Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — 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 and SHAC, the four conferences within SOSA’s coverage area, three different programs earned district titles before Wheelersburg represented the Southeast District in a Division III state semifinal.
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.
10. Hannah Lougheed, Southeastern
220 kills, 61 aces, 22 blocks, 301 digs, 111 assists
Lougheed is Southeastern’s next great volleyball talent. Her numbers from the first two seasons of her career tells you that. In those two years, she’s totaled 320 kills, 113 aces and 409 digs. Last season, she was forced to share sets with Skylar Hice. This year, as one of the top juniors in a loaded Scioto Valley Conference, she’ll be the top option for the Panthers’ offense. That can only spell good things for first-year, and veteran, coach Lori Koker.
9. Claire Dettwiller, Notre Dame
224 kills, 11 aces, 34 blocks, 89 digs, 5 assists
At the net, Dettwiller is one of the most feared hitters in Southern Ohio. It’s as simple as that. The senior has a real shot at being the SOC I’s Player of the Year. Last season, Dettwiller’s 224 kills led a team that finished 22-4 overall and undefeated in the conference. She also posted a 39.3 kill percentage and a .307 hitting percentage, by far top marks for the Titans. Notre Dame is the team to beat in the SOC I and Dettwiller is the main reason as to why.
8. Camryn Carroll, Adena
1 kill, 41 aces, 0 blocks, 417 digs, 7 assists
Carroll has volleyball in her blood. Following in her sister’s footsteps, she’s quickly become Adena’s next elite libero. As a sophomore, she led the team in digs with 417, or 16 per match, and made just 49 dig errors throughout 83 sets. She also had just 25 reception errors in 441 attempts, further cementing herself as one of the league and area’s best defenders. Now a junior, Carroll will be at the center of a talented Adena defense.
7. Allison Basye, Unioto
437 kills, 42 aces, 37 blocks, 275 digs, 11 assists
Basye’s athleticism alone puts her in the top ten. The 5-foot-11 middle posted a team-high 437 kills last season, leading Huntington to a regional semifinal appearance. 20 of Basye’s 37 blocks were of the solo variety and she routinely spoiled opponents’ offensive game plans at the net. Now, in a new uniform and a set of new teammates, she’ll have to make necessary adjustments. We’re sure that’ll happen rather quickly and Basye will return to her normal self.
6. Alli Bennett, Zane Trace
247 kills, 34 aces, 13 blocks, 354 digs, 311 assists
If you’re looking for a player who can do it all, look no further than Alli Bennett. Offense, defense, you name it, Bennett has the skill set. She was the Pioneers’ leader in kills and a main reason why ZT finished with 15 wins and reached a district championship game. She’s as versatile as they come, an early Player of the Year candidate in the SVC and will enter her senior year with 498 career kills, 76 aces, 808 digs and 578 assists.
5. Ellie Harper, Adena
267 kills, 10 aces, 21 blocks, 79 digs, 52 assists
In 2019, the Warriors had plenty of young talent. Make no mistake about it, Harper was at the top of that list. She led the team in kills and posted a 36.3 kill percentage, the highest of any player on the team with at least 75 kills. Put simply, there was a good chance Harper was finding an open spot on the floor if she had the chance to take a swing. Adena won 18 games last season and its first district title since 2016 last fall. Look for more of the same in 2020.
4. Megan Steele, Huntington
388 kills, 42 aces, 7 blocks, 323 digs, 16 assists
Standing in at 5-foot-6, Steele may not look like your typical outside hitter. But watch her take just one swing on a ball and you’ll know she’s no joke. After getting her feet wet as a freshman, Steele emerged as one of the SVC’s best players as a sophomore. She led Huntington to a district title, the team’s first since 2016, logging 70 kills and 50 digs in the postseason alone. She’ll be Huntington’s go-to scorer this season as well as one of the team’s defensive players.
3. Faith Maloney, South Webster
391 kills, 71 aces, 76 blocks, 228 digs, 12 assists
South Webster has a chance to find itself at the state tournament this season with Maloney leading the charge. She’s just as dangerous at the net as she is at the serving line, evidenced by her 71 aces. Maloney helped the Jeeps claim a district title, their first since 2016, and paced her team to five sets in its regional semifinal loss to Shenandoah. With a completely reloaded roster in 2020, Maloney and company have every aspiration in the world to make a deep run.
2. Kristin Phillips, Westfall
402 kills, 38 aces, 71 blocks, 200 digs, 21 assists
Phillips was an absolute juggernaut in 2019, claiming SVC Player of the Year, all-district and All-Ohio honors, while logging her 1,000th career kill. The junior led her team in kills, by nearly 200, and made a habit of swinging with an authority early on. Her efforts helped Westfall win 20 matches, claim its first conference title since 2013 and advance to a district championship game. Pound for pound, she was the SVC’s best player last season and will be again in 2020.
1. Kylee Barney, Wheelersburg
260 kills, 1 ace, 108 blocks, 16 digs, 7 assists
There’s not much to say about Barney that hasn’t already been said. She led the Pirates in kills, set a new school record for single-season blocks and proved she belonged on the floor in the team’s Division III state semifinal match against Independence. She had a pristine 52.1 kill percentage alongside a .415 hitting percentage while averaging 3.2 kills and 1.3 blocks per set. Barney will enter her senior year as not only Wheelersburg’s top talent, but as one of the clear-cut best players in the region.