West Valley Preps has selected the top volleyball players in the Northwest Valley for the 2020 season.
Note these positions may not be the exact role each player was in all season but it is a position they are listed for. With so many top notch outside hitters in the West Valley, there are three on each team.
The teams include:
OH — Eryn Jones, sophomore, Millennium
OH — Adna Mehmedovic, senior, Sunrise Mountain
OH — Aaliyah Moore, senior, Valley Vista
MB — Reagan Hope, senior, Northwest Christian
S — Bailey Fuches, senior, Deer Valley
L — Haven Wray, senior, Sunrise Mountain
OH — Jordan Miller, junior, Millennium
OH — McKenzie Wise, senior, Northwest Christian
OH — Kennedy Farley, senior, Centennial
MB — Rylie Henige, junior, Cactus
S — Molly Kipp, senior, Northwest Christian
L — Carsyn Schuch, senior, Deer Valley
Millennium senior outside hitter Jordan Miller (8) hammers a point past the defense of Cactus Shadows Howdy Hawkins (1) during the 5A state championship volleyball match on Saturday Nov. 21, 2020 at Mesquite High School in Gilbert. [Ralph Freso/For West Valley Preps]
OH — Emma Barber, junior, Estrella Foothills
OH — Nerin Valasakos, senior, Glendale Prep
OH — Kylie Davey, junior, Liberty
MB — Madison Girnius, senior, Mountain Ridge
S — Bianca Perez, junior, Millennium
L — Christina Lopez, senior, Ironwood
Underclassmen to watch: Cactus: Katelyn Beehler, Soph., S, Rylea Simonich, Soph., OH; Centennial: Kira Federico, Soph., L, Raeli Smith, Soph., MB; Deer Valley: Sam Gloria, Soph., OH; Amanda Hardt, Soph., MB; Estrella Foothills: Angelee Bawek, Soph., OH, Aubrey Goodere, Fr., MB; Glendale Prep: Radha Bhakta, Soph., L, Audrey Davis, Soph., MB; Ironwood: Victoria White, Fr., OH; Liberty: Alyssa Forelli, Fr., S/RS, Ellie Trimble, Fr., OH; Millennium: Olivia Pavelchik, Soph., MB; Mountain Ridge: Reese Holtorf, Soph., OH; Northwest Christian: Kierstyn Barton, Soph., OH; Paradise Honors: Briella Samaniego, Soph.., S, Vivianna Samaniego, Fr., OH; Peoria: Laila Al-Ridini, Soph., S, Britany Kogbara, Soph., MB; Shadow Ridge: Kobie Fowler, Fr., S, Addisyn Pohl, Fr., MB; Sunrise Mountain: Shelby Gorospe; Soph., MB, Emily Pruitt, Fr., MB; Valley Vista: Christina Lopez, So., L, Dafne Zamora, Soph., MB; Willow Canyon: Maddox Richmyre, Soph., L; Danielle Welker, Soph., OH.
Willow Canyon sophomore libero Maddox Richmyre sets a ball during an Oct. 27 game against Washington. [Courtesy Dysart Unified School District]
Eryn Jones, Millennium — This is a difficult award for a sophomore to win, and even more so for a sophomore playing the same position on the same team as the 2019 winner - Jordan Miller. Jones did not win this award because of a drop off by Miller, rather this fall Jones grew into one of the best players in the state. Jones led the 5A state champion Tigers in kills, aces and digs. She formed a dominant partnership with Miller, where they would alternate attacking from both rows in a mix that was nearly impossible to predict - or stop.
Reagan Hope, Northwest Christian — If the award was renamed "Most dominant player," Hope would be the choice. Though nominally a middle blocker, the soon-to-be Oregon Duck was a ruthlessly effective attacker. Her 282 kills ranked sixth in the state (regardless of class). Indeed, the only thing keeping her from the overall player of the year may have been 2020 itself. COVID-19 wiped out all Valley volleyball tournaments. Northwest Christian has made a habit of competing with - and beating - bigger schools. This time around we have no clue just how good the Crusaders, or their star, were.
Aliyah Moore, Valley Vista — Moore could not quite lift the Monsoon into the later stages of the 6A playoffs for the first time. But it was not for a lack of effort. Without another primary attacking threat, she more than doubled up her nearest teammate in kills. Moore also had more digs than Valley Vista's libero and managed to excel despite being the complete focus of opponents' strategies. She heads to Illinois STate as the new standard bearer for this young program.
Lisa Lopez, Ironwood: It appeared the Eagles had plateaued for much of this year. While Ironwood was no longer the 5A state title contender of the late 2000s and early 2010s, the last two seasons were a solid improvement after 18-loss campaigns in 2017 and 2018. The Eagles were at 4-4 in the Northwest Region and 7-6 overall with three non-league games left. Ironwood picked up solid wins over Paradise Valley and Cactus, then swept Marana Mountain View in the play-in round. That led into Ironwood's biggest win in eight years, as the 12th seed traveled to Tucson and stunned #5 Cienega, pulling the straight sets upset and reaching the first quarterfinal since 2012. It was a very different program then - top players were coming to Ironwood to play volleyball. Not to knock the abilities of Christina Lopez, Kaylee Logan, McKenna and McKenzie Omoruyi, Mallory Rich or Cori Vaquera, but that was by and large the case for the Class of 2021. Instead they worked and Lopez nurtured their natural abilities to the point that this breakthrough team may cause future, more established club players to come to Ironwood.
Julie Vastine, Millennium: This now seems like a yearly thing, for Vastine and her team, which is on the precipice of a 5A dynasty following its second title in three years. It looked like this would be a "plug and play" season for Vastine with seven rotation players likely to return from the 2019 runners up. Then 2020 happened. A key player decided not to play this year and starting libero Calli Johnson missed most of the regular season with an injury. Vastine shortened her rotation but increased the roles of libero Jocelyn Chaves Rivas, right side Anabella Blowers and middle blocker Olivia Pavelchik. By the end of the year, Millennium was playing seamlessly and largely blew out the 5A field en route to a second state title.
Jenna Hope, Northwest Christian: Speaking of dynasties, Hope successfully landed that plane this year as Northwest Christian once again laid waste to the 3A field. The dominant class of 2021, led by her daughter, Baylor-bound Kipp and GCU signee Wise, won its third straight state title without losing a set in the playoffs. Yes the Crusaders had a clear edge in talent and experience. But how many times have we seen a seemingly sure fire high school state champion lose focus and either be pushed to the limits by an inferior foe or even fall victim to upset? Hope deserves credit for getting the most out of this special group.