Arizona’s top high school volleyball players: Meet the state’s best hitters

This week, we’re taking a position-by-position look at some of the top players in Arizona high school volleyball. Our fourth list focuses on the outside and right side hitters.

There are hundreds of standout volleyball players in Arizona and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive. Use the comments section to discuss the other hitters who have starred in 2020.

Emma Barber photo courtesy of Estrella Foothills High School

Earlier: Liberos | Setters | Middle blockers

Adna Mehmedovic, sr., Sunrise Mountain

The Utah State commit was a first-team all-conference selection last year, when the Mustangs reached the 5A state quarterfinals. This season, she finished fifth in the conference with 217 kills (4.3 per set) with a .290 hitting percentage, 136 digs, 18 blocks and 13 aces. Mehmedovic also is an accomplished thespian, as she proved at one of her team’s themed practices. “Adna came in dressed as our coach Bob Lavardo, wearing long shorts and a sunrise shirt,” recalled head coach Brandi Jans. “We all laughed hysterically because she acted like him all practice as well as walked and talked like him.” 

Aliyah Moore, sr., Valley Vista

Moore is an accomplished musician, joining the school band as a flutist and also playing piano and guitar, but it’s on the volleyball court where she really shines. The Illinois State commit earned Southwest Region player of the year and second-team all-conference honors as a junior and finished this season third in 6A with 222 kills (4.3 per set) with a .307 hitting percentage, 182 digs (fourth among 6A hitters) and 37 aces. 

Alyssa Feltman, sr., Ironwood Ridge

Feltman, a first-team all-Southern 5A selection in 2019 and University of Arizona commit for beach volleyball, suffered a torn ACL at practice just before the season began.

Amanda Koath, sr., Rancho Solano Prep

Koath was a second-team all-conference selection as a junior, when the Mustangs reached the quarterfinals of the 2A state tournament. This season, the sports medicine aficionado finished second in the conference with 252 kills and a .395 hitting percentage to go with 143 digs and 57 aces. Unfortunately, while Rancho Solano Prep earned a No. 5 state seed, it had to end its season early. “Amanda has a tenacity that you just can’t teach or coach,” said Mustangs coach Marissa Morah. “Many players would play it safe, but not Amanda. She is an absolute fighter.” 

Amanda Koath / Rancho Solano Preparatory School

Andrea Owens, sr., Salpointe Catholic

Owens was born into a volleyball family, with mother Natalia a former Washington State standout who played for the Peruvian national team and father Michael the coach at Canyon del Oro. A four-year varsity player, the North Texas commit missed most of her junior season because of injury but returned with a vengeance this fall, ranking among the 4A leaders in kills (185), hitting percentage (.359) and serving percentage (.955 with 25 aces).

Anna Jackson, sr., Corona del Sol

Jackson emerged this fall to help lead the Aztecs back to the 6A state playoffs after they reached the semifinals in 2019, ranking fourth in the conference with 217 kills (.190 hitting) and serving 31 aces (.891 serving). The Cal Baptist commit also had 31 blocks and 94 digs for Corona del Sol, which opens Saturday against Xavier Prep.

Azure McComber, jr., ALA-Queen Creek

McComber was a first-team all-Central 3A selection last season for the Patriots, who moved to 4A this year and qualified for the state playoffs with a sweep of Lee Williams in the play-in round. McComber finished among the conference leaders in kills (137) and hitting percentage (.229) to go with 81 digs and 28 aces.

Bailey Fuches, sr., Deer Valley

Fuches, a Cal State Dominguez Hills commit, earned West Valley 4A region player of the year honors last season, when she helped the Skyhawks reach the state semifinals. She finished among the conference leaders this fall in hitting percentage (.366) with 98 kills, 27 aces and 84 digs. 

Brekyn Goodman, sr., Mountain View (Mesa)

Goodman was a first-team all-East Valley 6A selection last year, when the Toros made it back to the state playoffs after a five-year absence. This season, she helped the team earn a top-eight seed for the first time since 2008 — the No. 4 seed will play host to Queen Creek on Saturday night.

Brisa Zapata-Reaves, sr., Higley

Zapata-Reaves is an accomplished hitter both indoors for the Knights, for whom she earned first-team all-San Tan 5A honors as a junior and led them to the state play-in round this fall, and on the beach, where she qualified for the 2020 BVNE Kauai Bikini National Championships. 

