Oregon’s top high school volleyball players: Meet the state’s best setters

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be taking a position-by-position look at some of the top players in Oregon high school volleyball. Our first list focuses on the setters.

There are hundreds of standout volleyball players in Oregon and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive. Use the comments section to share some information about some of the state’s other standout setters.

Feature photo: Megan Bushnell (Bend)

Sabrina Albee, Sr., Joseph

Albee splits time between setter and outside hitter for the Eagles, making the all-Old Oregon first team last season with 176 kills, 36 blocks, 105 assists and 48 aces. A two-time league player of the year and 2020 Class 1A co-player of the year in basketball, she’s hoping to play both sports in college. “Sabrina is an all-around amazing player with high court sense and a lot of leadership on the floor,” Joseph coach Jill Hite said, before adding a funny anecdote. “Yet clear up until this year, she thought we said slide out instead of sideout.” 

Brooke Allen, Sr., Powder Valley

The three-time all-Old Oregon selection (including 2019 league player of the year) and two-time Class 1A all-state first-teamer has deftly directed the Badgers attack over her four-year career, getting them to the state final each of the past two seasons. Last season, she had 468 assists, 235 digs, 191 kills (.240 hitting), 22 blocks and 54 aces (.943 serving). This season, running a 5-1 for the first time, she has 499 assists, 144 digs, 41 kills and 17 blocks through seven matches (26 sets). “Brooke is a one-of-a-kind athlete, one who can never be replaced,” Powder Valley coach Marji Lind said. “Her growth and maturity achieved these past four years has been amazing, but what is most unique about her is her unselfishness and humility. Even though she is a major standout, she is always giving credit to her teammates and never seeks accolades for herself.”

Chloe Bierbrauer, Sr., Sandy

Bierbrauer received all-Mt. Hood honorable mention as a junior and was named a team captain this season for the Pioneers. “She leads the court very well and is a great leader,” Sandy coach Lihau Perreira said. 

Beaux Bruegman, So., Sheldon

Bruegman earned all-Southwest honorable mention as a freshman (131 assists, 213 digs, 79 kills, 31 aces), when she shared setting duties with all-league first-teamer Hannah Ledgerwood. When Ledgerwood decided to graduate early to start her college career at Eastern Oregon, that accelerated Bruegman’s full-time takeover of the offense, and through three matches this season, she had 104 assists, 32 digs and 14 aces. “Beaux has a strong understanding of the game,” Irish coach Martine Wodke said. “She started last year as a freshman and was just so calm and collected. She sees the whole court. She holds herself accountable for every contact, every footwork rep, and finds a way to support the players around her to be successful.” 

Alison Buchholz, Sr., Jesuit

Buchholz earned first-team all-Metro and second-team all-state honors as a junior for the two-time defending Class 6A state champion Crusaders with 765 assists (8.2 per set), 281 digs, 46 kills and 42 digs. The Washington and Lee commit is playing all-around this season in a 6-2, moving to right-side hitter in the front row, and midway through the season had 84 assists (6.5 per set), 33 digs, 11 kills and six aces (.921 serving) with a team-high 42 service points. 

Megan Bushnell, Sr., Bend

The first-team all-Mountain Valley and Class 6A all-state honorable mention setter is a four-year starter who plays all-around in a 5-1 and has committed to Fairleigh Dickinson. As a junior, Bushnell had 465 assists, 138 digs, 35 kills, 32 aces and 15 blocks. “Megan is so smart in the game,” Lava Bears coach Kristin Cooper said. “She works harder than anyone I know on and off the court, watching film, lifting and dedicating herself to the sport. She is a beast in the weight room, always pushing herself and encouraging other female athletes not to fear lifting weights.” 

Jordan Caldwell, Sr., St. Paul

Caldwell set a goal as a fifth-grader to be an Olympic volleyball player and has played the sport year-round since. She set the Buckaroos to back-to-back Class 1A state championships, playing all-around, and was a third-team all-state selection as a junior, when she had 287 assists, 101 kills (.320 hitting) and 76 aces (.947 serving). 

Ellie Cantu, Sr., Kennedy

The first-team Class 2A all-state selection last season expertly directed a Trojans offense that featured three all-state hitters, finishing with 747 assists, 291 digs, 143 kills and 72 aces as Kennedy won its first state championship. She also was a first-team selection in basketball and helped lead the Trojans to a state title in that sport as well. 

Shealyn Cecil, Jr., West Linn

Cecil joined the Lions as a sophomore and shared setting duties with Kate Griffin, finishing the season with 568 assists, 115 digs and 60 aces. “Shealyn is a ball of energy,” West Linn coach Emilie Wilmes said. “She always brings everything she has to the court.”

