Houston Stop 1 Top 250 Expo Top Performers: Middles
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Everyone had a lot of fun at the Prep Dig Top 250 Expo in Houston on Sunday, with players, coaches and scouts all leaving the event full of excitement with the high level of play and the incredible energy seen…
Everyone had a lot of fun at the Prep Dig Top 250 Expo in Houston on Sunday, with players, coaches and scouts all leaving the event full of excitement with the high level of play and the incredible energy seen on the courts at TAV Houston.
The event, however, didn’t end on Sunday as now it’s time we recognize and give a shoutout to the players who impressed the most with their skills. My Prep Dig colleague and fellow scout Mallori Howington has already started, shortlisting the setters and DSs/liberos that impressed her the most, so I’ll get things going on my side with the middles that stood out to my eyes.
Since she didn’t play in the last high school season, Carr was one of the nicest surprises of our Top 250 Expo. Her physical tools are truly impressive as she’s not only tall, but also very strong and coordinated. She moves well on the court and does an excellent job when it comes to adding an extra portion of power to her swings with her explosive approach. Carr displayed excellent blocking hands and dominated court 6 all day. She’s also a very good server.
After playing outside hitter and carrying the offense of her team Kempner during the last high school season, Ochelli had a seamless transition back to her original middle blocker position. Extremely athletic, she’s a force on both sides of the ball in the middle, combining tremendous offensive firepower with a big and technical block. The experience in a different position has clearly made her develop her all-around game as she was clearly more confident with her first touch and more effective when hitting from the right.
I’ve been following Jones’ progress since she first emerged as a freshman and the Top 250 Expo was another opportunity to realize how she continues to get better. Her physical tools have always been impressive but now it’s possible to see that some great coaching has made wonders to her game. Jones is now much better with her footwork on offense and defense and has made some really smart and interesting moves with her arms when blocking that show her growth as a player.
Funk got on my radar during the high school season, when, as a freshman, she was a starter in a strong Tompkins team that compete in the Championship match. The fact that she was able to stand out at the Top 250 Expo when paired with players she’s not familiar with speaks volumes about the great athlete she is. Funk’s blocking is her main strength and that was evident during the event as she used her lateral quickness and her length to dominate the net. She also showed interesting signs of progress on her offense, hitting with good efficiency from the middle and the right.
I had been trying to watch Rugley in person for quite some time and she definitely didn’t disappoint in her first impression. I knew that she was an excellent blocker, but she’s actually even better than I thought as she’s a tremendous jumper and has excellent timing and reading of the game. Her offense is extremely strong as well as Rugley puts a lot of intensity into her approach and is capable of hitting different sets with great power and to different directions.