Emma Parmley / Bryan Casebolt

Brooke Boyko, soph., Campo Verde

Boyko earned second-team all-San Tan 5A honors as a freshman. This year, she missed three matches midseason and never got back on track before the Coyotes’ season ended when they went into COVID-19 quarantine. 

Cara Braun, jr., Valley Christian

Braun was a first-team all-conference selection as a sophomore, helping the Trojans reach the 3A state championship match, where they fell to Northwest Christian in three sets. She ranked among this year’s conference leaders in hitting percentage (.390, third) and kills (156, ninth) while recording 68 digs, 16 blocks and 34 aces as Valley Christian earned the No. 3 seed in the state tournament.

Catherine Schwab, sr., Seton Catholic

Schwab, a second-team all-Desert Sky 4A selection in 2019, and teammate Christina Kuras form a powerful 1-2 punch in the Sentinels attack. Schwab this year finished the regular season just behind Kuras in kills (137, 11th in 4A), shared the team lead in aces (32 with a .919 serving percentage) and was second on the team in digs (103). 

Christina Kuras, sr., Seton Catholic

Kuras, a first-team all-Desert Sky 4A pick as a junior, led the Sentinels this season in kills with 156, ranking ninth in the conference. Seton Catholic claimed the No. 4 seed in the state playoffs and will play St. Mary’s in the first round Saturday.  

Demi Durham, sr., Parker

Durham was a first-team all-conference selection and the West Region player of the year last season in leading the Broncs to the 2A state playoffs. In the program’s move to 3A this fall, she leads the state in kills with 294 (5.4 per set) while hitting .349. She has 151 digs and 29 aces and helped Parker advance through the play-in round for a third consecutive year — the Broncs play Arizona College Prep in Saturday’s first round of the state tournament.

Emma Barber, jr., Estrella Foothills

The conference player of the year as a sophomore in leading the Wolves to the 4A state final, Barber flies high on both the volleyball court (team-high 114 kills) and in the skies around Goodyear. She is working to earn her pilot’s license, taking flying lessons over the summer, including several solo flights. She has taken her written exam but must wait to turn 17 before completing her coursework. “Emma is a very ambitious, goal-oriented person,” coach Jennifer Gonzales said.  

Emma Parmley, jr., Paradise Valley

Parmley enjoyed a breakthrough junior season for the Trojans, who knocked off Centennial in the 5A play-in round to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2013. She leads the conference in kills with 252 (4.6 per set) while hitting .318 and serving .989 with 19 aces. Her coach, Jessica Spencer, described her as “a funny young woman who is very serious on the court.” 

Emma Reardon, jr., Thunderbird

Reardon has rarely left the court since joining the Chiefs as a freshman. After earning second-team all-Skyline 4A honors a year ago, she’s reached another level this fall, ranking among the conference leaders in kills (167, sixth) and aces (49, fourth). She’s third among hitters in digs with 161. “Emma has worked hard to become a stud outside and is still gaining the confidence that goes along with that,” Thunderbird coach Carly Whitehead said.

Emma Reardon / Thunderbird High School

Emma Richardson, sr., Valley Christian

Richardson, a second-team all-Metro West 3A pick last year, might be one of the top pure right-side hitters in the conference. Her 168 kills lead all players listed only as opposite or right-side hitters in the state this fall, and her .496 hitting percentage is third across all conferences. She has 70 digs, 13 blocks and 13 aces for the No. 3 seed in the state playoffs. 

Emmy Overson, jr., Empire

Overson was a first-team all-Sonoran 5A selection last year for the Ravens, who dropped to 3A this fall and qualified for the state tournament after beating Chino Valley in the play-in round. Overson leads the team in kills with 108 (.244 hitting percentage), and she has 16 aces (92.7% serving) and 82 digs, second on the team.

Eryn Jones, soph., Millennium

Jones earned second-team all-Desert Sky 5A honors as a freshman, quickly becoming a go-to player for the Tigers and drawing interest from Long Beach State, Ohio State and Creighton. This fall, she ranks among the conference leaders in kills (174) and hitting percentage (.332) while serving 36 aces (90.1%) and recording 119 digs for the fourth seed in the state playoffs.