Ellie Christian, Sr., Marist Catholic

Christian, a four-year starter, missed the second half of the 2019 season yet earned all-Sky-Em honorable mention, finishing with 450 assists, 109 digs and 33 aces in 59 sets. As a senior, she was averaging 5.5 assists per set at midseason. “Ellie has improved her game defensively and also has made great choices as far as her setting,” Spartans coach Shari Pimental said. 

Shelie Doman, Sr., Crane

Doman made the all-High Desert team each of her first three seasons, including the first team as a junior, when she also received Class 1A all-state honorable mention with 6.2 assists per set, 32 kills and 24 aces (.937 serving). Her mother passed away in December 2019, and Doman took it upon herself to make Christmas this winter as special as possible for her siblings, maintaining a gift list all year and carrying on family traditions such as holiday treasure hunts and baking her mom’s gingerbread cookies. “Shelie is a silent force on our team and has been for a long time,” Mustangs coach Lindsay Robertson said. “Her court awareness is nothing less than excellent, and she uses it to help us score fast points when we need them the most. Her presence on the floor brings confidence to each player. She is a leader and a great example to everyone around her.”

Kate Doorn, Jr., Summit

Doorn committed to playing volleyball when she started in third grade, and the University of Idaho commit joined the Storm varsity for the state playoffs toward the end of her freshman season. The 5-10 setter plays all-around in Summit’s 6-2 system and made the all-Mountain Valley honorable mention list as a sophomore. She leads the team in assists and aces, utilizing a tough floater serve. “Kate is one of the best setters we have ever had, a very talented setter with lots of potential,” Storm coach Jill Waskom said. “She is calm and cool on the court.”

Jenna Glenzel, Sr., South Eugene

Glenzel played soccer for much of her youth but eventually switched to volleyball, and the Axe are happy she did. She was a first-team all-Southwest selection as a junior, finishing with 305 assists, 138 digs, 21 kills and six aces to help them reach the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs, where they won a set against eventual champion Jesuit. “Jenna is instrumental to our team in many ways,” South Eugene coach Alicia Chamness said. “She brings energy to every moment we are together. She brings heart and connection to everyone she meets, and of course runs our offense beautifully and is always taking on that leadership role that we need.”

Kate Griffin, Sr., West Linn

Griffin is a four-year varsity player who received all-Three Rivers honorable mention as a junior, when she had 586 assists, 144 digs and 43 aces. “Kate is a tremendous leader on the court,” Lions coach Emilie Wilmes said. “She brings fire and energy.” 

Peyton Griffin, Sr., Jesuit

Griffin has played all-around each of the past two seasons for the Crusaders, earning first-team all-state honors as a junior with 273 assists (3.4 per set), 157 kills and 130 digs to help them successfully defend their Class 6A state title. The Cal State East Bay commit was off to a strong start again this season with 101 assists (5.9 per set), 31 kills (.415 hitting), 32 digs and eight aces (.966 serving) midway through March. 

Savannah Hale, Sr., Damascus Christian

Hale and her sister, Sierra, often sing the national anthem before Eagles matches, then Savannah showcases the talent that has made her a two-time Valley 10 player of the year and the third-highest vote-getter on last season’s Class 1A all-state team. She had 336 assists (4.9 per set) and 191 kills while sharing the team lead with 70 aces. “With Savannah’s passion for volleyball, all-in mentality, and a spirit that never gives up, she has done so much for our program,” Damascus Christian coach Emily Russau said. “It has been a privilege to coach her.” 

Sydney Harrington, Jr., West Albany

Harrington shares setting duties with all-leaguer Elijah Sanders, forming a potent 1-2 punch for the Bulldogs. “Sydney is a natural-born leader and go-getter,” West Albany coach Megan Wallace said. “She leads by example, encouraging and pushing those around her, and constantly trying to learn and soak up as much information as possible.” 

Madison Heagney, Jr., Crescent Valley

Heagney dreams of playing for her hometown college, Oregon State, and as Raiders coach Troy Shorey said, “Madison works really hard to accomplish her dreams.” Heagney was an all-Mid-Willamette honorable mention selection as a sophomore as a setter and right-side hitter with 110 digs and a .219 setting efficiency. “Madison is a student of the game and plays year-round while finding time to work with young kids,” Shorey said. 

