Feature photo: Ellie Monahan of Council Bluffs St Albert (Courtesy photo)
Editor’s Note: The statistics cited in this story were as of the first five weeks of the season through September 23.
By Bret Hayworth
Meet some of the top sophomores playing Iowa high school volleyball in 2022. Some were freshman phenoms last year, others have surged into the new role of key players on their teams this year, displaying high levels of skills of spiking, passing, setting, blocking and serving.
Anna Bendlage, Holy Trinity Catholic
Bendlage has 431 assists, which places her seventh among sophomore setters and 26th among players of all grades. Holy Trinity Catholic is a ranked Class 1A team.
Annalise Buxton, Burlington
At roughly the midpoint of the Burlington season, Buxton has 238 kills, for third most among tenth-graders. She also has 26 service aces.
Sophie Buysee, West Liberty
Buysee leads West Liberty with 177 kills as an outside hitter, and hits at .258 efficiency. She plays for a program that produced the Class 3A runner-up in 2021.
Jayci Graeve, South Central Calhoun
Graeve ranks at the very top among sophomore setters, with her 576 assists, which is also third overall among players of all grades.
Bella Gute, Fremont-Mills
The 268 digs Gute has dug up as a libero rank her second among sophomores, and also 15th among all preps in digs.
Abbey Hayes, North Scott
Hayes has already produced 202 kills to place sixth in that statistic among Iowa sophomores, and her hitting efficiency is .295 for a Class 4A North Scott team that is performing well,
Asta Hildebrand, Iowa City Liberty
Hildebrand is the setter for the highly ranked Class 5A Liberty team. She has 433 assists, and has the pleasure of setting up kills by All-Stater Cassidy Hartman.
Amelia Klenk, Hudson
Libero Klenk had 492 digs as a freshman, and is very productive again this year, 260, to rank third among sophomores in digs.
Avery Knoop, Union Community
Playing for the Class 3A team that only has one loss, Knoop has 462 assists, which places her fourth among the sophomores.
Jadyn Kuper, Moniccello
Kuper is a middle hitter/outside hitter whose 292 kills places her second among sophomores and sixth among all prep players. Kuper also hits at .314 efficiency.
Kirstyn Kolbet, West Delaware
Kolbet has 480 assists, which places her third among sophomores and 14th overall this season. Kolbet plays for a West Delaware program coming off a successful 2021 year that involved nabbing the Class 3A state title.
Azaria McDonough, Central Springs
McDonough has 426 assists, which places her eighth among sophomores and in the Top 30 among all players. Central Springs plays in the Top of Iowa East Conference, with a winning record.
Chloe Meester, Mount Vernon
A 6-2 outside hitter, Meester was a Class 3A All-Stater as a freshman. This year she leads Mount Vernon in kills with 169, and is hitting at the very high efficiency of .446.
Dakota Mitchell, Mid-Priairie
Playing libero, Mitchell had 463 digs as a freshman, which was the third most in 2021. This year she has 215 digs.
Ellie Monahan, Council Bluffs St. Albert
Monahan has 274 digs, which places her first among all sophomores, and 13th overall among all Iowa preps.
Aspen Nelson, Indianola
Nelson ranks seventh in the kills category among sophomores, with 187 and also hits at .325 efficiency for a ranked Class 4A Indianola team.
Kate Passmore, Linn-Mar
Passmore has rung up 230 kills for Linn-Mar, which places her fourth in that stat among sophomores. She also hits a very high percentage, with a .386 efficiency,
Addie Rhoades, Hudson
Rhoades is among two Hudson players on the sophomore list. She leads the Pirates team with 32 aces, and has 206 kills, which ranks her fifth among sophomores.
Ella Rogers, Dowling Catholic
Rogers is the setter for a highly-ranked Class 5A Dowling squad, Her 413 assists ranks ninth among sophomores and also has 59 digs.
Kate Schafer, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont
Schafer is a returning Class 2A All-Stater, and this year has 435 assists as a setter, plus an impressive 41 blocks.
Molly Schafer, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont
Schafer was a Class 2A all-state selection in 2021 and is excelling again in 2022. Playing for a top flight EBF team, she ranks fifth among all preps with 295 kills, playing from the outside hitter position.
Ellie Schubert, Assumption (Davenport)
Schubert has the second most assists for sophomore setters, with 549 assists for the highly-ranked Class 3A team.
Yasmine Sell, Solon
Sell has 118 blocks, which not only leads all sophomores in the blocks statistic, but she leads all Iowa players. Sell, a 5-9 middle hitter, also has put down 96 kills for Solon, a ranked Class 3A squad.
Trevyn Smith, AGWSR
Smith ranks in the Top 10 for sophomore setters with her 384 assists, and also has provided the AGWSR Cougars squad with 124 digs and 23 aces.
Katie Quick, Ankeny Christian
Quick was a Class 1A All-Stater as a freshman setter. This year she has 335 assists for the Eagles, who have only one loss..