Evan Hendrix, fr., Notre Dame Prep

Hendrix entered the season ranked among the top 150 freshmen nationwide by PrepVolleyball.com, and she hasn’t disappointed for the Saints, who hold the No. 1 seed in the 4A state tournament. She leads a balanced attack with 155 kills (ninth in the conference), hitting .264 with 105 digs, 13 blocks and 13 aces.

Gracelyn Nez, jr., Flagstaff

Nez, last season’s Grand Canyon 4A offensive player of the year and a first-team all-conference selection, missed two weeks this fall with an ankle injury but returned to lead the Eagles to the region title and the No. 6 seed in the state playoffs.

Hannah Kammer, sr., Scottsdale Prep

Kammer, a first-team all-Central 2A pick last year, led the conference and finished third in the state in kills with 267 (4.6 per set) during the 2020 regular season. She was 10th among 2A hitters in hitting percentage (.323), led conference hitters in digs (230) and served a team-best .944 with 30 aces to help the Spartans earn the No. 6 seed in the state tournament.  

Isabella Horn, sr., Mogollon

A first-team all-conference selection as a junior who helped the Mustangs reach the 1A state final, Horn led the conference this season with 234 kills (4.8 per set) and was third in hitting percentage (.279) and aces (63).

Karli Haws / Round Valley High School

Jada Blake, sr., Desert Ridge

Blake emerged as one of the team’s top offensive threats this fall, nearly matching her 2019 production in half the sets, finishing with 175 kills, 128 digs and 21 aces. Jaguars coach Anthony Millanes noted that Blake is a big Beyoncé fan, and whenever one of her songs plays at practice or before a match, “you’ll find Jada dancing and singing around the gym.” 

Jada Wilson, sr., Queen Creek

Wilson developed this season into one of the conference’s best all-around players, ranking among 6A leaders in kills (171) and digs (215) while serving .920 with 16 aces to help the Bulldogs advance to the state tournament for the fifth consecutive year.

Jahara Campbell, sr., Hamilton

Campbell is the 27th-ranked player in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com and an AVCA Under Armour All-American who recently signed with Colorado. She transferred from Mountain Pointe to Hamilton before her junior year, becoming eligible halfway through the season and helping the Huskies reach the 6A state quarterfinals. This fall, she has 127 kills (.245 hitting percentage), 22 aces (.913 serving), 70 digs and 18 blocks. “Jahara is one of the most dynamic attackers in the 2021 class,” Colorado coach Jesse Mahoney said after she signed this week. “She plays high and has a fast arm coupled with experience attacking on both the left and the right.”  

Jordan Middleton, jr., Hamilton

A second-team all-conference pick as a junior, Middleton committed to six-time national champion USC in August and was named to this summer’s U.S. women’s junior national team — one of three juniors so honored. She ranks sixth in 6A with 189 kills (4.5 per set) and has a .351 hitting percentage with 98 digs, 21 aces and 16 blocks for the second-seeded Huskies.

Jordan Miller, sr., Millennium

Miller is a two-year starter for the Tigers who earned AVCA Under Armour All-American honors as a junior, when she was Desert West 5A offensive player of the year and first-team all-conference and led her team to the state final. This season, the Boise State signee hit .332 with 127 kills and 67 digs, helping Millennium claim the No. 4 seed in the state playoffs. “Jordan has a great arm swing that generates pace and allows her to score from anywhere,” Broncos coach Shawn Garus said after signing Miller. “I also love her court presence … always smiling and giving energy to her team.”

Kaden Young, jr., Horizon

Young was a first-team all-Northeast Valley 5A selection last season who has developed into one of the conference’s top all-around threats as the Huskies take the No. 2 seed into the state playoffs. She regularly stuffs the stat sheet, ranking among team leaders in kills (115 with a .289 hitting percentage), aces (21 with a .920 serving percentage), blocks (20) and digs (135).

Kaeleigh Gibson, sr., Cactus

The Arizona Christian commit earned first-team all-West Valley 4A honors last year for the Cobras, and this season she averaged close to three kills per set, hitting .206, and had 155 assists as the team reached the play-in round before losing Tuesday to St. Mary’s. Cactus coach Anthony Puglisi knew he had a future star four years ago when he attended a club tournament and saw Gibson playing as an eighth-grader without realizing she was the prodigy others had told him about. “I was amazed by how good she was, and after the match, I went to introduce myself as her future coach,” he recalled. “She said, ‘Hi,’ and walked right by. She wasn’t intimidated or nervous at all. Not rude, either. Just confident. She’s an amazing kid.” 