Savannah Hutchins, Sr., Sweet Home

A two-time all-Oregon West first-team selection, Hutchins received all-state honorable mention as a junior in helping the Huskies reach the Class 4A state final, averaging 9.4 assists, 10 digs and 1.4 solo blocks per set, running a 5-1 offense. Also a first-team all-league pitcher on the softball team, Hutchins spent two years restoring the lifted Chevy pickup truck she now drives to and from practice. She stays after practice to work with her hitters to improve their timing. “She can set a variety of tempo balls to her hitters,” said her coach and mother, Mary Hutchins. “She is one of the strongest defenders we have, one of the most quietly competitive kids that I know, and plays much bigger than her actual size.” She will play at Linn-Benton and study physical therapy. 

Natalie Mathers, Sr., Parkrose

Mathers, an all-Northwest Oregon Conference first-team setter, last season helped the Broncos reach the Class 5A state playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Adia Messenger, Sr., Reynolds

Messenger is a three-time all-Mt. Hood selection, including making the first team each of the past two seasons. She signed with Eastern Washington during the early period in the fall. “Adia is a setter who has impressed me with her set location, communication and camaraderie,” said EWU coach Leslie Flores-Cloud. “She gets hitters to play for her, runs a fast offense and loves to set the middles. She will be a fantastic Eagle for us.” 

Zoe Nguyen, Sr., St. Mary’s Academy

Nguyen plays libero for her club team but sets for the Blues, making the all-Three Rivers first team last season.

Delaney Northern, Jr., Central Linn

Northern was a second-team all-state selection last season, averaging 7.4 assists per set and 25 assists, 4.5 aces and 8.7 digs per match in directing the Cobras to a runner-up finish at the Class 2A state tournament. She plays libero for her club team and is an outside hitter when she moves to the front row for Central Linn, “where she is killing it,” according to her mom and coach, Holly Northern. “She is a very versatile athlete,” which she showed off during the long COVID-19 offseason when she and her sisters (including graduated all-state hitter Sydney Northern) picked up snowboarding. “Now, she has a new love,” Holly said.

Sierra Noss, Jr., Crescent Valley

Noss earned all-Mid-Willamette honorable mention as a sophomore, splitting time in a 6-2 with classmate Madison Heagney. She served at an 89 percent clip with a .207 setting efficiency. “Sierra is a persistent player and will do the things needed to be competitive,” Raiders coach Troy Shorey said. 

Melia Patrick, Sr., Wilson

Patrick is a two-time all-PIL first-team selection who last season set the Trojans to an undefeated record in league play for their first PIL title since 2015. Wilson coach Mark Mendak calls her “a team leader, always willing to be coached, someone who leads by example with actions and work ethic during practice or competition. By remaining calm and collected, she delivers constantly to her hitters and for her team.”

Elyse Patterson, Sr., McMinnville

The hand-eye coordination that makes Patterson a lethal ping-pong player comes in handy as a setter for the reigning conference champion Grizzlies. She received all-Pacific honorable mention as a junior, deftly directing the attack with 378 assists, 169 digs and 15 aces (.937 serving). “Elyse is one of the most consistent players I’ve ever coached,” McMinnville coach Ben Patterson said.  

Kennedy Peery, Sr., Tigard

Perry announced her presence as a freshman by teaming with a classmate to win a doubles tournament at tryouts, and she hasn’t left the lineup since, earning second-team all-Three Rivers honors as a junior with 385 assists, 118 digs and 28 aces. She’ll play at College of Southern Idaho in the fall. “Kennedy has developed into a setter who takes care of her hitters and attacks in every way,” Tigers coach Megan Norris said. “She’s always a hype person for her teammates.” 

Teryn Powers, Jr., Hidden Valley

Powers, who plays setter and right-side hitter for the Mustangs, was a first-team all-Skyline selection in volleyball and basketball as a sophomore, helping her teams qualify for the state tournament in both sports.

Kaiden Raif, Sr., Burns

A four-year starter for the Hilanders (2,273 career assists and counting) and a first-team all-Eastern Oregon League selection as a junior, Raif had 874 assists, 340 digs, 68 aces and 55 blocks in helping them place sixth at last season’s Class 3A state tournament. She also can claim the unofficial title of Burns High’s dodgeball champion, having won every game she’s played during her four years. “Kaiden’s work ethic to be better has created the success the Hilanders have had,” Burns coach Paula Toney said. “She loves the game of volleyball and would like to continue in college.”  

Ellie Rush, Sr., Sisters

Rush earned first-team all-Oregon West recognition and Class 4A all-state honorable mention as a junior, when she had 420 assists, 114 digs and 34 aces for an Outlaws team that placed fourth in the state. She has committed to play at NAIA Valley City State in North Dakota. “Ellie is a fierce competitor and an important part of Outlaw volleyball,” said her coach and mother, Rory Rush. “She has great court sense and does a great job running a fast-paced offense.” 

