All of these athletes are on the radar, they are no secret, but sometimes it depends on whose radar they are on. This will be a big weekend for the Class of 2024 where many of them are going to…
All of these athletes are on the radar, they are no secret, but sometimes it depends on whose radar they are on. This will be a big weekend for the Class of 2024 where many of them are going to be finishing up their recruiting process. They will be taking visits, watching practices, spring matches, and finding what is next for them. Here are some athletes who are sure to slay at MEQ as some of the top available 2024s.
Jacqueline Taylor – Miami Hype 17N Emilio
In the volleyball world, there are plenty of family connections in regards to some of these athletes having parents who were high level collegiate or even professional athletes. I know there are some in this tournament. Jacqueline Taylor is the daughter of the late Sean Taylor, formerly of the Miami Hurricanes and the Washington Redskins. He was one of my favorite players when he took the field for “The U”. To now see his daughter take the volleyball court is so fun as she continues the Taylor legacy. She plays with speed, athleticism, power, and passion. As a middle blocker, she has a fast twitch style with a lot of physicality where she will close the block on the pin, transition to always being available to attack. She has an extremely high ceiling to her game and plays for a Miami team who knocked off Dynasty at Triple Crown. They are always a dangerous matchup.
Sophie Ledbetter Sophie Ledbetter 5'9" | DS/L Hamilton Southeastern | 2024 State IN – Academy 17 Tsunami
I’ve seen Ledbetter play since her 15s year where she was an all around, point scoring outside hitter. She can still swing on the pin, but her future could be as a high level libero at the next level. Her length and ability to serve receive is different than most liberos. She’s played everything she understands the game, and has a very high IQ. This Academy teams has had a hot start to the season where they have won Central Zone and were the Bluegrass runner up finishers. This squad has a great team chemistry and play really clean volleyball. They have “bid” thoughts heading into this weekend.
Riley Whitlock Riley Whitlock 6'0" | OH Lafayette Harrison | 2024 State IN – Boiler Juniors 17 Gold
I’ve said this the past couple seasons, but the Class of 2024 out of Indiana is just different. There are already 20 plus D1 commits and the list will continue to grow. Riley Whitlock Riley Whitlock 6'0" | OH Lafayette Harrison | 2024 State IN will be someone to keep tabs on this weekend as she has been showing her point scoring ability all season where she can do it from the outside or right side. Whitlock is also a standout on the basketball court as well. Her athletic ability is obvious in how she plays where she can make something of nothing. Plenty of intangibles are tilted in her favor.
Lauren Salata Lauren Salata 5'9" | OH Nazareth | 2024 State IL – Adversity G17 Adidas
Salata is another athlete I’ve watched since her 15s season. I’ve seen her win a state title at the high school ranks as an outside hitter and now she is one of the setters for a talented Adversity team out of Chicagoland. Her all around play is one of her brightest attributes, and knowing the outside position helps her in setting. She is going to be a sneaky get for the next level, a steal. Her ceiling is incredibly high as a setter considering she has been playing whatever role her team needs her for the past few years. This is a high powered Adversity team she gets to dish to.
Dakota Elliott – Circle City 17 Purple
Fast twitch, explosive, the list of adjectives go on for Dakota Elliot who plays for Circle City 17 Purple, the hometown team out of Indy. Elliott is an extremely dynamic attacker and blocker out of the middle where she can run a variety of tempos and be a major mismatch problem for the other side of the net. She is tough to follow for an opposing middle where she can go in front or behind the setter. Her contact point is high and fast. She has plenty of highlights where she can thump it on the ten foot line.
Rachel Ogunleye – Illini Elite 17 Cardinal
Ogunleye jumps like a deer and is so smooth in how she moves. She can close the block with great footwork and finds a way to take up space with her hands. Offensively she is able to find her setter and knows how to put a ball away to the corner. She has to be touching ten feet just based on the eye test and is continuing to improve. Illini Elite has been dabbling into USAV events. This will be an exciting weekend for them to take on some of the top teams in the country, they are a tough matchup.
Johanna Tillman Johanna Tillman 6'2" | MB Dakota | 2024 State MI – MiElite 17 Mizuno
I’ve seen Tillman play on the high school and club courts. Her effort where she plays with a high motor is consistent no matter what team she is playing for. As a middle blocker, she has a lot of strength and physicality that allow her to affect the other side with her block and score points as well. Seeing her at Central Zone and Triple Crown, she was able to be effective and have an impact in multiple parts of the game. She can also play a little backrow defense and hold her own.
Haley Yount Haley Yount 6'2" | MB Northwest | 2024 State MO – Rockwood Thunder 17 Elite
Yount was someone I was able to see play for Rockwood at Triple Crown when they punched their ticket to the elite eight. The pins of Rockwood Thunder are huge point scorers, but the likes of Yount and company out of the middle are incredibly efficient and if their opponents key in on the pins they will be hurt by the likes of Yount. As a middle blocker, Yount has great hands, meaning she knows how to use her hands when blocking to make sure they are turned in and not getting tooled. Offensively, she swings with a high IQ, avoiding the block and finding the deep corners for easy points.
Nela Misipeka – Pohaku 17-1
Lightning in a bottle. Misipeka is an electric right side who packs a big time punch with her swing. She is incredibly fast to the ball and can always adjust to the defense, hitting a variety of angles. I was able to first see Misipeka play at Northern Lights last year as a 16s and she was so fun to watch with her energy and play. This Pohaku team out of Kansas City has a lot of dynamic athletes and plenty of available 2024s who can play at a high level.
Calli Kenny Calli Kenny 5'9" | S Willowbrook | 2024 IL – 1st Alliance 17 Gold
1st Alliance has established a tradition of well rounded and extremely well trained athletes. A lot of their setters can attack and that is exactly the case with Kenny. She can terminate as a right side hitter, but can also dish to all of her attackers as a setter in the backrow. She is high level with anything she does. This gives this 1st Alliance team a lot of options with lineups and has always made this core group extremely dynamic. They finished just outside of a bid at Northern Lights back in January and will be in the hunt for some big matches come Sunday.