The first two contacts are what lead to the big celebrations. Or, if they aren’t consistent there will be no celebration, but instead a free ball being sent over the net. These were some of the top liberos and setters…
The first two contacts are what lead to the big celebrations. Or, if they aren’t consistent there will be no celebration, but instead a free ball being sent over the net. These were some of the top liberos and setters in the Great Lakes Region 16 Open Field this past Sunday.
April Rice April Rice 5'11" | S Lemont | 2025 IL – Adversity 16 Adidas
I have seen Rice play prior to this weekend and she does so many things for her side of the net that are extremely positive. Everything starts with her feet where she is able to get to the ball, get her hands on it, and find a way to set multiple attackers. When she jump sets, the other side of the net freezes because she has the ability to turn and burn with a left handed swing. She is tough to slow down and gives her attackers a lot of one on one opportunities to score. Adversity 16 Adidas finished second overall to 1st Alliance 16 Silver and will carry this momentum into Indianapolis where they will be in the 16 Open Division at MEQ.
Alexandria Goritz Alexandria Goritz 5'9" | DS/L Huntley | 2025 IL – Top Flight 16 Elite
Goritz moves extremely well. She has length and range where she is able to get a touch on plenty of balls hit to her side. She also has a major spark about her game where she gets hyped to celebrate her teammates. With her playmaking ability and range, she will be able to continue the long rally for her side of the net where they have plenty of options when it comes to scoring points.
Jorah Rutter Jorah Rutter 5'11" | S Hampshire | 2025 IL – Top Flight 16 Elite
The foundation for a high level setter is right there for Rutter. She has soft hands, a smooth release, great feet, and plenty of length. She receives the ball high and can run all the tempos to all of her attackers. With her length, she has the option to be very offensive and can hold her own at the net when it comes to blocking.
Ava Young Ava Young 5'7" | DS/L Hinsdale Central | 2025 IL and Kameron Blizniak Kameron Blizniak 5'10" | S Romeoville | 2025 IL – 1st Alliance 16 Silver
Libero and Setter
Young was one of the top liberos in the gym regardless of age. She is a high level athlete where she can read, anticipate, make the play out of her range and also make those other difficult plays look routine. She makes a great combination with setter Kameron Blizniak Kameron Blizniak 5'10" | S Romeoville | 2025 IL who simplifies everything for her hitters. The attackers aren’t guessing on her placement, it’s going to be right there for them. She has a really calm presence on the court where she keeps her cool and command on their team. This is a team who could compete among the open level teams at some qualifiers.
Ella Jenkins Ella Jenkins 5'7" | DS/L McHenry | 2025 IL – Sky High 16 Elite
Jenkins is extremely scrappy, she’s quick and can find a way to get her feet to the ball. What I also really enjoyed about her team is that she’s not afraid to set her middles in transition. Her motor and energy on the court is exciting, she plays with no fear where she’s not afraid to go head to head with other big time players. There were times where she found ways to be offensive as well. Definitely a fun athlete to keep tabs on as these teams start to get into their qualifier season.
Marikate Ritterbusch Marikate Ritterbusch 5'7" | DS/L Benet Academy | 2025 IL – Sky High 16 Elite
I was really impressed with the play of Ritterbush in the semifinal match against Adversity. Even though Sky High lost, Ritterbusch was extremely consistent, especially in serve receive. Time and time again she was providing three point passes and giving her setter a chance to run the offense. She does this with a really quiet and controlled platform, there isn’t any wasted movement. The awareness and body control are at a high level for Ritterbusch.
Madison Berry and Cara McLean – Michio 16 National
This is a really interesting setter combo, but this works extremely well for Michio. Berry is more undersized where she is might be 5’6 (rough estimate) and McLean is tall, long around 5’10 (another estimate). Berry’s footwork is top notch, she gets her feet to the ball, is squared to the target and can put it on the money for her attackers. She is also a very solid defender. McLean was setting from the front row where she receives the ball high and remains neutral. She also can provide a big block and is able to be offensive as well.
Sophia Nowacki Sophia Nowacki 5'8" | DS/L Hammond Bishop Noll | 2025 State IN – Michio 16 National
Well trained, Nowacki is able to get to the swings outside of her body and keep them in system. Many of these liberos have similar positive attributes where they can keep things simple, efficient, and have a presence on the court. Nowacki does just that and more.
5'8" | DS/L
New Trier | 2025
– Adversity G 16 Adidas
Cortina really turned her game up a level playing against Sky High in set two and three when Adversity needed it the most. She had multiple digs against one of the top outsides in the 16s field in Sky High’s Ava Wysocki Ava Wysocki RS IL in set two and three which ultimately led Adversity to more chances to score and take the match. Liberos who can make adjustments and get better as the match progresses says plenty about their mental strength and the team that surrounds them.