GameChangers: Electrifying Pin Hitters at Nebraska Top 250 Expo
In this article:
This content series is sponsored by GameChanger – The Official Scorekeeping, Stats, Team Management & Technology Partner of Prep Dig. We’ve been running these showcases for the past few years, and a big-time group of pin hitters always arises at…
This content series is sponsored by GameChanger – The Official Scorekeeping, Stats, Team Management & Technology Partner of Prep Dig.
We’ve been running these showcases for the past few years, and a big-time group of pin hitters always arises at the Top 250 Expo. This Saturday’s outing in La Vista was no different.
It’s only fitting that we hone in on these showstopping outside attackers for our sponsored GameChangers feature. We had a fascinating medley of familiar faces, new discoveries, and major stock risers in this group. Let’s embrace that medley here.
Let’s start with one of Nebraska’s steadiest stock risers from the Class of 2025. Freel has the rare distinction of being a Nebraska prep player who hops over to Iowa for club competition. The junior opposite appeared at GJNC this summer with Attack IA, and that turned out to be a springboard to a solid prep season with Plattsmouth. Freel compiled two kills per set on a .200 clip for the Blue Devils. She can reach a new level as a senior, too, and we were reminded of that at Saturday’s showcase.
Carlstrom has garnered recognition here for her do-anything attitude for High Plains Community. She has carried roles as a setter and an opposite while thriving at both. Her tenure at the Top 250 Expo was geared more toward her terminal arm in the front row. Carlstrom’s assertive style produced 3.2 kills per set this year–by far the best mark of her career. Regardless of which position suits Carlstrom in the future, we know she will always be a threat to score along the net.
Small-town Nebraska will get several nods throughout our post-event features, so let’s keep the momentum going. Boyer joined us from Columbus Lakeview, a program that is used to the prep spotlight. After excelling in a ball control role as a freshman, Boyer stepped into the Viking frontcourt this fall and produced 150 total kills. She gave Lakeview so many lineup options with that aforementioned experience along the end line. So, if you were looking for a six-rotation standout at the Top 250 Expo, Boyer was a good choice.
Dakota Valley High School in South Dakota brought the heat to suburban Omaha for Saturday’s expo. This feature should help lay that out. Kimbell distinguished herself as one of the event’s strongest pure opposites–though she was more than comfortable on the left pin, too. Even while we were dazzled by Kimbell’s high contact point and fluid approach, we also had to take note of her ability to mesh with many of the unfamiliar faces around her. This is the kind of positive, encouraging competitor you want on your side in team drills.
Dakota Valley and MVP are putting another one on the board. Munch has been on our radar for a while in the Dakota/Iowa corridor, so it was exciting to get a reminder of what she’s capable of. Her 2023 high school highlight tape has no shortage of eye-popping moments, as Munch compiled nearly three-and-a-half kills per set with the Panthers. On the club side, the 2026 outside hitter will continue to bolster an MVP lineup that has already won big matches on the most prominent national stages.
Standout performances are nothing new for Branson. After announcing her presence on Nebraska’s prep stage in 2022, Branson elevated her numbers to mind-numbing proportions as a sophomore. She tallied 5.3 kills per set on a 0.240 clip to lead Shelton to its second consecutive state tournament appearance. It’s proof that high-volume outside hitters like Branson can completely change the trajectory of a high school volleyball program. Therefore, we were thrilled to see this small-town star participate in our Top 250 Expo, where Branson’s dominant reign continued. And, by the way, Branson’s South Central NE club team is looking for another GJNC bid in 2024.
The potential here is off the charts. We had a couple of players carrying the banner for Iowa at our La Vista showcase, and the quality to be found here was extraordinary. Rogers immediately stood out as a freshman outside hitter who can hit with undiggable range. Her effortless elevation paid dividends in positional drills and six-on-six action, as Rogers found ways to turn heads in both venues. This 2027 prospect could keep thriving in the club season with Six Pack, a group that set big milestones in 2023. The next wave of Iowa talent is here.
We might as well bring one more Dakota Valley athlete into the mix. Anderson helps solidify the bright future that Dakota Valley has on the high school stage, and the same can be said of Anderson’s club impact with MVP United . Our Top 250 Expo helped show off Anderson’s quick arm and steady ball control presence in the back row. Her well-rounded game makes it easy to forget she’s just wrapping up her freshman year, and we’re now fully invested in how Dakota Valley performs in future seasons. They’ve got a new fan.