Labor Day has come and gone, which can mean only one thing in the high school volleyball world – the national rankings of the top senior players from across the country is coming out. Prep Volleyball, which has been ranking…
Labor Day has come and gone, which can mean only one thing in the high school volleyball world – the national rankings of the top senior players from across the country is coming out.
Prep Volleyball, which has been ranking the top 100 senior recruits in the nation since 2004, will slowly release the list over the next couple weeks. It’s always interesting to see how much respect athletes from Nebraska get in the national rankings. Even though those of us in the state know how great the talent is here, it doesn’t always translate at the national level.
For my money, three players from Nebraska should be in the national 100 – Sarah Wing of Omaha Marian, Taliyah Flores of Papillion-LaVIsta South and Jaela Zimmerman of Malcolm. Wing should fall somewhere between 75-100, while Flores should likely be in the 60-90 range. Zimmerman, in my opinion, is a top 30 talent – maybe even top 25.
But, again, Nebraskans tend to get snubbed on the national recruiting rankings. Brittany Witt wasn’t a top 100, nor was Brooke Heyne, Allison Schomers, Sydney O’Shaughnessy, Olivia Nicholson……..well, you get my point.
Over the years there have only been three players from Nebraska make the top 10 – Jordan Larson was #2 in 2005 while Kadie and Amber Rolfzen were #5 and #8, respectively, in 2013.
As we wait to see who makes it this year, here is a look back at all of Nebraska’s top 100 recruits over the years.
2017 – Steph Gaston, Papillion-LaVista, #99
Gaston had a tremendous career for the Monarchs and committed to Creighton as a sophomore but just prior to the start of the 2017 season she opted not to play in college.
2016 – Raegan LeGrand, Papillion-LaVista South, #89
LeGrand had one of the best all-around high school volleyball careers of this decade and got a full ride scholarship as a libero to USC. She appeared in four matches as a true freshman.
2015 – Carly Remmers, Freeman, #100; Megan Wickey, Omaha Concordia, #39
Injuries plagued Remmers early in her career at Ohio University, but now that she’s healthy she’s doing big things as a redshirt sophomore for the Bobcats – including 13 kills and eight digs in a 3-2 win over Oklahoma earlier this month. Wickey committed to Ohio State but suffered a concussion during summer workouts before her freshman year and opted to not play in college.
2014 – Olivia Boender, Waverly, #56
Boender is now a redshirt junior at Nebraska and has appeared in 20 matches during her career. In 2015, Boender had 15 kills and eight digs during a 3-2 comeback win over Oregon for the Huskers.
2013 – Jessica Bird, Bennington, #73; Kelly Hunter, Papillion-LaVista South, #13; Amber Rolfzen, Papillion-LaVista South, #8; Kadie Rolfzen, Papillion-LaVista South, #5
Bird completed a standout career at Creighton last season where she was All Big East 1st Team in 2014 and the Big East Tournament MVP in 2015. She finished her career ranked #13 on Creighton’s all-time kill list. Hunter is in her senior season as setter for the Huskers and was All-Big Ten and AVCA All-America 2nd team in 2016. Both Amber and Kadie Rolfzen will go down as all-time greats for the Huskers. During Nebraska’s 2015 National Championship season Kadie was AVCA All-America 1st team and Amber was 2nd team. Amber finished her career sixth on NU’s all-time block charts while Kadie earned four AVCA All-American honors and finished sixth in school history in kills and seventh in digs.
2012 – Lauren Sieckmann, Elkhorn South, #51
Sieckmann started her career at the University of Nebraska before making stops at Wayne State, USC and Pepperdine as well, the later two as a sand player. She now plays professional beach volleyball and is a successful fitness model.
2011 – Emily Wilson, Omaha Gross, #69; Michelle Sicner, Millard North, #60; Sara McClinton, Millard North, #34; Lillian Schonewise, Papillion-LaVista South, #12
Wilson had a great career at Missouri, becoming only the 14th player in Missouri volleyball history to record 1,000 kills. She is now a volunteer assistant coach at Army-West Point. At the time, Sicner was considered one of the best recruits ever for Creighton and she wound up a honorable mention AVCA All-American in 2013. She finished her career 7th all-time in assists and 34th all-time in kills. McClinton committed to Nebraska but the Huskers pulled their offer just weeks before signing day and McClinton wound up at Kansas where she’s sixth all-time in kills for the Jayhawks. As a MB for California, Schonewise was All-Pac-12 1st Team as a senior
2010 – None
2009 – Chelsey Feekin, Papillion-LaVista, #72; Hayley Thramer, Ewing, #64; Gina Mancuso, Papillion-LaVista, #20; Lauren Cook, Lincoln Pius X, #18
Feekin went to Wichita State where she saw limited time as a freshman and sophomore before becoming the Shockers starting setter her final two years and earning honorable mention AVCA All-America honors. Thramer had an injury-riddled career at Nebraska, but when healthy she was a beast – finishing second in the Big Ten in 2012 with 103 blocks in conference play. Mancuso’s career at Nebraska included a pair of First-Team All-Big Ten honors as well as an AVCA First-Team All-American award. After her freshman year at UCLA, Cook came back to Nebraska and was twice an AVCA All-American and twice a First-Team All-Big Ten setter.
2008 – Kelsey Petersen, Kearney, #60; Keelin Bourne, Millard North, #59
Petersen was a four-year contributor at Iowa State and finished her career with 703 kills for the Cyclones. Bourne spent two seasons with Illinois.
2007 – Catie Wilson, Omaha Gross, #62; Ann Armes, Grand Island, #69; Gabi Ailes, Bellevue West, #32; Brooke Delano, Bellevue West, #25
Wilson had a standout career at Missouri where she was one of the most efficient attackers in program history as a MH. Armes went to five NCAA Tournaments as a member of the Kentucky volleyball team and was captain in 2010 and 2011. She is now an assistant coach at Lipscomb University. Ailes would go on to be the first Stanford player to ever reach 2,000 digs and finished her career fourth all-time in Pac-12 for digs with 2,147. Delano finished her career at Nebraska as a two-time First-Team All-Big 12 player and an AVCA First-Team All-American.
2006 – Brooke Bartek, Lincoln Northeast, #13
Bartek spent her freshman year at Nebraska before leaving to play at Kentucky.
2005 – Amanda Hantouli, Omaha Burke, #85; Alison Jacobs, Elkhorn, #63; Amanda Gates, Columbus, #50; Megan Wilson, Lincoln Christian, #35; Jordan Larson, Logan View, #2
Hantouli was a four-year starter at Missouri and finished as one of the Tigers’ all-time great blockers. Jacobs had a successful freshman season at Auburn before opting to stop playing volleyball. Gates had a very solid career at Nebraska, finishing her career in 2008 as a honorable mention All-Big 12 performer. Wilson helped lead Missouri to three NCAA Tournament appearances and was a starter on the 2009 Minnesota team which reached the final four. She is now an assistant coach at Bethel University. What can you say about Larson. She is arguably the greatest all-around indoor volleyball player in American history.
2004 – Carolyn Decker, Bellevue West, #68; Meghan Smith, Sidney, #27
Decker had shoulder and knee injuries rob her of two years at Creighton, but as a freshman and again as a senior she had more than 200 kills and 200 digs for the Bluejays. Smith played two season at Nebraska, highlighted by an eight kill, seven block performance in her first career start as a sophomore in a 3-2 win over Minnesota.