so high and she sees the game so well," Marymount coach Cari Klein said. "She loves the game.
She's always watching film. When you're a volleyball nerd, like I am, to
have her around and into it as much as me is great."
Make no mistake, the Sailors 22-girl squad is loaded — Megan Verbiest, Kelly Belardi, Kerry Keefe and Torrey Stafford join Rubin among the 60 players honored. But it was evident, that the Stanford-bound Rubin was their leader.
"She's a leader, she leads those girls on and off the
court." Klein said.
And, Klein added, that Rubin's leadership wasn't from upon high, but that she was down-to-earth and likeable around her peers.
"She's got a high social IQ and is funny, so she can break the
tension," Klein said. "She's going to call me out on anything I do wrong. Socially,
she's easy to be around."
And having a leader like Rubin, the coach said, was important given the grueling schedule the Sailors conquered this season. They won the Durango Fall Classic — Rubin was the tournament MVP — and the Nike TOC Southwest without dropping a set.
They beat Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati) and Arizona 6A champion Hamilton at the GEICO Girls Volleyball Invitational. They set down a laundry list of quality opponents — losing eight sets all season — that included Cathedral Catholic (San Diego), Mater Dei (Santa Ana), Mitty, Vista Murrieta (Murrieta), Mercy (Louisville, Ky.), Redondo Union (Redondo) and Cornerstone Christian (San Antonio).
And while Klein said playing that competitive of a schedule is something the girls wanted, Rubin was always the focus of the other team.
"Elia is just always so highly competitive," Klein said. "She was a great passer, added blocking (to her game) and she keeps developing her game. Her passing is next level, but no one serves to her any more. Everyone gave it up because she doesn't get tired. Teams thought they could tire her out in the back row by serving to her. The thing that frustrates her most is probably not being served. She wants every ball."
Previous MaxPreps National Players of the Year
2020 — No award due to pandemic
2019 — Paige Flickinger, Byron Nelson (Trophy Club, Texas)
2018 — Kenzie Knuckles, Yorktown (Ind.)
2017 — Erin O'Leary, Novi (Mich.)
2016 — Lexi Sun, Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach, Calif.)
2015 — Nicole Peterson, Jesuit (Portland, Ore.)
2014 — Alexis Smith, Lewis-Palmer (Monument, Colo.)
2013 — Courtney Eckenrode, The Woodlands (Texas)
2012 — Amber and Kadie Rolfzen, Papillion LaVista South (Papillion, Neb.)
2011 — Nicole Dalton, Chaparral (Parker, Colo.)
2010 — Tiffany Baker, Hebron (Carrollton, Texas)
2009 — Rachel Williams, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
2008 — Lauren Cook, Pius X (Lincoln, Neb.)
Read on for the rest of the MaxPreps High School Volleyball All-America Team.
First teamHittersAva Brizard | Marian (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) | Sr.
The 2021 Michigan Miss Volleyball led the Mustangs to a 53-1 mark, the No. 2 spot in the MaxPreps Top 25 rankings and a second straight Division 1 title. The North Carolina State commit pounded 602 kills with 408 digs in 2021 and finished her Marian career with 2,138 kills and 1,748 digs.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.Evie Doezema | Christian (Grand Rapids, Mich.) | Sr.
Staying in state and heading to Michigan State, Doezema had 748 kills and 394 digs as the Eagles reached the Division 2 title game before falling to Notre Dame Prep. The 6-3 opposite ended her prep career with 1,603 kills and 673 digs.Brynn Dreisbach | Parkland (Allentown, Pa.) | Sr.
The 5-foot-10 hitter guided the Trojans to the Pennsylvania 4A title game behind 425 kills and 285 digs. She hammered 15 kills in the finals loss to North Allegheny (the only loss for Parkland) with 15 digs. Sophia Ewalefo | Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) | Sr.
The Gaels standout tallied 488 kills, 446 digs and 76 blocks as the Nevada power won its third straight state title - and fourth in five years as play was canceled last year due to the pandemic. She had double-digit kills in 29 of Gorman's 37 matches, including averaging 15.5 kills over the team's last 12 matches.
Jalyn Gibson | Brandeis (San Antonio) | Sr.
The TCU commit led the Broncos to their first state title, winning the 6A crown in an epic five-set victory. Gibson had 641 kills on the season with 737 digs, 44 aces and 64 blocks as Brandeis went 47-2 and finished No. 3 in the nation. She finished her prep career with 1,950 kills and 2,152 digs.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. 19 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.Jordan Middleton| Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) | Sr.
