Northern Lights Qualifier Shining Stars: 17 Open Outside Hitters
Be sure to follow @lshotvb on Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter for all things volleyball! – The 2024 Northern Lights Qualifier was one for the books. With the first part of the Northern Lights Qualifier taking place this past weekend, we got to see what the 18,…
The 2024 Northern Lights Qualifier was one for the books.
With the first part of the Northern Lights Qualifier taking place this past weekend, we got to see what the 18, 17 and 15s field were shaping up to this coming club season. 17 Open saw Houston Skyline take home the NLQ Crown after upsetting the projected winners, 1st Alliance in the gold pools.
Because of all of the talent on display in this division, there’s so much to talk about. So, we’re going to be breaking down the 17 Open Division by positions. This group was a doozy, there were so many great outsides in the Twin Cities! Take a look for yourself!
Bellamie Beus – ID CRUSH
She may have been one of the youngest pins in the field. But I’d argue, Bellamie Beus was one of the BEST coming out of NLQ. She may only be a sophomore in high school, but Beus was ripping on some balls like a sophomore in college! I am no stranger to this group from Crush, but I didn’t remember Beus having this much of a pop last time I saw her. As an effective of an attacker she is at the net, she’s almost even more effective on the bic in middle back. This is one to keep an eye throughout the season!
– Northern Lights
It’s never a bad time when you get to seein action. This Iowa State commit is such an integral part to this Northern Lights squad, you simply can’t get enough of her. As an attacker, she seemingly has all of the shots in the book and backs it up with stellar back row play.
Shay Heaney – Nebraska Premier
This may be a new player on my radar, and I am quite happy about that. Shay Heaney really put on a show in Minneapolis. Despite having one of the tougher pools in the qualifier, Heaney managed to shine as the go-to arm for Nebraska Premier. She’s got a real nice wing span that allows her to hit over some tough blocking schemes. This player is Grand Canyon bound and could become a real power player for the first time tournament attendee in a few years.
Alivia Eikenberg – Front Range
I got to see a lot of new players that I haven’t gotten the chance to before. Better late than never, Alivia Eickenberg, I am quite the fan now! This was maybe one of the heaviest arms in the gym. Eikenberg, despite being 5’10, can hang and bang alongside some of the biggest attackers at the Qualifier. She’s somehow still uncommitted, which could mean a real steal is on somebody’s hands in the next few months.
Asia Harvey – 575
From one uncommitted player to the next, I am still shocked to see Asia Harvey is yet to be called for. This player continues to shine. Harvey recently moved over to the newly found 575 VBC from A5. Despite the lackluster finish on the weekend, Harvey remains to be one of the best outside hitters that you will find. She’s a physical attacker and has a great sense of the back court that keeps her so dangerous.
Kendall Timme – Drive Nation
While Drive Nation may have gone through a major restructure since the last time we saw them, Kendall Timme is one huge player that they received during that time. Another new player to my radar, just upon first watch, I know Timme is poised for a huge 17s year. A 6’2 dynamo on the left side, she’s already cemented herself as a go-to option for this group and she holds that weight well.
Chloe Meester – Adrenaline
Louisville has themselves a powerhouse with this one. Chloe Meester was on fire all weekend long. One of only three teams in Sunday’s gold pool play that didn’t qualify for USAV’s Open Division last summer, I would be very aware of this team throughout the remainder of the qualifier season. With Meester firing on all cylinders, this team can simply do anything. They were merely points away from advancing to the Final Four on Sunday, just losing to ID Crush in 3.
Gabriella Babinski – Michigan Elite
I am really digging what I am seeing of Gabriella Babinski. While, she’s always been a heavy dose of fire power on the right side, this weekend we saw her stock go up big time. Becoming a go-to cog in Elite’s out of system offense, Babinski is unrelenting in her force into the ball. She found herself as one of Elite’s top scorers on the weekend, and I don’t think we have seen the most of her yet.
Sydney Bryant – Houston Juniors
Behind the arm of Sydney Bryant, Houston Juniors saw themselves just within reach of the 17 Open Bid this weekend. Despite having a tough route, Bryant was able to lead this group into the final four teams. This UCLA commit is a high-flyer and brings a lot of heat down from a high point. It’s hard to stop her when she gets a good grasp on the ball.
Kaci Demaria – Surfside
Another player that is surprisingly still on the uncommitted list, Kaci Demaria was showing off some serious muscle in Minneapolis. At 6’5, Demaria doesn’t have to do much, but its the extra that she does that makes her so dangerous to handle.
Sydney Buchanan – 1st Alliance
We previewed her going into the weekend, and man, did she live up to the hype. Sydney Buchanan is quite the addition to this already dangerous squad. And for the most part, 1st Alliance was straight cruising throughout the qualifier. Buchanan is as explosive as it gets and puts a lot behind her swings.
Ashlyn Paymal – Nebraska Elite
This is one of the first times I got to catch Ashlyn Paymal in action. Needless to say, I am quite impressed and excited to see more of her. 6’3 on the right side, Paymal is a lot to handle. She has nearly all of the shots in the book banging at top speed and she can block with some of the best.
Abigail Mullen – Dynasty
There is a reason that Abigail Mullen is considered one of the best that 2025 has to offer. With her new squad this weekend, one thing still remains the same, Mullen is going to put the ball away. Mullen is so dominant, it doesn’t matter if she is at the net or hitting the D ball, nobody seems to know how to defend her.
LaDonna Trantham – 1st Alliance
This is another dandy on this 1st Alliance team. LaDonna Trantham is going to be one big pick up for any program in the next couple months. As a right side, Trantham can get as physical as some of the biggest hitters in the gym. Similarly to Buchanan, Trantham oozes athleticism and has a great bounce off of the ground that allows her to elevate to such great heights.