This year’s Top 25 Volleyball list will look much different from last year.
1. Payton Husson, Marysville:Husson is a natural choice for the top spot on this list. At 6-foot-4 she is an imposing middle hitter who seems to get better by the day. She recorded a career high 20 kills against Port Huron Northern in the last week, and with her leading the way the Vikings have a shot to compete with the best teams in the state.
The top nine players from last year all graduated and with those players now gone, a new group of talented players have filled the void.
With that in mind, let’s take a list at the Top 25 volleyball players in the Blue Water Area. This list has no bearing on end of the season awards, including the Times Herald Player of the Year honor.
(If you are on a mobile device and can’t see the poll, click here: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2363439/Rank-the-Top-25-Volleyball-Players )
1. Payton Husson, Marysville: Husson is a natural choice for the top spot on this list. At 6-foot-4 she is an imposing middle hitter who seems to get better by the day. She recorded a career high 20 kills against Port Huron Northern in the last week, and with her leading the way the Vikings have a shot to compete with the best teams in the state.
2. Brittany Goodwin, Port Huron: The Big Reds are not having the season they hoped for, but Goodwin has still found a way to dominate the court. Goodwin is explosive, clutch and never seems to miss an opportunity to record a kill. The Big Reds outside hitter has been a big bright spot for the Big Reds and continues to improve.
3. Devan Valko, Marysville: With Valko, a setter, and Husson teaming together, the Vikings have a great one-two scoring punch. Valko came on strong last season and has continued to develop this season as an all-around player. The Vikings are clearly the cream of the crop in the Blue Water Area and that in large part is due to Valko, who gets the Marysville machine rolling.
4. Alexia Mason, Brown City: Mason is the second setter on this list and according to opposing coaches, she could very well end up being the best player in the area. Coaches rave about her ability and despite losing several key players, Brown City has continued to thrive with Mason setting up her teammates for success.
5. Calista Chaltron, Cardinal Mooney: If you were to describe Chaltron in a single word, it would simply be explosive. Chaltron can leap out of the gym and when she goes up for a kill, opponents mostly move out of the way. She took off last year for the Cardinals and will likely be their go-to player heading into postseason play.
6. Bailey Bowns, Marysville: No your eyes aren’t deceiving you, a third Vikings volleyball player has found their way onto the list. Bowns has been underrated because of the talent surrounding her, but she is a key player in the Vikings success. With her ability on the outside and Husson working on the inside, Marysville is an extremely tough team to match up against.
7. Taelor Frank, Marine City: Frank has made it all of the way back from a soccer injury last year and she appears to be better than ever. She has taken on an increased leadership role with the Mariners and has willed the team to several wins. Frank, who is an outside hitter and captain, has been a four-year varsity player and plays all the way around.
8. Kelsey Gustafson, Armada: The Tigers have lost a lot of talent in the past two years, but Gustafson has helped stem the tide. She is arguably the top player in the Blue Water Area Conference and has an impressive mix of size and athleticism to anchor the Tigers offense. As a middle hitter, she has been known to take over games and also has the flexibility to play on the outside.
9. Brooke Bowerman, Port Huron Northern: The Huskies have been up and down this season but Bowerman has remained consistent. As the Huskies setter, she helps start the play and has also developed well as a defender and all-around player. Not only is Bowerman a great passer, she is also a threat for a kill on any play.
10. Becki Krause, Brown City: As an outside hitter, Krause has become Brown City’s go-to player when the team needs a point. She also has become a consistent back row player. In only her junior year, she has quickly become a team leader and continues to progress each time she steps onto the court.
11. Anna Vorderbrueggen, Cardinal Mooney: The Cardinals middle hitter is an imposing force. But when paired with the aforementioned Chaltron, the one-two punch presents a difficult challenge for opponents. The Cardinals already have several impressive wins and should be headed to several more with Chaltron and Vorderbrueggen leading the way.
12. Hannah Delor, Marysville: Just a sophomore, Delor is already known for being one of the best servers in the area. She leads the Vikings in aces and in addition, she is a threat on every play as an outside attacker. It’s easy to see why the Vikings are so dominant with so much versatility in their lineup.