Elijah Sanders, Sr., West Albany

Sanders is the senior half of the Bulldogs’ setting duo with junior Sydney Harrington. She is a four-year varsity player who was first-team all-Mid-Willamette and Class 5A all-state honorable mention as a junior. “Elijah is a great leader. She is who the team looks to when we are in a tough spot,” West Albany coach Megan Wallace said. “She is humble and holds herself to the highest standard, as a leader should. She is a double threat in creating an effective offense and being an effective hitter and blocker when in the front row.” 

Jasmine Sells, Sr., Lincoln

Sells, a first-team all-PIL selection for the Cardinals last season, teamed with Canby’s Daley McClellan over the summer to win several Pacific Northwest beach volleyball tournaments. Sells will play at Washington University in St. Louis.

Courtney Silbernagel, Sr., Junction City

Silbernagel is an all-around player for the Tigers, playing setter and outside hitter and earning first-team all-Sky-Em recognition as a junior.  

Mia Solomon, So., Delphian

Solomon was a first-team all-Tri-River selection as a freshman, when she split time between hitting and setting, finishing with 153 kills and 59 aces with a 75 percent setting efficiency and receiving the team’s 100% Award as the Dragons reached the Class 2A state playoffs. This season, she is playing setter all-around in a 5-1. “Mia is a shy setter with deceptive ‘glide control’ to the ball,” Delphian coach John Kertchem said. “She was a gift to the varsity team last season. She worked steadily toward improving her volleyball skills and that product was achieved, especially in the area of setting, and was instrumental as an all-around player in the team’s success.” 

Morgan Stafford, Sr., Corbett

Stafford is a two-time all-Tri-Valley first-team selection who made the Class 4A all-state second team as a junior. 

Mia Starr, So., Central Catholic

Starr was a role player on last season’s Class 6A state runner-up but has stepped into a starting spot playing all-around in a 6-2, moving to outside or right-side hitter in the front row. She had 26 assists, 23 digs, 14 kills (.306 hitting) and three blocks in Week 2 alone for the Rams. “She has quickly gone from playing a few points off the bench last year to playing all the way around this year,” first-year Central Catholic coach Kayla Hambley said. “Adaptable and hard-working, she is willing to do whatever the team needs. Her court sense and volleyball IQ are way beyond her ways. She’s definitely one to watch!” 

Photo by Ed McReynolds

Lauren Stemple, Jr., Central Catholic

The other half of the Rams’ setting duo, Stemple was a second-team all-Mt. Hood selection for the Class 6A runner-up last season with 585 assists (5.4 per set), 47 aces and 206 digs. This season, in their first four matches, she averaged 5.9 assists per set (82 total) and had 18 aces (.987 serving), 11 kills and 18 digs, also playing right-side hitter when in the front row.

Kate Stidham, So., Crater

Stidham is a two-sport standout for the Comets. She experienced immediate success on the volleyball court, making the all-Midwestern first team last season in leading Crater to the Class 5A state playoffs. 

Vai Taale, Sr., Putnam

Taale, who splits time between setter and outside hitter, earned all-Northwest Oregon first-team recognition for the second consecutive season as a junior.

Lola Talalemotu, Sr., Beaverton

Talalemotu, a first-team all-Metro setter as a junior, comes from an athletic family — her father, Ina, played on two NCAA Division II national runner-up football teams at Portland State in 1987-88, and her brother, Mataio, is a current Viking. “Lola is a natural athlete who could play any position,” Beavers coach Ashley Waggoner said. “She can hit and pass; you just never get to see it. Her laid-back personality also keeps her teammates even-keeled and balanced.” 

Brooklynn Walters, Jr., Vernonia

Walters is a three-sport standout for the Loggers, making the Class 2A all-state second team in volleyball and helping the team place fifth in the state as a sophomore with 268 assists, 65 digs, 33 kills and 21 aces in league play. “Brooklynn is our vocal leader. She brings the spark we needed this year,” Vernonia coach Teresa Williams said. “She talks the game, strategizes with her teammates, and pushes them to work hard. With her athletic talent, she would do well at anything.”

McKenna Wiepert, So., Wilsonville

Wiepert played behind all-state setter Kennedy Juranek for last season’s Class 5A state runner-up, playing about one-third of the sets and finishing with 57 assists. With Juranek now at Montana State-Billings, she’s taken over as the No. 1 setter, averaging 8.1 assists per set with 10 aces (.903 serving) and seven kills midway through the season. “She’s an exceptional setter who can hit like an outside, with an outstanding block and exceptional all-around skills,” Wildcats coach Nathan Blankenship said. “She’s one of the best setters in Oregon, with amazing tempo, placement and drive, and teams foolish enough to serve her will find her hitting a cannon from the right side.” 

Photo by Greg Artman

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