Omaha Specialty Camp Day 2: Top Talent Not Hard to Find
OMAHA – The collection of overall talent on the 2018 University of Omaha volleyball roster is the best it has ever been in the program’s history. Did the Mavericks’ coaching staff find more players the past two days at their…
OMAHA – The collection of overall talent on the 2018 University of Omaha volleyball roster is the best it has ever been in the program’s history. Did the Mavericks’ coaching staff find more players the past two days at their specialty camp to eventually add to that stockpile of talent?
Maybe, but only they know for sure at this point. All I know is there was certainly a large enough pool of talent in the gym that coach Rose Shires and crew had to finish the camp feeling really good about the level of kids expressing an interest in being a Mav some day.
We’ve already taken a look at some of the top setters and liberos that were at Sapp Fieldhouse, so here is a look at the middles, pin hitters and utility-type players that impressed over the course of two days. Players are listed alphabetically by graduation year.
Rachel Fairbanks, MB – 2019 – Lansing High School (Kansas)
Already committed to the Mavericks, Fairbanks is 6-foot with a slight build and doesn’t look like a Division I middle until you actually watch her play and compete. She’s got great quickness to the pins and is really athletic and “springy.” She also displayed a really quick arm swing and a very nice ability to cut the ball around blockers. She was the best middle over the course of the two days.
Sophie Hendrix, UT – 2020 – Papillion-LaVista South
I’m not sure if Hendrix is an attacker or a back row player, but I do know she’s a baller. At 5’9, she smart and athletic enough that she could play low-level NAIA or Division III as an attacker. But, if she opts to play back row in college, her ceiling is much higher. She missed all of the 2017 high school season with a knee injury, but she is still solid enough defensively that she will get some pretty decent looks as a libero/DS.
Carly Rodaway, RS – 2020 – Lincoln Pius X
Rodaway is at a school with probably the most talented varsity volleyball team in the state not named Skutt, so she has flown a little under the radar. She’s a tall, athletic and fairly strong lefty that hits a good ball and puts up a good block. She might have a hard time cracking the line-up for a senior-loaded team this fall, but she would start on the right side for 90% of Class A teams. Right now, I would say she projects as being able to play at a high-end NAIA or solid Division II school.
McKenna Ruch, OH – 2020 – Millard North
Ruch, who has already committed to the Mavericks, looks like she is already at a point where she could help Omaha. She was the most versatile attacker at the camp, which she has demonstrated throughout her high school career. Ruch was mostly hitting on the pins when I had the opportunity to watch and she showed a great ability to terminate by either tooling blocks, hammering a ball down the line or hitting an array of shots. Where she winds up playing along the net in the future, I’m not sure, but I do know the Omaha coaching staff will have fun figuring it out.
Lauren Taubenheim, OH/RS – 2020 – Lincoln Pius X
An out-of-state Division I coach told me the other day that most of the kids who are good LOOK like they’re gonna be good. Exhibit A is Taubenheim. At 6’2, Taubenheim has a slight build but seems to have a frame that would easily allow her to get much stronger. She’s still pretty raw, to be honest, but her athletic ability is off the charts and she just keeps getting better and better. She had a really good couple days at camp.
Amelia VanDerWerff, MB – 2020 – Lansing High School (Kansas)
A high school teammate of Fairbanks, VanDerWeff was only able to take part in the camp on the first day, but the 6’2 middle made quite an impression. Not quite as athletic or quick as Fairbanks, VanDerWerff has legit Division I length and size. She’s more of the tradition middle and puts up a really good block and is athletic enough to play at the D1 level.
MC Daubendiek, RS – 2021 – Omaha Marian
Daubendiek is another player who was only able to participate on the first day of camp and another player that is somewhat under the radar because she was not on Marian’s varsity roster a year ago. She’s a tall, strong lefty on the right side who is going to make a big impact in Class A this season. During this past club season she was drawing interest from Division I programs and that will likely continue to be the case. She has a big upside.
Hannah Kepler, OH – 2021 – Milford
An under-the-radar player because she plays at a smaller school without much history of volleyball success, Kepler’s athleticism was on par with the rest of the top outside hitters at the camp. At 6’0, Kepler has the ability to rise well above the net and hits a really hard ball. At this point in her development, a Division I program might be a little bit of a stretch, but she’s definitely on the path to be a target of elite Division II and NAIA programs.
Shayla McCormick, OH – 2021 – Skutt Catholic
McCormick is coming off a stellar club season in which she was an AAU All-Americans in the 15 Open division in helping lead her Nebraska Elite team to the national championship match and she showed no signs of a letdown during camp. She was a top-three outside among all the camp participants, in my opinion, and possess good size, great athleticism and shot-making ability. She will almost certainly have multiple Division I offers.
Lauren Shrock, OH – 2021 – Solon High School (Iowa)
Shrock is a big-time talent that was only able to participate on the first day of camp. She probably had the best frame and size of any of the pin hitters at the camp and she pounds the ball. Maybe most importantly, she had some swagger and an energy about her that you like to see from a big hitter. She’s going to be the target of several D1 schools.
Brilee Wieseler, UT – 2021 – Skutt Catholic
I’m on the record as saying that Wieseler is one of the top players in the state in the 2021 class, but for the life of me I just can’t figure out what position she fits. At the Nebraska individual camp she was among the top 20-ish players playing primarily in the back row. At the Omaha camp, she was probably among the top 10-15 players, playing both back row and on the right side. She’s also a really good setter. She can definitely play at the net at a high level in high school and probably at the NAIA level in college. Her back row ceiling is really high and players that can do it all are pretty coveted, and that’s what Wieseler will be.
Maddie MacTaggart, OH – 2022 – Millard South
I didn’t get to see this incoming freshman play back row much, but based on what I did see of her, she is a legit Division I prospect. At times on the second day she was able to dominate on the outside against some of the best players at the camp. She’s athletic, long and has a pretty good hammer. She still has a lot of work to do to become more polished, but she’s going to be an impact freshman in Class A this fall.
Sadie Millard, MH – 2022 – Millard West
Millard made a really good impression in helping lead Millard West to the team title at the Creighton team camp earlier this month and was near the top in terms of middles at the Omaha camp the last two weeks. She’s another one of those players that doesn’t look like a middle until you watch her play. She has great twitch reflexes and gets to the pins quick and is quick off the floor and elevates well above the net.