Gwen Sparks
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Derrick Webb

Derrick is SOSA's chief content coordinator and has worked for the Chillicothe Gazette, the Portsmouth Daily Times and Eleven Warriors. He's a 13-time award-winning journalist, a self-proclaimed baseball purist, a suffering Bengals fan and has never met a stranger.

Ranking the Area’s Top 30 Volleyball Players: 20-11

We take a look at the area's top 30 volleyball players, continuing with numbers 20-11.

Derrick Webb, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

If you remember last season — and how could you forget — the area’s volleyball scene provided plenty of drama and an abundance of success as usual.

Waverly’s Hallie Oyer (10) reacts to a kill during the Tigers’ district semifinal match last fall.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

Between the SVC, SOC, FAC, SHAC, OVC and MSL-Buckeye, the six conferences within SOSA’s coverage reach, three different programs earned district titles.

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, for the fourth straight year, 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.

20. Hallie Oyer, Senior, Waverly

2022 statistics: 186 kills, 29 aces, 96 blocks, 118 digs, 10 assists

Waverly seemed to take a huge step forward as a program last fall, winning its first sectional title since 2012. Oyer was a huge reason why. The junior posted 186 kills, 96 blocks and 118 digs, and proved herself to be a needed part of the Tigers’ game plan. This year, it’s her team to lead.

19. Jobey Hattan, Junior, Fairfield

2022 statistics: 275 kills, 43 aces, 8 blocks, 365 digs, 17 assists

There aren’t many things Hattan isn’t good at. She led the Lions to a share of the SHAC title as a sophomore, tallying 275 kills and 365 digs along the way, and looks to repeat that feat this coming year. If there’s an early SHAC POY candidate list, she’s near the top of that group.

18. Avery Cox, Senior, Chillicothe

2022 statistics: 60 kills, 33 aces, 15 blocks, 146 digs, 328 assists

Versatility should be her middle name. Whenever the Cavaliers needed a spark, Cox provided it last year while keeping them competitive in the FAC. She stuffed the stat sheet on a nightly basis, proving her ability to affect the game in multiple fashions. She’s got one last go-around.

17. Katelynn Boerger, Junior, North Adams

2022 statistics: 204 kills, 91 aces, 78 blocks, 275 digs, 22 assists

The Devils were a real threat in the district tourney and Boerger was central to that charge. She tallied 204 kills, 91 aces, 78 blocks and 275 digs during a banner season that showed her to be a true elite player in Southern Ohio. She’ll look for more of the same during her junior year.

16. Gwen Sparks, Senior, Notre Dame

2022 statistics: 178 kills, 22 aces, 78 blocks, 111 digs, 14 assists

Imagine trying to hit past Sparks, the Titans’ 6-foot-2 middle hitter who imposes her will on a nightly basis. Yeah, no thank you. Sparks was again dominant as a junior, posting 178 kills, 78 blocks and 111 digs. Those numbers led ND to a 21-5 mark. Not much will change in 2023.

15. Sky Zimmerman, Senior, South Webster

2022 statistics: 207 kills, 44 aces, 7 blocks, 352 digs, 43 assists

To put it simply, SW’s incoming senior class has been, and is, nothing but special. Zimmerman is a key part of that group, helping the Jeeps excel year-round. Last season, her 207 kills and 352 digs helped the Jeeps win a district title. There’s no reason a repeat can’t happen.

14. Kaci Carroll, Huntington

2022 statistics: 281 kills, 28 aces, 11 blocks, 264 digs, 9 assists

Carroll really came into her own last season, showing glimpses of just how special she can be. Her 281 kills led the team while her 264 digs ranked second and provided a huge boost defensively. She’s now poised to become one of the premier players in a premier conference.

Adena’s Eva Kruger will look to lead the Warriors back to a conference title this season.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

13. Eva Kruger, Adena

2022 statistics: 89 kills, 40 aces, 12 blocks, 263 digs, 9 assists

First things first … Kruger can jump out of the gym. Her athleticism carried her to a breakout season last fall for a team that finished 24-3 alongside an Elite 8 appearance. If you’re looking for players that have the ability to take over a game, Kruger is a great option. She’s special.

12. Jade Stewart, Unioto

2022 statistics: 257 kills, 53 aces, 22 blocks, 160 digs, 5 assists

When the Shermans needed a ball to hit the floor, they drew up a play for Stewart. The sophomore posted 257 kills, 53 aces and 160 digs for a team that, somewhat surprisingly, reached a district final. All eyes are on her as she enters what she hopes to be a monster year.

11. Abbie Marshall, Unioto

2022 statistics: 160 kills, 36 aces, 32 blocks, 318 digs, 380 assists

Two years ago, the Shermans were 10-13. Last season, they finished 19-6. The difference? Well, for starters, Marshall was on their roster. Her 160 kills, 36 aces, 318 digs and 380 assists proved her versatility and she always seemed to come up big in clutch situations. She’ll have more of the same impact for a team that looks to turn the corner this fall.

SPONSORED BY SHANE MAIER — STATE FARM INSURANCE

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