This is the third installment in our seven-part series that looks at how PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces have done over the years, using the rankings for Penn State’s incoming 2018 class as the focal point. We’re interested because PrepVolleyball.com, which just released it’s ranking of the 2018 recruiting classes, ranked Penn State’s 2018 recruiting class #1 in the country. (PrepVolleyball.com is a pay site, but well worth it, in our opinion).
PrepVolleyball.com’s annual Senior Ace list ranks the top 100 seniors (according to a poll of numerous college and club coaches) for that year.
Here’s a listing of Penn State’s seven 2018 Senior Aces:
- #3 — Kaitlyn Hord, 6-5 MB, Henry Clay HS, (Lexington, Kentucky);
- #5 — Serena Gray, 6-2 MB (Temple City, California);
- #14 – Jonni Parker, 6-0 S/OH, Miami East HS (Casstown, Ohio);
- #28 – Gabby Blossom, 5-10 S, St. Joseph’s Academy (St. Louis, Missouri);
- #31 – Jenna Hampton, 5-7 libero, Berkeley Prep (Tampa, Florida);
- #56 – Amanda Phegley, 6-4 MB, Berkeley Prep (Tampa, Florida); and
- #71 – Allyson Cathey, 6-1 OH, New Albany (Indiana).
For this third installment, we’re looking at the #31-ranked Senior Aces from 2007 through 2016 (Jenna Hampton, the incoming libero for Penn State, was ranked #31 in 2018).
Players Who Were Ranked #31 Senior Ace
2007: Jaclyn Hart, 6-1 S, Purdue
Jaclyn Hart ended her career at Purdue as a 3rd-Team AVCA All-America and unanimous All-Big Ten selection, having amassed 4,918 assists (#2 in Purdue history) and 307 block assists (#10 in Purdue history). She also recorded 818 digs and 533 kills — her .307 hitting % tied for #5 all-time for the Boilermakers.
2008: Kendall Bateman, 5-11 S, USC
During her career at USC, Kendall Bateman set the school record for career assists (4,510) and finished as a two-time All-American, earning 1st team AVCA All-America honors in 2011 (and being named 2011 Pac-12 Conference Setter of the Year) after recording 1,395 assists (12.03 assists/set) with 30 kills, 243 digs (2.09 digs/set) and 46 blocks (0.40 blocks/set).
2009: Kelley Arnold, 6-1 RS, Colorado
- As a senior, Kelly led the Bears with 3.51 kills/set (.257 hitting %), with 2.75 digs/set and 4.05 points/set, and was named to the Big Sky All-Conference team for the third consecutive year.
- Kelly was nothing short of dominant in her junior season (2012). She was named the 2011 Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player and a member of the Big Sky All-Conference First Team for the second-straight year. Her 3.88 kills/set led the conference, as did her 4.54 points/set.
- In her sophomore season (2010), Kelly led the Bears in kills (455), attacks (1072) and aces (28) and was named to the 2010 All-Big Sky Conference First Team and 2010 Big Sky Volleyball Championship All-Tournament Team and digs (274).
- As a freshman in 2009, Kelly ranked fifth on the team with 234 kills and third on the sqaud in kills per game (2.27) — even though injury kept her out of 26 of the Bears’ 129 games.
2010: Stephanie Holthus, 5-11 OH/Libero, Northwestern
- Stephanie Holthus ended her career as NU’s all-time kills leader with 1,797. She was named to the 2013 All-Big Ten Team — the third straight season in which she garnered that award. That season, Stephanie was one of only three active players in the NCAA with more than 3,000 combined kills and digs (3,105) She ranked sixth in NU history with 1,347 digs.
- In her junior season (2012) Stephanie was named to the AVCA All-America Third Team, after ranking third in the Big Ten with 4.27 kills per set and fourth in the league with 4.72 points per set.
- As a freshman, she started all 33 matches for Northwestern and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
2011: Lauren O’Conner, 6-5 OH, Kentucky
As a senior (2014), Lauren O’Conner was named to the All-SEC Team. She previously helped her team to three consecutive NCAA Tournament 2nd Round appearances. She had a good career, but my slacker staff was unable to come up with any of the specifics. Sorry Lauren, we tried.
