Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
If you remember last season — and how could you forget — the area’s volleyball scene provided plenty of drama and an abundance of success.
Between the SVC, SOC, FAC, SHAC and MSL-Buckeye, the five conferences within SOSA’s coverage reach, four different programs earned district titles while Adena and South Webster each played in the Elite 8.
But en route to those postseason finishes, there were plenty of individual performances to rave about, multiple records broken and tons of matches that won’t soon be forgotten.
As for this season, we expect much more of the same. But before it happens, we decided to compile a list of the coverage area’s top 30 players. It was an absolute bear to do so, but we think we’ve got a list of 30 athletes who are the absolute best at their craft.
Remember, this list only includes players from within SOSA’s coverage area and it isn’t an end all, be all. We encourage discussion and getting our athletes the recognition they deserve is always our mission.
30. Abbie Marshall, Waverly
2020 statistics: 28 kills, 18 aces, 22 blocks, 135 digs, 458 assists
On a team that grew up in front of our eyes last fall, Marshall was at the center of that youth movement. She stepped in, as a freshman, to take over setter duties and proved she belonged in that exact spot. In effect, the Tigers’ offense received a huge boost. With a cast of talented hitters around her, Marshall passed out 458 assists. Expect more of the same this season.
29. Kamryn Withrow, Teays Valley
2020 statistics: 270 kills, 22 aces, 43 blocks, 209 digs, 10 assists
Withrow did a little bit of everything last season for the 16-win Vikings. The middle hitter posted a team-high 270 kills and added 209 digs to that number with a 41.3 kill percentage. It’s pretty simple … usually, when she had a chance to swing, the ball found the floor. After Teays Valley finished 11-3 in MSL action last fall, the Vikings will once again lean on Withrow this year.
28. Annie Dettwiller, Notre Dame
2020 statistics: 135 kills, 20 aces, 5 blocks, 211 digs, 254 assists
It’s possible that Dettwiller will be higher on this list by season’s end. She has the talent and work ethic to get there. But she hasn’t had a season yet where she’s the centerpiece of the offense. This could be that year. She enters her junior season as one of the Titans’ most experienced players. She’s played in big games and has a knack for masterful performances.
27. Kelli Stewart, Waverly
2020 statistics: 165 kills, 20 aces, 53 blocks, 208 digs, 28 assists
Stewart’s athleticism at the net makes her nearly unstoppable on most occasions. She showed she can find holes in the defense last season while dominating her position defensively. Hitters consistently have to have Stewart in the back of their minds while swinging. As the Tigers welcome a new coach and system into place, Stewart is poised to have a breakout year.
26. Johanna Crawford, Chillicothe
2020 statistics: 23 kills, 33 aces, 0 blocks, 106 digs, 215 assists
Quietly, Crawford has molded herself into one of the area’s best players. While the Cavaliers have had their ups and downs, Crawford has always seemed to guide the ship back to safety. She finished with 215 assists last season in just 18 matches and will look to capitalize on her opportunities as one of the program’s few veterans this fall. Look for big things from Crawford.
25. Sierra Kendall, North Adams
2020 statistics: 32 kills, 64 aces, 21 blocks, 305 digs, 614 assists
There isn’t much Kendall can’t do on the volleyball court. She’s shown that throughout a successful career at North Adams. While the Green Devils will have to fill some holes this season, Kendall is the unquestioned leader of the team. She enters her final year at 2,047 career assists alongside 906 digs. If there’s one constant in NA’s locker room, it’s Kendall.
24. Lyndsay Heimbach, Wheelersburg
2020 statistics: 57 kills, 41 aces, 19 blocks, 161 digs, 55 assists
If you’re looking for the ultimate teammate or a player that a team can literally rally around, it’s Heimbach. She brings an unrivaled energy and fire to the Pirates’ bench each night. But she’s also pretty talented while in the lineup. You can expect her numbers to rise as she gets ample opportunities to swing. The more Wheelersburg looks for her, the better off the Pirates will be.
23. Harmony Henneberger, Huntington
2020 statistics: 1 kill, 20 aces, 0 blocks, 379 digs, 30 assists
If you’re starting a team from scratch, you’ve got to have a player like Henneberger on your roster. The libero has always played with grit while leading Huntington’s offense to success. Over the past three seasons, Huntington has won 49 games. That isn’t by coincidence. It’s because of players like Henneberger who bring their lunch pails to work every evening.
22. Lacy Ward, Vinton County
2020 statistics: 293 kills, 51 aces, 8 blocks, 145 digs, 2 assists
On a roster jam-packed with talent, Ward stood out. And that’s saying something. While the Vikings won 21 games and finished 11-1 in conference action, Ward helped the offense tremendously by posting 293 kills and 51 assists. Anyone will tell you that Vinton County has a chance to do some special things this season. Ward is one of the biggest reasons why.
21. Emily Allen, Zane Trace
2020 statistics: 129 kills, 0 aces, 116 blocks, 77 digs, 10 assists
Allen is a different breed in the middle. And that breed is labeled ridiculous. If you haven’t seen her play, she’s well worth the price of admission. She’s fiery, she’s energetic and she’s always looking to dismantle an opposing defense. When the Pioneers need a lift, mentally or physically, she’s there to lend a hand. In her last go-around, she’s poised for a huge senior season.