The 6-2 USC commit powered the Huskies to a 6A state crown behind 516 kills, 275 digs, 51 blocks and 38 aces. In leading Hamilton to a No. 11 finish in the MaxPreps Top 25, Middleton came up biggest when the lights were the brightest. She pounded 31 kills in a nationally televised match against Assumption and 25 in the four-set title match vs. O'Connor.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.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. Elia Rubin | Marymount (Los Angeles, Calif.) | Sr.
The best player on the court whenever she laced them up, Rubin led the 35-0 Sailors with 396 kills and 47 aces while adding 226 digs and 379 serve receives. She was also the MVP of the Durango Fall Classic.Carlie Rzeszotarski | Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) | Sr.
The Colgate pledge led the Spartans to a Class A title and 44-3-4 season while again dominating with 548 kills, 299 digs and 40 aces. Burnt Hills has reached the Class A finals for 19 straight seasons and Rzeszotarski notched 1,683 kills and 771 digs in her four-year career.Audrey Rothman | Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.) | Sr.
The Jaguars' captain hammered an insane 709 kills on the season as the Florida State commit helped Spain Park to a 47-4 mark and a 7A title. Rothman posted 249 digs, 71 blocks and 35 assists and fittingly capped the state title match with her 24th kill of the night - a monster hit.Emma Werkmeister | Victor (N.Y.) | Sr.
The Class AA tournament MVP led the Blue Devils to their first state title in 12 years with a four-set victory to cap a 49-1 season. The two-sport standout finished with 610 kills and a 44 hitting percentage.
Mckenna Wucherer | Brookfield Central (Brookfield, Wis.) | Sr.
The future Golden Gopher helped the U.S. U18 team to a bronze medal and returned home to finish with 444 kills in her senior season. She surpassed the 2,000 kill plateau as the Lancers went 35-12, falling in the Division 1 state semifinals.
SettersKelly Belardi | Marymount (Los Angeles) | Sr.
The driver of the Sailors' engine fueled the MaxPreps National Champions with 825 assists, 197 digs. With a wealth of hitters, the Stanford beach and indoor commit drew praise from coach Cari Klein for facilitating the offense. Caroline Edgeworth | Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) | Sr.
The uncommitted setter is going to be a steal as she led the Gaels to the third straight 5A title (Nevada didn't award a title in 2020 due to the pandemic). In 2021, she averaged 13 assists per set and totaled 1,330 on the year to go with 328 digs and 47 aces for 31-6 Bishop Gorman. The all-time single-season assist leader in the state finished her three-plus years with 3,427.Carlee Pharris | Brandies (San Antonio) | Sr.
The TCU commit paired with fellow All-America pick Jalyn Gibson (also a future Horned Frog) to guide the Broncos to their first UIL state title. She tossed up 1,309 assists, more than nine per set, with 107 errors in more than 3,500 attempts. She added 269 kills, 98 blocks and 380 digs as Brandeis went 47-2.Shanelle Puetz | Mater Dei (Santa Ana) | Sr.
The catalyst of a Monarchs' offense that went 36-6 and finished No. 19 in the MaxPreps Top 25, Puetz had nearly 1,200 assists to a quintet of hitters who finished with more than 175 kills.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.Libero/Defensive specialistEmma Farrell | St. Pius X Catholic (Atlanta) | Sr.
The Golden Lions standout had 524 digs, 319 serve receptions and 99 aces to lead her squad to the AAAAA state title. The Wake Forest commit led her team to a 52-1 record and No. 4 finish in the MaxPreps Top 25.Megan Verbiest | Marymount (Los Angeles) | Sr.
The USC-bound libero was, perhaps, the most electric player on the court for the Sailors at any given moment. And that's saying a lot considering Marymount sports the MaxPreps Player of the Year in Elia Rubin. Verbiest led the team with 338 digs and added 382 serve receives.All-AroundAly Borellis | Notre Dame Prep (Pontiac, Mich.) | Sr.
The Ole Miss commit was a do-everything for the 64-1 Fighting Irish on their journey to the Division 2 title. She dished up 663 assists, had 274 digs and hammered 430 kills while adding 60 aces. He finished her four years at Notre Dame Prep with 2,639 assists, 1,800 kills and 1,334 digs.Riley Buckley | North Raleigh Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) | Sr.
The future Missouri Tiger ended her career with 1,809 assists , 940 kills and 902 digs and four state titles as the Knights won their seventh consecutive crown. Buckley had 235 assists, 151 digs and 136 kills as NRCA went 17-1 this season..Averi Carlson | Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas) | Sr.
