GameChangers: Top Performers at KY Top 250 Showcase
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This content series is sponsored by GameChanger – The Official Scorekeeping, Stats, Team Management & Technology Partner of Prep Dig.
With several prospects primarily representing Ohio and Kentucky, the first KY Top 250 Expo was a big success with great play all around and a good look at some high potential talent. Here are top performers by position.
– 2023 | Club: Tennessee Performance
Barnett, a senior setter, was the most experienced athlete in the gym with a tangible impact in every drill. The two-time Kentucky all-state and Region 4 Player of the Year executed well all session showcasing her setting skills, leadership, and court savvy. She is simple yet dynamic in her skills and elevated her court well with energy and communication, which is impressive given the majority of these athletes were competing with each other for the first and only time. Barnett has accolades and experience that should translate well to the next level.
– 2025 | Club: NKYVC
Venard is a a high potential setter and continues to develop her skill set and decision-making to complement well her touch and delivery of the ball. At 6’0, she has great size and utilizes it well through all six rotations when setting and in other facets of the game. She controlled her side of the court well and displayed great poise and execution throughout the full session. Venard returns to lead an NKYVC team that qualified at the USAV 15-Open level last club season and has potential to do the same in 2023 with her at the helm of the offense.
Kate Rush – 2025 | Club: Lexington United
Rush is a gamer for sure. She immediately caught the attention of scouts and court coaches right away given her athleticism, ease of movement, and touch on the ball. Her footwork is fluid through her lift off the floor to contact the ball in the air high above her forehead. Rush made good decisions and adjustments among a group of hitters foreign to her and also distributed well when having to move in pursuit of an out-of-system ball.
– 2024 | Club: MAVA
The 5’5 junior had a great session as she passed and defended well all morning. She was a noticeable factor on her floor starting with her communication and followed by her effort. She moves her feet well to the ball and has good base stability that allows her to contact the ball with good pursuit and range. Parsons plays with good simplicity but her skills can make big plays that can frustrate opponents while igniting her own side.
– 2025 | Club: NKYVC
Grace could become the elite Kentucky libero prospect in this class as she already has the tools and confidence to contribute with a high rate of return in the biggest environments. All of that was on point this morning as she pursued and contacted the ball with efficient movement, quickness, and angle production that put setters in great situations to deliver the offense. She can change games with her ability to make big plays and is worth a deliberate evaluation as she has tools to standout in a crowded field of DS/L prospects.
– 2026 | Club: NKYVC
Coming off of a good first season at the varsity level for one of Ohio’s best high school programs, Frietch is set to bring her skills back to her club team, one that competed extremely well among the nation’s best teams in their age group over the previous club season culminating at the USAV 14-Open level at nationals. She showcased well her ability to read the court and did her thing by making great moves with controlled contact on the ball. She is a high ceiling prospect with a lot of high-level experience ahead of her given she is just a freshman.
– 2024 | Club: KIVA
The 6’4 junior not only stood out given her size and length but also due to her effectiveness offensively in the middle area of the game. She had many moments that allowed her to utilize her contact point well to get on top of the ball and score. She works well around her setter in both serve receive and transition to get up on time and with good space to take healthy swings. Starks will be fun to watch over the club season as she has potential to be a stock riser over the coming months.
– 2025 | Club: OPVC
The 5’11 Gillispie was a refreshing surprise at this showcase given her sheer athleticism that parallels her work ethic and engagement around the court. The Ohio District 16 DIII Player of the Year elevates effortlessly and extremely well and can get on the ball with good authority through the quicker options in the offense. There is a raw quality to her game still that will undoubtedly shore up as she gains most experience. She even seemingly looked to improve well throughout the session given the variables of different setters and drills thrown at the group throughout the session. She has a high ceiling and will be fun to watch develop and compete through her volleyball journey.
Taylor Wathen – 2026 | Club: MAVA
Wathen undoubtedly set herself apart from other prospects in her class in attendance. She has big potential as a middle with a good skill foundation and physical frame for just a freshman. She also took some healthy swings at the left pin that showcased some good variety to her offensive skill set. At 6’3, she asserted herself well on both sides of the ball. As she grows her experience and develops more foot speed, her arm work offensively and blocking skills defensively will be that much more impactful. It was fun to watch her emphatically terminate the final ball of the session on her court to essentially conclude her experience with a big exclamation point!
– 2026 | Club: KIVA
With the volume of prospects in attendance, the position that was represented the least was at outside hitter. However, that is not to say that with more pin prospects in the gym that the 5’11 Owens would not have stood out the way she did. Through the first 30 minutes, several court coaches made mention of her athleticism and arm. Just a freshman, she already displays some veteran confidence in her ability to get up and hammer the ball. She has a nice fundamental arm in the air that helps her create good torque and generate what looks like effortless power. She is a high potential athlete already being recognized by other sources as one to watch, which mirrors what was tweeted early in the session, “Get Owens on your radar!”