Bella Claxon
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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: 10-1

We take a look at the area's top 30 volleyball players, continuing with numbers 10-1.

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.

Unioto’s Ella Cutright posted 237 kills and 52 aces during her junior year.
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.

10. J’Lynn Risner, Junior, Rock Hill

2022 statistics: 348 kills, 15 aces, 55 blocks, 233 digs, 8 assists

As a team, Rock Hill had 754 kills last season. Risner had 348 herself, or 46.2 percent of the total. That’s absurd. She also led the team with her 233 digs, giving Redwomen fans hope for the team’s immediate future. She’s dynamic, noteworthy, and, undoubtedly, fun to watch.

9. Bree Hicks, Junior, Notre Dame

2022 statistics: 277 kills, 91 aces, 18 blocks, 353 digs, 20 assists

Hicks was one of three SOC I Player of the Year honorees last fall. There’s a good reason why. Her 277 kills and 91 aces were both team-highs and her 353 digs ranked second for the 21-win Titans. Hicks should be in the conversation for early District POY candidates. She’s that good.

8. Ella Cutright, Unioto

2022 statistics: 237 kills, 52 aces, 24 blocks, 161 digs, 17 assists

In the clutch moments, with the game on the line, Cutright delivers. It’s that simple. She was the catalyst on a team that won 19 games last fall while forcing opponents to shape their game plans around her. She enters her senior year with 508 career kills, 59 aces and 80 blocks.

7. Gabby McConnell, Senior, Circleville

2022 statistics: 261 kills, 22 aces, 6 blocks, 217 digs, 448 assists

For three seasons, McConnell has been underrated. And throughout those three seasons, she’s pummeled her competition. As a junior, she added 448 assists to her total — making it 1,027 for her career — while also posting 261 kills, helping the Tigers win 20 matches. She’s legit, legit.

6. Chloe Lehman, Senior, Nelsonville-York

2022 statistics: 314 kills, 3 aces, 27 blocks, 63 digs, 5 assists

If there was ever a team to beat in a conference, it’s Nelsonville in the TVC-Ohio. The main reason, and main event if you would, is Lehman. In 640 attempts, Lehman powered down 314 kills, producing a kill percentage of .355. That’s ridiculous. She’ll be the ring leader once again.

5. Jozy Lougheed, Southeastern

2022 statistics: 311 kills, 34 aces, 5 blocks, 307 digs, 203 assists

Possibly the SVC’s most underrated rising star is none other than Lougheed. She showed up and showed out last fall, leading the Panthers’ offense with 311 kills while anchoring the defense with 307 digs. She added 203 assists for good measure. She does everything and does it well.

4. Claire King, Sophomore, Logan Elm

2022 statistics: 308 kills, 40 aces, 64 blocks, 206 digs, 15 assists

Talk about a freshman year to remember. King posted numbers in her first varsity season that some players never reach. She led the Braves in kills, aces and blocks, and constantly created havoc at the net. She’s only going to get better … a scary thought for the rest of the MSL. 

Adena’s Grace Townsend logged 827 assists and 204 digs last season, helping Adena win 24 games.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

3. Grace Townsend, Adena

2022 statistics: 36 kills, 33 aces, 22 blocks, 204 digs, 827 assists

The success Adena has had on the volleyball court is no secret. One constant has always been an elite setter. Townsend fits that role perfectly. She made a name for herself with 827 assists and 204 digs while leading the Warriors to a 24-win season. She’s as good as they come.

2. Christian Thompson, Junior, Fairfield Union

2022 statistics: 366 kills, 23 aces, 34 blocks, 329 digs, 19 assists

Explosive. Athletic. Nearly unstoppable. You get the point. Thompson is barely human on the volleyball court and you can take her 366 kills and 329 digs, as a sophomore, as proof. Fairfield Union will lean on their star-studded hitter to lead them into 2023. She’ll rise to the challenge.

1. Bella Claxon, South Webster

2022 statistics: 193 kills, 94 aces, 23 blocks, 273 digs, 799 assists

Claxon could never play another serve and still be inducted into South Webster’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Through three seasons, Claxon has amassed 478 kills, 188 aces, 693 digs and 2,033 assists. The Jeeps during that time? 71-7 overall and 45-2 in the SOC II. Build the statue.


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