Volleyball

Girls club volleyball Dream Team: Drapp, Stiernagle, Owens, Smith, Quest, Anyanwu, Omoruyi, Martin

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Favor Anyanwu/Matt Smith photo

This is a special edition of our weekly girls club national Dream Team. This Dream Team recognizes this observer’s opinion of the top performers at the Triple Crown NIT last weekend in one team of eight, as follows:

Two setters
One right side
Two outsides
Two middles
One defensive player

That’s it! The “exceptional eight” based on what I saw in Kansas City, with extra weight given to players who helped their teams advance deep into the tournament (or even win it all).

Don’t come at me if your favorite player is not recognized. There were literally 500 or more players who had great weekends and could have been listed here.

Without further ado…

VolleyballMag DREAM TEAM for February 21

Maria Drapp

S: Maria Drapp, 5-10 Sr., Tri-State Elite 18 Blue (OH) – Tri-State was a surprising quarterfinalist in the Elite 18s division, then continued its winning ways by outlasting Triangle 18 Black to eventually finish in a tie for third. Drapp was the catalyst for all this winning. She’s unconventional but so gritty, so good and so watchable. Something good always happens when this Bradley signee is on the court. Honorable mention: Campbell Flynn, Legacy 17-1 Adidas

S: Ellie Stiernagle, 6-1 Soph., SPVB 16 Elite (IL) — Sports Performance is known for its great setters. Stiernagle could be the next one after steering her team to a third-place finish in the Elite 16s Division. She’s long and knows how to run a fast offense that keeps opponents off balance. She authored a masterpiece in SPVB’s quarterfinal win over Dallas Skyline 16 Royal, the defending USAV National Champions. HM: Eva Long, Legacy 16-1 Adidas

RS: Tiana Owens, 6-0 Sr., Coast 18-1 (CA) – Plenty of teams have potent attacks from the left side. Far fewer are stronger on the right. Coast won the Elite 18s division because Owens delivered time and time again, even when up against triple blocks. The Colgate recruit was a terrific complement to standout left side Jaidyn Jager. HM: Kennedy Osunsanmi, City 18 Gold; Anna Blamires, ColoJrs 17Kevin

OH: Laynie Smith, 6-5 Sr., Triangle 18 Black (NC) – Triangle lost standout RS Ryan Hunter to an injury on Day 1 yet still made the Elite 18 quarterfinals. Smith was the team’s go-to hitter and scored time and again, especially in must-have situations. HM: Gabi DiVita, Legacy 16-1 Adidas; Sito Tausinga, Club V 15 Ren Kalee

OH: Madison Quest, 6-3 Jr., Milwaukee Sting 17 Gold (WI) – Quest scored the final two points in Sting’s come-from-behind win over 1st Alliance 17 Gold for the Elite 17 championship. The Wisconsin recruit also carried the team for long stretches in its path to the final match. HM: Jager; Layla Hoying, Mintonette m. 61; Gentry Barker, TAV 15 Black

MB: Favor Anyanwu, 6-2 Sr., TAV 18 Black (TX) – “She built different.” Anyanwu is a powerhouse player with the ability to terminate every time she elevates and is the kind of blocker you absolutely stay away from. She came up huge in clutch moments to send TAV to the Elite 18s championship match. HM: Ella Andrews, Liberty 16-1 Adidas

MB: Kendall Omoruyi, 6-4 Fr., AZ Storm Elite 15 Thunder (AZ) – Omoruyi may have been the player with the most potential in Kansas City this weekend. The freshman is a tremendous scorer, with uncanny body control for a young player and tremendous athleticism. Better yet, as dominating as she was at Triple Crown, she has MASSIVE potential to get even better. She could be the No. 1 player in the class. HM: Nyla Livings, TAV 15 Black

Meredith Martin

Libero: Meredith Martin, 5-8 Soph., Legacy 16-1 Adidas (MI) – There was A TON of outstanding libero play this weekend. I saw so impressed! Martin gets the nod here because her team won the Elite 16s championship and because she played the position exactly the way it was supposed to be played. She was low error, in the right place at the right time and so very reliable. On a squad littered with superstars, she delivered the championship for her team. HM: Gillian Pitts, TAV 18 Black; Ximena Cordero, Coast 18-1

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Girls club volleyball Dream Team: Drapp, Stiernagle, Owens, Smith, Quest, Anyanwu, Omoruyi, Martin Volleyballmag.com.

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