2012: Taylor Morey, 5-6 Libero, Notre Dame/Wisconsin
- Taylor Morey started her career at Notre Dame, where she earned Big East Freshman of the Week awards on August 27, 2012 and November 5, 2012.
- In 2013, after transferring to Wisconsin, Taylor played in all 38 matches, starting two at left-side hitter and seven at defensive specialist. She also played libero for 13 matches. During that 2013 season, she averaged 2.65 digs per set.
- In 2014, Taylor played in all 34 matches and 116 sets at libero, leading the Big Ten and ranking 29th in the nation with 5.12 digs per set. She was named an AVCA 2nd Team All American in 2014, and to the All Big Ten team that same year.
- In 2015 Taylor played in all 33 matches and all 117 sets at libero, ranking fourth in the Big Ten with 4.49 digs per set and earning Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors.
2013: Ashley Mariani, 6-1 MB, Tennessee/Iowa
- Ashley transferred to Iowa after two seasons at Tennessee. As a senior, in 2016, she played in all 32 matches and was one of five Hawkeyes to appear in all 110 sets. She registered 221 kills for 2.01 kills/set, with 71 blocks.
- In 2015 Ashley led Iowas with 32 service aces and a 0.28 aces per set average.
- In her sophomore season at Tennessee (2014), Ashley played in all 32 matches with 29 starts. She ranked fourth on the team in kills (168), kills per set (1.75) and service aces (11).
- In her freshman season at Tennessee, Ashley started all 32 matches, totaling 292 kills (1st on the team), 121 digs, 44 blocks and five service aces.
2014: Holly Toliver, 6-2 RS, Michigan State
- In her senior season (2017), Holly was named Honorable Mention AVCA All-America and Honorable Mention All-Big Ten. Playing in 109 of 112 sets for the season, she averaged 2.99 kills, hit .243, recorded 2.25 digs and 0.55 blocks per set, and ranked second in the Big Ten and 34th nationally in service aces per set (0.41).
- In 2016, Holly was healthy for the first time in her collegiate career. She appeared in all 34 matches and playing in 116 of a possible 117 sets, ranking second in the Big Ten in aces/set (0.36). She averaged 1.95 digs/set (3rd on the team) and 1.32 kills/set.
- In 2015, Holly missed the first four matches of the season due to injury, but appeared in the next 29 matches, getting the start in 17 of the final 18 of the season. She averaged 2.48 kills/set #3 on the team), hit .200, and was #2 on the team with 35 service aces (ranking 1st in the Big Ten with 0.33 service aces/set.
- In her freshman season (2014), Holly was limited by injuries, appearing in only 12 matches.
2015: Sumeet Gill, 6-3 MB, Oregon
As a junior (2017), Sumeet played in 26 matches (23 starts), and 83 sets at middle blocker, finishing the season second on the team with 1.10 blocks/set. She averaged 1.11 kills/set, with a .301 hitting %. Sumeet played in 51 sets in her sophomore year (2016), hitting .248 with 0.94 kills/set and 0.61 blocks/set. Sumeet played in 21 matches as a freshman (2015), with 18 starts. She averaged 1.12 kills/set hitting .226 and ranked #2 on the team with 51 blocks.
2016: Michaela Keefe, 6-2 OH, Stanford
As a Redshirt Freshman (2017), Michaela started six matches at outside hitter, appearing in 43 sets, registering a career-high 15 kills versus then-#5 Penn State (Sept. 1). She played in 28 sets as a true freshman in 2016, before missing the remainder of the season due to injury, earning a medical hardship.
- Here’s a link to our first installment: http://www.dignittanyvolleyball.com/what-penn-state-might-be-getting-with-its-2018-senior-aces-71-allyson-cathey/
- Here’s a link to our second installment: http://www.dignittanyvolleyball.com/what-penn-state-might-be-getting-with-its-2018-senior-aces-56-amanda-phegley/
- Confetti, Regional Finals, 12-9-17 – Michigan State at Penn State, Photo by Steve Manuel.