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28 Oct 2014

MaxPreps 2014 National Volleyball Player of the Year Watch List

MaxPreps 2014 National Volleyball Player of the Year Watch List

14 of the 18 players on the MaxPreps.com 2014 National Volleyball Player of the Year Watch List are or were #AAU members! For the FULL Story, with stats, see the original story below.

Originally posted by Tom Mauldin on MaxPreps.com 

One libero, four setters and 13 front row standouts highlight the MaxPreps 2014 Volleyball Player of the Year Watch List.

The libero, Amber MacDonald, is also the team's shortest player at 5-foot-4. But on the court, she puts up big numbers and ranks second on Georgia's all-time digs list.

On the other end of the height chart is Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani of Redondo Union. She is 6-4 and so dominant that many teams triple-team her. Many say she is among the most graceful players in the nation and it doesn't matter if she is in the front row or back.

It is likely that MacDonald, who has committed to Wisconsin, and Bedart-Ghani, who has committed to Texas, will see plenty of each other in college.

Three players on the POY Watch List were members of the gold-medal winning U.S. Junior National Team: Alexa Smith, Mikaela Foecke and Jordyn Poulter.

The 18 players are all seniors and represent 13 states. California, Texas, Tennessee, Illinois and Missouri have two players each on the POY Watch List.

The Player of the Year, along with MaxPreps All-Americans, will be named in December.

Volleyball Player of the Year Watch List

MB - Merideth JewellMercy (Louisville, Ky.), 6-3
Merideth Jewell, Mercy
Photo by Del Mecum
Merideth Jewell, Mercy
Hitting 53 percent, Jewell leads the No. 5 team in the nation with a 4.6 kill per set average and is serving 96 percent to go along with almost four digs and two blocks per set. She has committed to Morehead State.

Coach Todd Garvey says: "Merideth's energy and effort is contagious to our team, she is probably the only player that I have ever coached that doesn't take a day off or a point off from an effort standpoint. She gives it her all every second of every day and is a blast to coach. She is also one of the best leaders that I have ever coached, and a high character person! She is everything you want in a player." 

MB - Rachael FaraBenet Academy (Lisle, Ill.), 6-3
Fara leads Benet in most categories and is a key reason why Benet is among top 10 teams in country and has lost once in 34 matches. She has committed to Northwestern and has been named MVP in three of the four tournaments Benet has played.

Coach Brad Baker says: "Rachel is a dominant force on the court. She is intense, focused and driven to be great. She understands the only way to be great is to work hard and she does that every day."

OH/MB - Brittany CorderOur Lady Academy (Bay St. Louis, Miss.), 5-10 
Corder leads the nation in hitting (496 kills with a .682 hitting percentage) and serves 96 percent with 46 aces. As a result, Our Lady Academy is 35-4.

Coach Mike Meyers says: "Brittany is an outstanding high school volleyball player, one of the most effective offensive threats I've seen in high school. She is very smart and knows when and where to hit the ball or to tip it to be successful. She certainly has been the offensive and defensive force that has enabled our team to have had such great success these past several years."

OH - Madison DuelloLiberty (Mo.), 6-3
There are a lot of reasons Liberty is 27-0, and many of those start with Duello, who is averaging more than 6.5 kills, 3.5 digs and 4.5 serve receptions per set. She will attend Wisconsin.

Coach April Fleming says: "Madison brings a lot to our team. Madison brings a confidence that we can win every game we play. She brings consistency, leadership and a lot of skill, but most of all she brings heart! Madison is a very competitive person that loves to play the game of volleyball and when you watch her it shows."

OH - Yaasmeen Bedart-GhaniRedondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 6-4
Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani, Redondo Union (shown playing for Marymount)
Photo by Heston Quan
Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani, Redondo Union (shown playing for Marymount)
Bedart-Ghani is in the middle of everything for the Sea Hawks and a key reason why they are 17-2 on the season. She has committed to Texas.

Coach Tommy Chaffins says: "Yas is the most dominant left side attacker in the prep game, or at least top three. She can hit the ball at angles with extreme power that no one in her class can. She moves with tremendous grace in the back row and as an off blocker for any player, let alone a player who is 6-4. She is an excellent student off the court, and brings her intelligence onto the court by constantly figuring out the right attack line to score, especially since she is double- or triple-teamed often."

S - Jordyn PoulterEaglecrest (Centennial, Colo.), 6-0
Jordyn Poulter, Eaglecrest
Photo by Ray Chen
Jordyn Poulter, Eaglecrest
The future University of Illinois player is putting up big numbers – 60.1 kill percentage, 95 percent serving, 69 blocks and 9.5 assists per set. As a result, the Raptors are the No. 4 team in Colorado. 

