We are less than two weeks away from the start of the 2013 volleyball season. Here are some of the area's top sophomores to keep an eye on this year.
Emma Brand, Glendale – It didn’t take long for Brand to establish herself amongst the area’s elite. I guess 278 kills, 293 assists, 219 digs and a modest 58 blocks will do that for ya. She’s just the latest big-time player in what seems like a factory for Coach Bates.
Aubrey Cheffey, Nixa – Cheffey was a force for a very strong Nixa team, leading them in kills (153) while also picking up 122 digs. Look for the 6-foot-2 outside hitter to have an even better sophomore campaign with a year of varsity experience under her belt.
Maria Chism, Carl Junction – There were no freshman jitters for Chism in 2012. The 5-foot-10 outside hitter was a threat no matter where she was on the court, leading the Lady Bulldogs in kills (235), while also picking up 303 digs, in helping lead CJ to a Big 8 title.
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Haley Gilpin, Buffalo – Gilpin wasted little time making her mark at Buffalo. She led the Bison with 188 kills, while finishing second in aces (47) and notching 230 digs. The 5-foot-7 outside hitter will see an even bigger role in 2013.
Kelsey Larsen, Glendale – There’s something in the water with this 2016 class at Glendale. Larsen was also able to come in and contribute in a big way for the Lady Falcons, dishing out 334 assists and digging up 223 balls. That year of experience and a great summer suggest she has more in store for 2013.
Jacqui Mostrom, Parkview – It’s all in the genes for the Mostroms. The younger Mostrom came on strong for Parkview, picking up 56 aces (19.8%) and a team-high 494 assists. Just like her big sister Gabi, Jacqui has also given a verbal commitment to Wichita State University.
Rachel Rippee, Kickapoo – Rachel Rippee couldn’t have been in a better place her freshman year. The 5-foot-11 outside hitter had a chance to learn from a pair of D-1 signees (Emily Thater-Missouri; Maris Below-Miami (Oh.)). Even then, Rippee was able to grab All-Ozark Conference honors behind 160 kills and 41% kill percentage.
Kendra Sater, Ozark – Few programs place expectations on freshman like Ozark, and Kendra Sater answered the call. With the loss of Caroline Clifford, Sater stepped up, finishing the season with 199 kills, 250 digs, and 404 assists. If Ozark is to make it to a fifth straight Final Four, Sater will have to continue to step up for the Lady tigers.
Jorden Stacey, Fair Grove – Stacey’s freshman year couldn’t have gone much better. Starting for a team that beat Rogersville for the first time in a decade, Stacey led Fair Grove with 50 aces (15%) and finished second on the team in assists with 327.