A four-time MaxPreps All-America pick, the Baylor commit led the Leopards to a third state title in four years while tossing up 919 assists with 378 digs, 212 kills and 72 aces. For her high school career, Carlson finished with 4,416 assists, 1,121 digs and 479 kills.Ava Martin | Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.) | Sr.
The Creighton commit had 460 kills, 239 digs and 101 assists for the 38-4 Saints. She ends her Aquinas career with 1,362 kills, 134 blocks, 472 digs and 367 assists.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.
Second teamHittersRosemary Archer | Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas) | Sr.
The 6-foot hitter was everywhere for the Leopards with 409 kills combined with 563 assists and 384 digs. The Pepperdine-bound Archer helped Lovejoy to a 42-6 mark and the 5A title.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. Eden Bower | Skyview (Nampa, Idaho) | Sr.
The 6-3 hitter dropped 632 kills on the year along with 307 digs for the 36-2 Hawks. The BYU-bound standout impressed as Skyview played an aggressive national schedule with wins over Assumption and Vista Murrieta on the way to a 5A state title.Ella Broadhead | Bayside Academy (Daphne, Ala.) | Sr.
Committed to Troy, the Admirals 6-1 middle ended the season with a 5A title and 594 kills, 75 aces and 59 blocks.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.Kerry Keefe | Marymount (Los Angeles) | Sr.
The left-handed hitter was part of the star-studded Sailors' lineup that went 3-5 and captured the MaxPreps National Championship. The Duke-bound hitter had 575 kills and 133 blocks.Carly Hendrickson | Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati) | Sr.
The future Florida Gator had 443 kills and 142 digs for the 18-10 Cougars. She ended her prep career with 1,541 kills.Eva Hudson | Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger (Fort Wayne, Ind.) | Sr.
Headed to Notre Dame, the 6-2 outside hitter tallied 516 kills, 132 blocks and 261 digs for the 30-2 Saints. In four years, she ended with 1,557 kills and more than 800 digs and 260 blocks.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.Kate Larocco | St. Pius X Catholic (Atlanta) | Sr.
The Emory commit led the Golden Lions in kills with 335 while adding 306 digs in a 52-1 that culminated with a AAAAA title.
Mya Larson | Wahoo (Neb.) | Sr.
The Warriors hitter topped 2,000 career kills with a 507-kill senior season. Headed to Montana State, she added 393 digs and 42 aces for 22-10 Wahoo.
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.Rya McKinnon | Hoover (Ala.) | Sr.
Last season's 7A champions went 29-16 as McKinnon hammered 696 kills with 395 digs and 83 aces. She finished her prep career with 1,295 kills, 679 digs and 134 aces.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.Grace Oliva | Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) | Sr.
Headed to San Diego, the Wildcats' hitter notched 269 kills and 176 digs for 28-3 Marin Catholic.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.Marianna Singletary | Porter-Gaud (Charleston, S.C.) | Sr.
The future Texas Longhorn was impressive with 745 kills in senior year and finished with 2,108 for her Cyclones career as Porter-Gaud went 39-7-2.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.Setters
Sydney Golden | Nixa (Mo.) | Sr.
Headed to Northern Iowa, she served up 1,081 assists (10.7 per set) for the 31-6 Eagles. Golden finished her four years with 3,920 assists, 996 digs and 215 kills. Ava Legrand | Papillion-LaVista South (Papillion, Neb.) | Sr.
The Kansas State commit led the Titans to a 40-0 season, AA title and No. 3 finish in the MaxPreps Top 25 with 1,109 assists, 361 digs and 98 kills. She leaves PLVS with 2,524 career assists and 1,350 digs.Kennedy 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. 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. Libero/Defensive SpecialistBella McGirr | Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) | Sr.
The Boise State commit had 270 digs with 287 receive and 32 aces for the 35-4 Wildcats.Reeghan Boyer | Montini Catholic (Lombard, Ill.) | Sr.
The two-sport star (lacrosse) and Western Michigan commit led the No. 13 Broncos to the state 2A title with 470 digs and 534 serve receives.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 serve as Mater Dei went 30-6 with a No. 19 finish.All-AroundEmma Hickey | Penn (Mishawaka, Ind.) | Sr.
The Kingsmen's libero had 313 digs, 353 receives, 351 kills and 97 assists as Penn finished 35-2 after being in the MaxPreps Top 25 for much of the season.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.Alexis Stucky | Laramie (Wyo.) | Sr.
Headed to Florida, the Plainsmen went 32-2 behind Stucky's 352 kills, 203 digs, 53 aces and 155 assists. She finished her prep career with 1,378 kills, 1,004 digs, 157 aces and 201 blocks.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.