Kaylie Ray, sr., Chandler

Ray was a sophomore standout for the Wolves who had to sit out her junior season because of a knee injury. The Utah State commit came back this fall and didn’t miss a beat, finishing second in the conference with 230 kills (4.3 per set), reaching double digits in 12 of 14 matches. She hit .251 with 116 digs, 23 blocks and 28 aces (92.8% serving).

Karli Haws, sr., Round Valley

Haws was the North 2A region player of the year last season. She ranked among the conference leaders this fall in kills (201, sixth) and hitting percentage (.363, fifth) while serving 36 aces and tallying 107 digs. “Karli is a hard worker and a silent leader,” Elks coach Marcelle Donaldson said. “She has an incredible ability to build up her teammates and make them feel important.”

Kate Radavich, sr., Prescott

A second-team all-conference selection last year for the Badgers, Radavich finished second in 4A this fall with 250 kills (4.4 per set) on a state-high 924 attacks — 235 more than the next-highest total. The Portland State commit ranked first among conference hitters in digs with 170 and had 21 solo blocks.

Kendal Murphy, soph., Horizon

Murphy is one of the state’s top prospects in the Class of 2023, already drawing interest from Washington and reigning two-time national champion Stanford. She earned second-team all-conference and Northeast Valley Region player of the year honors as a freshman and followed with a dominant season up front, finishing eighth in 5A with 186 kills while hitting .344. She led outside hitters with 33 blocks and had 28 aces, serving .952. 

Kendyl Holt, jr., Trivium Prep

Holt was a second-team all-conference selection last year, when the Crimson Knights pushed top seed Thatcher to five sets in the 2A state semifinals in their bid to make their first appearance in the final. This season, they enter the tournament as the top seed, with Holt leading the way. The third-year starter became the school’s all-time kills leader this season, finishing third in the conference with 245 kills (4.8 per set) and seventh in hitting percentage (.350) with 162 digs, 16 blocks and 36 aces (.906 serving percentage). “Kendyl works harder than any other athlete I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching,” coach Beth Wilson said.  

Kendyl Holt / Ed Capulla

Kennedy Farley, sr., Centennial

With 5A conference player of the year Ashley Lifgren now at Grand Canyon University, a void was left in the Coyotes offense this season for Farley, a second-team all-Northwest pick and Concordia Irvine commit. She led the team with 145 kills with a .359 hitting percentage that ranked sixth in 5A, and she had 132 digs, 11 blocks and 13 aces. “Kennedy has stepped up this year as a leader on the court by improving her play and encouragement,” Centennial coach Rebecca Ellis said.

Kierstyn Barton, soph., Northwest Christian

Another of the top sophomore prospects in the state, Barton was a first-team all-West 3A region selection for the two-time defending state champion Crusaders. This season, playing alongside All-American Reagan Hope and Grand Canyon commit McKenzie Wise, Barton still made an impact, finishing with 117 kills (.285 hitting percentage), 56 digs, 21 blocks and 12 aces. “Kierstyn is such a young star,” Northwest Christian coach Jenna Hope said. “Only a sophomore, she is capable of doing things veteran players cannot. She hits the ball with such force, but she can also shoot easily around the block. She stays behind the ball, can hit high out-of-system balls easily, and as a blocker, she seems more on offense than defense. There is no doubt she will be a big-time college player.” 

Kylie Moran, jr., Desert Vista

Thunder coach Molly West needed hitters to step up this season after the program graduated the top three scorers from a 6A state quarterfinalist. Into the breach stepped Moran, who became the team’s top hitter with 172 kills (11th in 6A). She served .943 with 29 aces. She also had 128 digs, second on the team, and 23 blocks to lead Desert Vista to the No. 7 seed in the state tournament.

Lauren Rumel, jr., Catalina Foothills

Rumel was the 4A Kino offensive player of the year as a sophomore. She didn’t miss a beat with the Falcons’ move to 5A this fall, finishing third in the conference with 231 kills and fifth in hitting percentage (.368). She led 5A outside hitters with 199 digs.