13. Brooke Mahn, St. Clair: Mahn has been the Saints go-to hitter nearly every game and has developed into a force as a middle hitter. She has also improved defensively and is about to position herself for blocks. With Mahn dominating the court, the Saints have taken a step forward this season and appear to be improving quickly.
14. Mikayla Morgan, Marysville: With the Vikings flush with offensive players, it would be easy to overlook its defense. But Morgan has helped pace the Vikings defensive efforts from her libero position. Her consistency has enabled the Vikings to take another step forward this season and her play will be key entering the stretch run.
15. Lexie Davidson, Croswell-Lexington: The Pioneers sophomore displays ability well beyond her years. She is leading the team in kills, is second in efficiency and aces and has become a big part of the Pioneers serve receive. She has also shown impressive versatility, playing the inside and outside and will be a player to watch in the years to come.
16. Paige Tranchida, Marine City: The Mariners junior middle hitter has really come on strong in recent weeks. In three league matches, she has averaged more than 10 blocks per match and set a school record with 17 blocks in a match earlier this season. Tranchida is quickly developing into a force at the net.
17. Megan Kreger, Memphis: Kreger is quickly developing into a force as a middle hitter for the Yellowjackets. She has great feet and that allows her to be in position to make a host of plays. She has remained a consistent cog in the lineup as Memphis continues to build its program.
18. Allessa Calamita, Croswell-Lexington: The Pioneers senior outside hitter has showed her versatility by also playing defensive specialist and libero in the past. She has now moved to the outside where her athleticism and jumping ability instantly flash. She also leads the team in serve receptions and service points while being second in digs.
19. Jasmin Bender, Brown City: The junior libero has helped solidify Brown City’s defense and is known for her consistency. She has also developed into a vocal leader that displays great hands and instincts.
20. Sami Klink, Port Huron Northern: The Huskies sophomore is already ahead of the curve. She is very skilled offensively and stays in attack mode. She is already playing all the way around for Northern and is vastly improved in serve receive.
21. Lilly Wolf, Cardinal Mooney: The Cardinals junior setter has been a three year varsity player that also has the ability to score points for the team. She is one of the best servers in the area and has been a great compliment to Chaltron and Vorderbrueggen
22. Ruthie Polio, Marine City: The Mariners libero has become one of the best in the area. She is above average in serve receive and uses her quickness to be in position to make a play on the ball. Her defense has helped solidify the Mariners and has already helped them take a big step forward in league play.
23. Hope Meyers, St. Clair: Meyers has become an all around player for the Saints and has shown impressive ability as an outside hitter. She has teamed with Mahn to give the Saints solid play in the middle and the outside.
24. Rachel Soper, Cros-Lex: The senior setter has helped the Pioneers run smoothly. She has also improved defensively and has been a consistent on the court leader for the team. With her leading the way, the Pioneers could surprise this postseason.
25. Jullian Rusch, Port Huron Northern: The Huskies senior libero is never afraid to dive for a ball or hit the floor. She stays in attack mode even on defense and is one of the reasons why Northern has remained competitive in the tough Macomb Area Conference Red Division.
Top 25 Volleyball Players
1. Payton Husson, Marysville
2. Brittany Goodwin, Port Huron
3. Devan Valko, Marysville
4. Alexia Mason, Brown City
5. Calista Chaltron, Cardinal Mooney
6. Bailey Bowns, Marysville
7. Taelor Frank, Marine City
8. Kelsey Gustafson, Armada
9. Brooke Bowerman, Port Huron Northern
10. Becki Krause, Brown City
11. Anna Vorderbrueggen, Cardinal Mooney
12. Hannah Delor, Marysville
13. Brooke Mahn, St. Clair
14. Mikayla Morgan, Marysville
15. Lexie Davidson, Croswell-Lexington
16. Paige Tranchida, Marine City
17. Megan Kreger, Memphis
18. Allessa Calamita, Croswell-Lexington
19. Jasmine Bender, Brown City
20. Sami Klink, Port Huron Northern
21. Lilly Wolf, Cardinal Mooney
22. Ruthie Polio, Marine City
23. Hope Meyers, St. Clair
24. Rachel Soper, Croswell-Lexington
25. Jillian Rusch, Port Huron Northern