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Fueled by depth, Byron Nelson volleyball earns No. 4 spot in JWS rankings

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The Byron Nelson volleyball team poses with its trophy after winning the Texas Showdown Tournament last month. (Photo courtesy of @BnvbClub on Twitter)

The key for Byron Nelson is simple: depth. The Bobcats have it everywhere.

Their top three attackers all have 246 kills or more, and on the defensive side, they have three players with more than 200 digs. Some high schools rely on just one setter, but Byron Nelson rolls out two with 373 assists or more.

The numbers are eye-popping, right down to the 26-1 record, and this type of excellence is nothing new for the Bobcats — three years ago, they went 50-2, beating teams from Hawaii and California on their way to winning a state championship.

After a 19-20 campaign last season, the addition of freshman Kylie Kleckner and her team-leading 263 kills has given Bryon Nelson another option in the attack, with senior Samantha Hoppes and sophomore Sydnee Peterson contributing 250 and 246 kills, respectively.

Kleckner and Peterson, both outside hitters, chip in defensively with 215 and 207 digs, respectively. Senior Campbell Love leads the way with 286 digs.

Setters Anna Koster and Keatyn Rodgers key the attack with 443 and 373 assists, respectively.

Thanks to those varied contributions, Byron Nelson has risen two spots to No. 4 in this week’s Just Women’s Sports volleyball team rankings, and the team hopes to keep clicking on all cylinders with district play beginning Friday.

Check out the complete rankings below, and click here to see last week’s rankings.

1. Cathedral Catholic (Calif.), 11-0

The Dons haven’t dropped a set this season, winning the Kamehameha Volleyball Tournament this past weekend in Hawaii.

2. Bloomfield Hills Marian (Mich.), 16-0

The Mustangs have won 69 of their last 70 matches and are seeking a third consecutive state championship.

3. Wayzata (Minn.), 4-0

The Trojans continue to dominate their opposition and are approaching 60 consecutive wins.

4. Byron Nelson (Texas), 26-1

The Bobcats have a chance to avenge their sole loss of the season Friday when they face Southlake Carroll.

5. Blue Valley North (Kan.), 6-0

Down 21-16 in the decisive third set, Blue Valley North rallied to win 18-25, 25-22, 25-23 on Tuesday to maintain an unbeaten start to its season.

6. Westminster Christian (Fla.), 9-0

The Warriors have advanced to three consecutive Class 3A state championship matches, losing each time. They hope this year will be different and received a major confidence boost this past weekend, beating No. 10 Cornerstone Christian to win a national tournament.

7. Dike-New Hartford (Iowa), 16-1

It’s tough to stop the Wolverines’ 1-2 punch of twins Payton and Jaydn Peterson, who have 254 kills between them. They also have Madelyn Norton, whose 319 assists is second in the state.

8. Prestonwood Christian (Texas), 23-1

The youthful Lions have sophomores leading the team in kills (Macaria Spears, 230) and digs (Gillian Pitts, 265) and a junior leading in assists (Camille Edwards, 309).

9. McCutcheon (Ind.), 11-1

Senior Chloe Chicoine, the No. 2 recruit in the JWS volleyball high school player rankings, is averaging 6.2 kills per set on a .394 hitting percentage. Her 155 kills have helped the Mavericks bounce back from an early-season loss.

10. Cornerstone Christian (Texas), 37-2

The Warriors knocked off No. 16 Santa Fe to advance to the championship of a national tournament in Florida but were unable to take first, falling to Westminster Christian out of Miami.

11. Cleveland (Tenn.), 23-1

Sisters Addison Hurst and Lauren Hurst are first and second, respectively, in kills and digs for the Blue Raiders. Addison, a senior, has 288 kills and 169 digs, while Lauren, a sophomore, has 241 kills and 145 digs.

12. Assumption (Ky.), 11-0

The Rockets have put together a demanding schedule against top in-state and national competition, and it only gets tougher with a matchup against perennial California power Mater Dei next week.

13. Highland Park (Texas), 25-2

The Scots have bounced back from a loss to Prestonwood Christian with three consecutive sweeps.

14. Tompkins (Texas), 23-3

Cindy Tchouangwa is nearing 300 kills on the season with more than a month of regular-season play remaining.

15. Mira Costa (Calif.), 10-2

The Mustangs picked up a big win over reigning state champions Marymount.

16. Santa Fe (Fla.), 9-1

The Raiders fell to Cornerstone Christian but otherwise acquitted themselves nicely, winning six of seven matches in a highly competitive tournament atmosphere.

17. Fayetteville (Ark.), 4-0

Brooke Rockwell is averaging over 4.5 kills per set as the Bulldogs remain unblemished. They haven’t dropped a single set through their first four matches.

18. St. James Academy (Kan.), 6-0

At one point last decade, St. James had won nine state titles in the last 11 seasons. Now, the Thunder are looking to win their first championship since 2018.

19. North Allegheny (Pa.), 3-0

The five-time defending state champions have picked up right where they left off, defeating last year’s state semifinalists Shaler in straight sets Tuesday to improve to 3-0.

20. Alpharetta (Ga.), 20-3

The Raiders are fueled by a balanced attack of three players with more than 100 kills.

21. Conroe (Texas), 33-1

The Tigers bounced back from a straight-set loss to The Woodlands with a sweep on Tuesday.

22. Mother McAuley (Ill.), 8-0

The Mighty Macs enjoyed a week of rest before tournament play this weekend.

23. Skutt Catholic (Neb.), 9-3

The Skyhawks tested themselves against top competition this past weekend and came out looking rosy, beating previously-ranked Buford and Bishop Gorman.

24. Sierra Canyon (Calif.), 14-2

The Trailblazers suffered a four-set loss Saturday but bounced back by sweeping Marymount.

25. Marymount (Calif.), 4-2

The Sailors have hit a rough patch, losing consecutive matches for the first time in nearly three years.

Phillip Suitts is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. He has worked at a variety of outlets, including The Palm Beach Post and Southeast Missourian, and done a little bit of everything from reporting to editing to running social media accounts. He was born in Atlanta but currently lives in wintry Philadelphia. Follow Phillip on Twitter @PhillipSuitts.