Lauren Wamsley, sr., Cactus Shadows

Wamsley was a second-team all-Northeast Valley 5A selection a year ago. This season, she ranked among conference leaders in kills (179) and hitting percentage (.320) and was ninth among 5A hitters in digs (136) to help the Falcons earn an automatic berth in the state tournament.

Laylah Daniel, jr., Sunnyslope

Daniel has been on college radars the past couple of years, and she committed to Cal State Bakersfield after her sophomore season. This fall, she had 113 kills (.302 hitting percentage), 92 digs and 15 aces (serving .923) to help the Vikings advance out of the play-in round in their first year as a 6A program.

Leilani Clark, sr., St. Mary’s

Clark, a first-team all-Skyline 4A selection last season, ranked among conference leaders this year in kills (181, fifth) and hitting percentage (.323, seventh). Her 29 blocks were third among outside hitters. She also had 113 digs and 18 aces to help the Knights advance out of the state play-in round for the third consecutive year. 

Macee LeSeuer, jr., Snowflake

LeSeuer was Macee Papa her first two seasons with the Lobos, earning second-team all-conference honors last year for a 3A state semifinalist. This fall, playing alongside top scorer Reagan Olson, she finished with 118 kills (.250 hitting percentage) and 89 digs while serving at a .964 clip.

Madison White, jr., Notre Dame Prep

White is better-known as a beach volleyball player (she has committed to play for USC on the sand and teamed with four partners to win six AVPA events since July), but she’s not too shabby on the indoor court. She hit .341 this season for the top-ranked Saints with 141 kills, served .920 with 20 aces and had 84 digs. 

McKenzie Wise, sr., Northwest Christian

Playing alongside an All-American such as Reagan Hope, it would be easy to become overshadowed — especially at a smaller school like Northwest Christian — but that hasn’t been the case for Wise, who earned all-conference first-team honors as a sophomore before sitting out last season. The Grand Canyon commit returned this fall to help the Crusaders’ bid for a third consecutive 3A state title, finishing the regular season with 139 kills (.316 hitting percentage), 80 digs and 24 aces. 

Mehek Sumar, sr., Rancho Solano Prep

Sumar was a second-team all-Metro 2A selection last year for the Mustangs despite playing out of position as a middle blocker. Midway through this season, coach Marissa Morah finally could move her to her more natural right-side position, “and the ‘yesssssssss’ with a fist pump that she exclaimed was hilarious, as she is a very quiet and reserved person,” Morah said. Sumar rewarded her coach with a strong second half, finishing the season with 169 kills and a .394 hitting percentage (fourth in the conference) with 73 digs, 23 blocks and 48 aces. “Mehek is the most selfless player, and I was so, so glad to have her in her true home to end the year,” Morah said. 

Mehek Sumar / Rancho Solano Preparatory School

Micah Grynewicz, jr., Hamilton

Grynewicz is another of the Huskies’ stable of Division I prospects, having committed to the University of Alabama before her junior year. A second-team all-Premier 6A selection last fall, she finished second on the team this season with 145 kills (.296 hitting percentage), shared the team lead with 27 blocks, served at a .913 clip with 16 aces and was second on the team with 107 digs.

Michelle Herren, sr., Flowing Wells

It was a disappointing finish for Herren and the Caballeros, who had to end their season early because of COVID-19, but the defensive whiz along the front row showed why she earned second-team all-Sonoran 5A honors a year ago. She led the team with 184 digs (4.5 per set), second among conference hitters, and 36 aces (serving .906). Her 93 kills were second to teammate Arianna Mack’s 142.

Naia Stewart, jr., Gilbert

The reigning San Tan 5A region player of the year and three-year starter (the first freshman to make the Gilbert varsity since 2014) had another strong season in leading the Tigers back to the state tournament, finishing ninth in the conference with 181 kills (.296 hitting percentage) to go with 26 blocks, 43 digs and 15 aces. 

Nerin Valasakos, sr., Glendale Prep

Valasakos was the Central 2A region offensive player of the year last season, the second year in a row she amassed more than 300 kills. The pandemic-shortened season made it difficult for her to meet that milestone this fall, but the Iona College commit finished among the conference leaders with 201 kills (sixth) and a .305 hitting percentage to go with 83 digs and 19 aces. 

