Setters Take Command at Nebraska Top 250 Expo
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On to the setters. Showcase environments offer an opportunity to evaluate setters in a unique light. These signal-callers take charge of team drills while putting unfamiliar teammates in a position to be successful. This pressure test allows us to see…
On to the setters.
Showcase environments offer an opportunity to evaluate setters in a unique light. These signal-callers take charge of team drills while putting unfamiliar teammates in a position to be successful. This pressure test allows us to see which setters can adapt to any circumstances and remain consistent. Last weekend’s Nebraska Top 250 Expo had plenty of leaders who rose to this occasion.
We have quality across the board for this list.
We’re starting with one of Nebraska’s most persistent stock risers in the Class of 2025. Nelsen has been a force on the Nebraska prep scene for a while, going all the way back to her freshman debut with Fremont. The talented junior setter has now taken the reins at Millard North, where she put up 8.4 assists per set and helped the Mustangs gain some traction in the Class A race. Nelsen can now boost her stock further with another standout club campaign in the Premier Nebraska gym.
We recently made note of Johnson’s breakout junior year with Lincoln East. She broke into the starting lineup this fall and helped keep the Spartans right in the postseason conversation for a second consecutive year. Johnson is incredibly steady, whether she’s helping run a two-setter offense or going all the way around. Her athleticism and foot speed allow her to track down errant passes and put up hittable balls. This value was on full display as Johnson returned to the Prep Dig Showcase stage, and we’re looking forward to another exciting club season at Nebraska Juniors.
It’s never to late to become a stock riser, and we learned a lot about Willey’s smooth setting at Saturday’s showcase. She was a junior captain for Ralston this fall and was a savvy distributor in La Vista. A medley of quick tempo and accurate location allowed hitters on Willey’s court to exhibit some of the best attacks of the morning, which fully encompasses the value of a good setter. Willey will represent Club Legacy in the spring.
2023 was a breakout year for Bodnar, and it was capped off with career-best numbers as a sophomore at Omaha Duchesne. Bodnar ran a 5-1 offense and offered so many contributions other than pure setting. Three-hitter rotations were always a strength for the Cardinals with Bodnar piling up quality digs in the right-back area. Her progress with VCNebraska will be fun to follow next year.
Perkinson is a recent addition to our Class of 2026 rankings, and it’s hard to ignore the numbers she put up as the starting setter for Omaha Concordia. She compiled 9.6 assists per set and anchored a scoring explosion that made Concordia one of the most efficient teams in its class. Perkinson was able to channel some of the that leadership during team drills at the Top 250 Expo, leading to yet another impressive performance for this soaring sophomore prospect.
The 2024 club season will be a change of scenery for Bartholet, who makes the move to Premier Nebraska this spring. We’ve had previous discussions about how deceptive Bartholet can be, particularly as a back-row setter. She wields a lethal setover dump that allows her to be an attacking threat even when she’s not in the frontcourt. Bartholet connected well with anyone at our showcase, so her club movement shouldn’t slow her down.
Hazzard kept opposing middle blockers guessing throughout six-on-six action at the Top 250 Expo. She always keeps all setting options available, even if she’s drifting toward one pin or getting pulled off the net. This is our chance to get VCNebraska into the club discussion, and we know all about this club’s ability to train elite setters. Hazzard could be the next in line from the Class of 2026.
We’re not far removed from seeing Powell thrive in the 2023 state tournament. The Malcolm sophomore was not daunted by the pressure associated with keeping a powerhouse program in the championship discussion. Rather, Powell stepped in and maintained the kind of high-level play we’re used to seeing from the Clippers. This small-town gem is due for more highlight moments with Nebraska Juniors.
McMahon made a big jump in the Class of 2026 hierarchy when she directed the offense for her Nebraska Elite team last spring. Expect her to do the same with Nebraska Elite 16 Nova in the coming months, especially after McMahon continued her forward momentum at the Top 250 Expo. The Skutt Catholic sophomore reminded us how well she can set against the grain and get players in rhythm, regardless of the passes she’s given.