Coach Tanya Boyd says: "Jordyn has made it possible for this team to be successful. She takes our bad passes and makes them not only "hittable" but "scorable" for our hitters. She has an innate ability to lead these girls in a very positive way. She doesn't get angry or negative when things are not going right and she never gives up on a ball or a play whether in practice or game. She is a leader on our team in blocks and kills all while running a 5-1 system. I have never coached a more mature player than Jordyn. It is like having a coach on the court. She is amazing not only because of her skill but because she is absolutely the total package. She is a coach's dream."

S - Katie KempBrentwood (Tenn.), 5-9
Katie Kemp, Brentwood
Photo by Army National Guard
Katie Kemp, Brentwood
Kemp leads the nation in assists with more than 1,500 (10.5 per set average), has 76 aces, 208 digs and as a result Brentwood is 56-1 and favored to repeat as a state champion.

Coach Barbara Campbell says: "Our success as a team has been based on the ability of our setter. Katie has a foundation of solid, consistent fundamental skills, and she has the ability to make good choices in critical moments in the game. She brings a fighting spirit and has had great success because of her heart and desire. She is driven and she demands the best from her teammates. Our team goal of a state championship is her mission. She has accepted her leadership role to lead the team offensively and emotionally under good and difficult situations demonstrating needed mental toughness."

L - Amber MacDonaldBlessed Trinity (Roswell, Ga.), 5-4
MacDonald might be the shortest person on this POY Watch List, but her numbers are big: 678 digs (5.1 average), 773 service receptions and 136 aces (97.1 serving percentage). MacDonald has obliterated Blessed Trinity school records for digs and aces in a career, and is second all-time in Georgia state history in career digs. She has committed to Wisconsin.

Coach Paul Stevens says: "Amber is, without question or hyperbole, the best defensive player I have ever coached. She has the incredibly rare ability to control a match from the back row, both by making other teams adjust their offenses to serve and hit away from her, and by giving our team an amazing counter-attack after she digs a ball. She works harder than anyone in the gym at everything she does; in four years on varsity, she has always been the first player to finish a suicide sprint. She demands excellence from herself and her teammates, and she gets just that."

OH - Courtney FurlongOviedo (Fla.), 6-1
Courtney Furlong, Oviedo
Photo by Del Mecum
Courtney Furlong, Oviedo
Furlong, who has committed to South Carolina, averages four digs and almost six kills per set. She is the main reason why Oviedo is highly ranked in Florida and has recorded several upsets this season.

Coach Jennifer Darty says: "Courtney has put a lot of hard work into becoming the great player that she is today. She is an incredible athlete that excels in all aspects of her game. She accepts the challenge of big matches and pressure-packed moments and does whatever it takes to lead the team to success."

OH - Alyssa EnnekingClear Falls (League City, Texas), 5-11
Enneking, who has committed to the University of Oklahoma, has more than 2,500 kills in her Clear Falls career. She is among the national leaders for kills (6.5 average), is serving 96 percent, averaging 4.5 digs per game and has 425 serve receptions with only 23 errors.

Coach Lyndsey Hodges says: "One the most dynamic female athletes and volleyball players I have ever seen and the best I have ever had the honor of coaching. She is also just 16 years old, a very young senior. She brings great leadership to her team and is the voice of this group. Her knowledge of the game at such a young age is like nothing I've ever seen before. To me, she is a blessing and an asset to my coaching staff because she brings what she sees on the court to the sidelines, which we as coaches sometimes forget because are only able to be on the sidelines."  

S - Symone TranJesuit (Portland, Ore.), 5-8
There is a reason Jesuit has yet to lose this season, and it starts with its playmaker Tran. She is averaging more than a dozen assists per set and is a 95 percent server.

Coach Teresa Zimmerlee says: "Symone is one of our team captains. She is calm and consistent on the floor. She has a great float serve. The other athletes trust that she will definitely get to the ball, and she always gives credit to her teammates. Symone is one of those players that never gives up on a ball and stays positive with her team, even when we may not be passing exactly to target."

OH - Alexa SmithLewis-Palmer (Monument, Colo.), 6-1
Alexa Smith, Lewis-Palmer
Photo by Tim Visser
Alexa Smith, Lewis-Palmer
Smith, who has committed to Purdue, averages four kills per set and hits at a 55 percent rate. She has led Lewis-Palmer to an unbeaten season to this point and a 69-7 record over the last three seasons.