Olivia Cadien, sr., Chandler Prep

Cadien earned first-team all-conference honors last year for the Titans, and her all-around play should put her in contention to repeat this fall. She finished among conference leaders in kills (167) and hitting percentage (.335) and team leaders in blocks (15) and digs (118). She had 36 aces.

Raechelle Dykstra, fr., Independence

Dykstra, the younger sister of all-region senior Railey Dykstra, has tagged along with her sister to Patriots practices since she was a sixth-grader. “Raechelle was so little, and we would tease her that we could not wait to coach her,” Independence coach Michelle Monaghan said. That finally happened in 2020, and what a difference she’s made. Raechelle gave the team a much-needed second option on offense, hitting a conference-leading .495 with 173 kills, and the Patriots won the Central 5A title and qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2009. “Raechelle has added so much power and fun to our team,” Monaghan said. “She was finally old enough to play side-by-side with her sister, and what a team they are.”

Railey Dykstra, sr., Independence

Dykstra was a first-team all-Desert West 5A selection last year, when her 234 kills were nearly three times more than the next-highest total on the team. Her numbers went down slightly this season with the addition of younger sister Raechelle — 167 kills, .319 hitting percentage, 56 aces and 151 digs — but the payoff was big, as the Patriots qualified for the state tournament for the first time in the past 11 years. “Railey is a beast. She hit one of our own players as a sophomore and gave her a concussion,” Independence coach Michelle Monaghan said. “The player was out two weeks, and the girls have teased her about this beast move and that they’re scared of her hits.”

Samia Bhakta / Donna Mundy

Reagan Hope, sr., Northwest Christian

Hope has accumulated a number of honors during her career at Northwest Christian — three-time all-conference first-team selection, two-time conference player of the year, more than 1,500 kills (including 216 this season with a .365 hitting percentage), ranked 21st in the PrepVolleyball Top 150 list and being named a second-team AVCA Under Armour All-American. The last thing for her to accomplish before heading to the University of Oregon is to add a third state championship to her resume. “Reagan leads the team in every aspect,” said her coach and mother, Jenna Hope. “She has great volleyball knowledge and skill, but her mental game is what makes her the player she is. No block intimidates her, she can swing around anyone with ease, and we can always count on her in high-pressure moments.” 

Reagan Olson, sr., Snowflake

If not for being in the same conference as Reagan Hope, another Reagan might take top 3A honors. Olson, a first-team all-conference pick a year ago, finds her name scattered across the conference leaderboards — sixth in kills with 194 (.264 hitting percentage), eighth in digs among hitters with 132, eighth in blocks with 17 and 12th in aces with 34 (.945 serving).

Reece Fischbeck, soph., Mountain View (Mesa)

Fischbeck burst upon the scene as a freshman, earning second-team all-East Valley 6A honors as the Toros qualified for the state tournament. She again ranks among the team leaders as Mountain View takes the No. 4 seed into this year’s tournament.

Rori Martinez, sr., Yuma Catholic

Martinez was a second-team all-Metro West 3A selection last year for the Shamrocks. She raised her game this fall to help them go undefeated in West 3A play — their first region title since 2005 — and her 15 kills in a three-set sweep of Tonopah Valley on Tuesday got them into the state tournament for the first time since 2016. She has a team-high 204 kills (.286 hitting percentage), 101 digs and 36 aces (.904 serving).

Rylee Achtzehn, sr., Desert Mountain

The Wolves went through an eight-year postseason drought before Achtzehn joined the program in 2018. Her first season, they qualified for the 5A play-in round. Last year, with her father, Dana, now installed as head coach, she earned second-team all-Northeast Valley 5A honors and they made it to state for the first time since 2010. This fall, they’re back in the state tournament field, with the Southern Utah commit again leading the way with 231 kills (fourth in 5A), 29 blocks, 139 digs (seventh among 5A hitters) and 25 aces. “It has been fun coaching her and this whole group, not to say there aren’t moments that are hard on both of us,” said Dana, who played basketball for two seasons at Southern Utah (1990-92). “We have the same personalities and are both extremely competitive, so sometimes we can butt heads at home. But, mom is incredible at knowing when to remind us of what role we are in.”

