Photo credit: Omaha World-Herald
We’ve hit the mid-season point for high school volleyball in Nebraska, and with that it’s time to look at who the standouts have been through the first half of the year.
We start by taking a look at the 10 best performances so far by setters. Keep in mind this isn’t a mid-season all-state team or anything like that. There is still a lot of season left and many, many big matches. This is simply a look at 10 standouts, listed alphabetically, so far this year.
Sami Clarkson, 5’11 junior, Omaha Concordia
The Omaha commit is being asked to do more for the defending Class C-1 state champs this year and is doing just that while still being one of the top setters in the state. Clarkson is fourth in the state in assists with 592 (11.0 per set) and has already set career bests this year in kills (59) and blocks (28). She’s the complete package as a setter and continues to just get better.
Delani Fahey, 5’8 senior, Ord
Ord has kind of come out of nowhere to be a legitimate title contender in the loaded Class C-1 and it’s due in large part to the emergence of first-year setter Fahey. After serving primarily as a back-row specialist in previous seasons, Fahey has stepped in at setter and has dished out 11.2 assists per set for the 18-3 Chants while still playing outstanding defense and serving at a 96.5 percent clip.
Lily Heim, 6’0 senior, Omaha Marian
The SMU recruit is on pace for back-to-back 1,000 assist seasons for Marian while also directing the Crusaders’ balanced attack. Heim also is on pace for career bests in kills and service aces and is averaging a career-best 11.4 assists per set.
Mara LeGrand, 5’9 junior, Papillion-LaVista South
LeGrand’s 673 assists are the most in the state so far this year, which isn’t bad when you consider she didn’t even start training as a setter until the summer before her sophomore year. LeGrand is another of the multiple-threat setters as she’s one of the top defensive setters in the state while adding 58 kills, 21 blocks and 25 aces while serving at 96.6 percent.
Hope Leimbach, 5’5 junior, Lincoln Lutheran
At just 5’5 it can be easy to write Leimbach off as an elite setter, but that would be a huge mistake. She has some of the best hands and ball placement in the state and she’s an explosive leaper, which makes her an effective blocker and an offensive force as her 52 kills shows. Defensively, some think she has the skills to be an outstanding college libero. She’s incredibly well-rounded.
Katie Maser, 5’9 sophomore, Grand Island Central Catholic
Maser isn’t overly flashy, but she’s the straw that stirs the drink for one of the top teams in the state regardless of class. She has great hands and great command of the Crusaders’ attack with 453 assists (11.0 per set). Maser also is a master play-maker and a standout defender and about as consistent of a setter as you’ll find.
Delaney Saucier, 5’8 senior, Skutt Catholic
Saucier has done an incredible job stepping into the starting setter role at Skutt Catholic, replacing the graduated all-stater Allison Schomers. It’s one thing to have a lot of weapons at your disposal, as the Arkansas State recruit does, and it’s another to get everyone the touches they need and keep one of the state’s top programs humming along, which is exactly what Saucier has done.
Brooklyn Schram, 5’11 sophomore, Papillion-LaVista
Schram moved from the Bellevue West district to the Papillion-LaVista district over the summer and has fit right into the Monarchs system. While there is still plenty of room for growth in her game, she has the upside and ability to become really, really good. She’s averaging 10.7 assists a set for the Monarchs and knows how to pick her spots offensively with 32 kills and no errors.
Jaisee Stinson, 5’9 junior, Millard South
As a pure setter, Stinson isn’t quite at the level of the best in the state, but you would be really hard pressed to find anyone that’s as good of a playmaker as the Patriot junior. She’s the most dynamic athlete playing the position in the state and she has the potential to get a triple-double every time she’s on the court. She’s averaging 9.0 assists, 2.2 digs and 2.1 kills per set this year.
Kinsley Tingelhoff, 5’7 senior, Wahoo
Tinglehoff has been the model of consistency during her career at Wahoo. The senior enters this week just 63 assists shy of the Class C-1 career record, meaning she will likely break the mark during the Capitol Conference Tournament this week. Tinglehoff isn’t going to do anything that makes your jaw drop to the floor, but when it comes to running an offense, putting teammates in a position to be successful and winning, none do it better than her. She’s averaging 9.6 assists per set this season, has 3,266 assists for her career and the Warriors are 99-19 in her four years, including 18-1 this year.