Coach Susan Odenbaugh says: "Alexa is an extremely adept six-rotation player who leads the Rangers in kills and digs. She is simply an invaluable asset to our team because of her exceptional character, leadership and strong sense of humility. She is admired by everyone, fans, players, and coaches alike, because of her reputation as being a potent hitter, a deadly jump-float server, and a highly skilled passer. But, more importantly, she is respected because of how graciously she has served as an extremely positive role model. She will easily graduate as the most decorated volleyball player to have played for Lewis-Palmer and will graduate with having the second-highest career kills in Colorado for all classifications."

MH - Mikaela FoeckeHoly Trinity Catholic (Fort Madison, Iowa), 6-3
Named MaxPreps' 2013 Junior of the Year, Foecke has committed to Nebraska. She has led Holy Trinity to a 38-3 record this season by averaging 6.2 kills per set. She also is on pace for more than 100 aces, 100 blocks and 300 digs.

Coach Melissa Freesmeier says: "She probably hits the ball harder than any of the kids I've had in quite a few years. She's explosive. The younger kids look up to her and her teammates look up to her. She's extraordinary."

OH - Katherine CarlsonNotre Dame Prep (Pontiac, Mich.), 5-11
Carlson is always at the top of national leaders for hitting and kills and is ahead of her record-breaking total in 2013 (6.5 average and 1,001 kills) with 6.8 this season. With Notre Dame Prep at 49-4 on the season, Carlson has also served 91 aces, blocked 57 balls and has 332 digs. She has committed to Valparaiso.

Coach Betty Wrouble says: "I thought I had a once-in-a-lifetime player when I had Molly Coldren (in 2007 state championship season), but I'm blessed to have two of them. Katherine has elevated our program and has made everyone around her better. Her teammates love to play with her. Having Katherine makes things easier. She's not just a game-changer, she's a program changer."

OH/L/DS - Ryann DeJarldMother McAuley (Chicago), 5-10
DeJarld, who was committed to Notre Dame, is having another outstanding season, heading for career highs in kills, kill percentage, aces, serving percentage, blocks and is averaging 4.4 serve receptions per set (and only six serve reception errors).

Coach Jan DeJarld says: "Ryann brings a level of competitiveness to our team that sets the tone and raises the bar for all that surround her. She approaches the game in a business-like manner and the more pressure we are under the more she thrives. For our team, she's that player that consistently plays at a high level no matter the level of the competition. She is the warrior and our team follows her lead."

OH/S - Rachel HolthausWinona (Mo.), 6-0
Holthaus is among the national leaders in kills per set at 7.1 and is also averaging better than four digs and assists per game. She is the main reason Winona competes with any team any night of the week and is 22-5-3 on the season. Holthaus will attend Eastern Illinois University.

Coach Francie McBridge says: "Since the first time she stepped onto the court as a freshmen, she has been the ‘go-to' girl on the floor. Rachel has a very keen sense of where to put the ball; she sees the court so well and is very aware of everything going on around her. She has been our strongest setter, our strongest blocker, our most effective hitter and she has also been our best defensive player. She is who we want to get the ball any time possible. Rachel not only leads our team by her play, but she is an outstanding kid who has the respect of every teammate she has played with all the way through as well as her coaches."

S - Kylie PickrellCoppell (Texas), 5-11
Kylie Pickrell, Coppell
Photo by Troy Roland
Kylie Pickrell, Coppell
Pickrell, who has committed to Arizona State, continues her high level performance as Coppell has stayed among the state's top teams. Pickrell draws raves from opposing coaches statewide. She is closing in on another 1,000 assist season and is heading for career highs in aces, digs, blocks and kills.

Coach Julie Green says: "I have been so fortunate to have Kylie as a starter on my varsity for the past four seasons, running my offense for the past three, and helping our team win state championships in 2011 and 2012. She is an explosive and dynamic player - she loves to play volleyball and her passion is contagious. It is fun, as a coach, to work with her because she is capable of playing at such a high level, and it is fun, as an athlete, to play with her because she makes those around her better."   

OH - Lindsey RuddinsAliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), 6-2
Ruddins, who has committed to UC Santa Barbara, is hitting 61 percent and averaging 5.3 kills per set. With Ruddins in the middle, Aliso Niguel is 21-1.

Coach DP Butler says: "I don't know if I have ever coached, or maybe even seen, such a complete player. Over her three years on varsity, she has truly grown to earn that coveted title of the ‘complete player.' She is always the go to hitter, even with phenom Kathryn Plummer and other great players on the team, and is always asked to finish when the game is on the line. Her ability to see the block and hit around is impeccable. She has an extremely high volleyball IQ, almost always choosing the right time to hit line, angle, a shot, or read the defense to find the holes. Yet, hitting is not her only don. Her passing is almost to the level of an elite libero and she has a rare ability to read hitters and be in the right spot to defend. Also, opposing teams continually hit away from her side as she puts up such an effective block."

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