Sadie Bluth, sr., Desert Ridge

Bluth, a second-team all-Central 6A pick last year, came on strong in the second half of this season as the Jaguars qualified for the state play-in round, where they lost to Liberty in five sets. She reached double figures in kills in each of her final eight matches to finish with a team-high 179 (.237 hitting percentage) to go with 114 digs, 27 aces and 23 blocks. 

Samia Bhakta, sr., Highland

Bhakta splits time between middle and outside hitter and has excelled at both positions. A year after earning second-team all-conference honors, she leads 6A with 248 kills while hitting .352, and her 157 digs rank fifth among 6A hitters. She has offers from Idaho and Loyola Marymount, but for now, she’s focused on the Hawks’ first-round match with defending champion Basha on Saturday. “Samia is an incredible competitor but the most humble person that I’ve ever met,” Highland coach Jordan Neal said. “Midseason, she and I were talking, and I asked, ‘Samia, where do you think you are in the kill rankings?’ She says, ‘Maybe 15?’ But she has this amazing drive that makes her such a special person.”   

Sofija Brnovich, sr., North Phoenix Prep

Brnovich was a second-team all-conference selection a year ago. North Phoenix Prep coach Summer Anderson said Brnovich’s value to the program can’t be measured with just numbers — although she’s posted strong ones, with 132 kills (.234 hitting percentage), 104 digs and 62 aces to lead the Gladiators to the No. 4 ranking in 1A entering the state playoffs. She played the state tournament last year with a severely sprained ankle. She’s moved from libero to setter to outside hitter during her career, and she’s become the go-to player when the chips are down. Anderson tells of a match in which the Gladiators dropped the first two sets, “and you could see it in the girls’ faces that they were checked out. Well, everyone except Sofija. She came in the team huddle, pumped up the team, and led us back to win the match. She will truly be missed from the NPX family.”   

Sofija Brnovich / North Phoenix Preparatory Academy

Sydnee Broadway, jr., Sandra Day O’Connor

Broadway’s college future probably takes her to the beach — she was an All-Arizona pick as a freshman who teamed with Notre Dame Prep’s Madison White to place second at the AVPA Women’s Open in August. The pair also has won three 18U AVPA events this fall. Indoors, she was a first-team all-Desert Valley 6A pick last year and has 103 kills with a .316 hitting percentage for the Eagles this season as they take the No. 5 seed into the state tournament.  

Sydney Klump, sr., St. David

Klump spent her first two seasons at Willcox before deciding for personal reasons to transfer to St. David, making the 90-minute drive one-way every day to join a program that had reached the 1A state final the previous year. After becoming eligible midseason, she played a big role in the Tigers winning the title, earning first-team all-conference honors. This season, she ranks among the conference leaders in kills (141, seventh) and digs (208, third) as St. David holds the No. 1 seed in the state tournament. Tigers coach Tylene Miller uses Klump’s daily three-hour round trip as motivation whenever one of her players complains of being tired or needing time off. “Whatever it takes to win, that’s what Sydney is going to do,” Miller said. “She’s a quiet leader, a humble leader.”

Tatum Parrott, jr., Greenway

Parrott will follow her mother’s path to play for Grand Canyon once she completes her career at Greenway, one that already includes being named 4A offensive player of the year last season, reaching 1,000 career kills in the Demons’ final regular-season match this year and leading the conference in kills with 288 (6.1 per set) with her .349 hitting percentage ranking fourth. She also had 140 digs (sixth among 4A hitters), 17 blocks and 30 aces. “Tatum is one of the best all-around players in the state and one of the most humble players I have ever coached,” Greenway coach Sarah Peterson said. “She has the ability to shake off mistakes and bring others up when needed.”

Taylor Johnson, jr., Horizon

Johnson, who recently committed to Rice University, had a breakthrough season for the Huskies, surpassing her 2019 totals in kills (a team-high 212, sixth in 5A), digs (122) and aces (23) while hitting .323. 

Trinity Freeman, sr., Sandra Day O’Connor

Freeman had a breakthrough junior season for the Eagles, leading the team in kills and attacks in earning first-team all-Desert Valley 6A honors. She followed this fall by again leading the team with 135 kills (.279 hitting percentage) to go with 25 blocks and 16 aces (.917 serving percentage).

Tatum Parrott / Greenway High School

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