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Nebraska recruits headline JWS’ volleyball high school player rankings

Harper Murray competes for Team USA against Italy in a semifinal of the U18 World Championship on Sept. 28, 2021, in Durango City, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of FIVB)

Nebraska has four players who have committed to its volleyball program in Just Women’s Sports’ inaugural volleyball high school player rankings, including three in the top five.

The Cornhuskers finished last season as runners-up to Wisconsin in the championship of the NCAA Tournament but are sure to have a loaded 2023 class. Texas also has four commitments featured in the rankings, while the Badgers have two.

Participants on the United States U19 team that won gold over the summer at the Pan American Cup were also well represented with eight players. Team USA opened the tournament with a scrimmage loss to Brazil before getting revenge in the final, 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-17).

“We got better over the course of the tournament,” U.S. coach Jamie Morrison said. “We talked about learning from each match and making sure we fixed any problems the next morning, and then we went into the next match. We continued to do that pretty perfectly.”

With the 2022 fall season set to begin, here are JWS’ top 25 high school volleyball players from around the country.

1 | Harper Murray, Skyline (Mich.), Sr.
6-foot-2 Outside Hitter
Committed to Nebraska

Murray was a dominant force on an Eagles team that finished 55-4-2 a year ago as runners-up in Division 1, recording a whopping 652 kills with a .430 hitting percentage. She also had 312 digs defensively to go along with 82 aces, 50 assists and 35 blocks. Murray also competed for Team USA at the U18 World Championship in 2021 and was a member of Team USA’s U19 gold-medal team at the Pan American Cup in July, where she earned Best Spiker honors.

2 | Chloe Chicoine, McCutcheon (Ind.), Sr.
5-10 Outside Hitter / Libero
Committed to Purdue

Prior to being named Indiana’s Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year, Chicoine guided the Mavericks to a 30-6 record and the Class 4A state crown. During the 2021 campaign, she notched 440 kills with a .420 hitting percentage and had 20 aces. Defensively, Chicoine finished with 196 digs. She was also a member of the Pan Am Cup team that won gold over the summer.

3 | Julia Blyashov, Cathedral Catholic (Calif.), Sr.
6-3 Outside Hitter
Committed to Stanford

Blyashov led the Dons to a 36-5 record and the regional finals of California’s Open Division tournament last season. She played just 40 sets for Cathedral Catholic but recorded 139 kills to go along with 82 digs and 15 aces. Blyashov was also a Team USA participant at both the U19 Pan Am Cup and the U18 World Championship.

4 | Caroline Jurevicius, Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (Ohio), Sr.
6-2 Rightside Hitter
Committed to Nebraska

The Lions went 15-8 in 2021, with Jurevicius racking up 279 kills in 58 sets played. She also had 128 digs defensively to go along with 43 aces and 37 blocks. Jurevicius later helped guide the Americans to a bronze medal at the U18 World Championship in Mexico.

5 | Bergen Reilly, O’Gorman (S.D.), Sr.
6-1 Setter
Committed to Nebraska

Behind Reilly’s versatile presence, the Knights were crowned back-to-back Class AA champions, finishing with a 23-4 record. She closed out the year with 393 assists to go along with 191 kills (.341 hitting percentage). She also had 174 digs, 43 aces and 29 blocks and went on to be named South Dakota’s Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year. Over the summer, Reilly was named MVP and Best Setter at the Pan Am Cup. She also competed at the U18 World Championship in 2021.

6 | Brooklyn DeLeye, Washburn Rural (Kan.), Sr.
6-1 Outside Hitter
Committed to Kentucky

DeLeye led the Blues with 586 kills and had 259 digs defensively. She also notched 133 aces and 38 assists, as Washburn Rural finished 41-2 on the year and was a state semifinalist. DeLey is a three-time all-state selection and is coming off a season in which she was named the Class 6A Player of the Year as well as Kansas Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year.

7 | Ella Swindle, Rock Bridge (Mo.), Sr.
6-2 Setter
Committed to Texas

Swindle powered the Bruins to the Class 5 semifinals and was named Missouri Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year. She finished the season with 690 assists and 173 digs to go along with 57 blocks and 36 aces. Offensively, she had 141 kills with a .494 hitting percentage.

8 | Kyndal Stowers, Guyver (Texas), Sr.
6-foot Outside Hitter
Committed to Baylor

With 493 kills, Stowers dominated from the outside for the Wildcats in 2021. She had a .317 hitting percentage and also contributed 497 digs defensively. She added 61 blocks and 27 aces for Guyver, which finished the season with a 21-11 mark.

9 | Jordyn Byrd, Cardinal Mooney (Fla.), Sr.
6-4 Rightside Hitter / Middle Blocker
Committed to Texas

The Cardinals were ousted in the regional quarterfinals in Class 3A, but that didn’t stop Byrd from posting eye-popping numbers in 2021. She was named Florida Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year after amassing 551 kills, 56 blocks and 25 aces. She also chipped in 258 digs on defense.

10 | Claire Little, Vista Murrieta (Calif.), Sr.
6-2 Outside Hitter
Committed to BYU

Behind Little’s play, the Broncos qualified for the CIF State Open Division for the first time in program history. She led Vista Murrieta with 442 kills and was second on the team in digs with 238. Little has been committed to BYU since the eighth grade.

11 | Skyler Pierce, Olathe Northwest (Kan.), Jr.
6-2 Outside Hitter
Committed to Nebraska

The top-ranked junior in these rankings, Pierce paced the Ravens with 425 kills a year ago. She also had 62 blocks and 38 aces while adding 345 digs defensively. Olathe Northwest finished the season with a 27-13 record.

12 | Ashley Mullen, Liberty (Mo.), Sr.
5-10 Setter
Committed to UCLA

The Blue Jays finished 26-5 last season, while Mullen recorded 1,094 assists. She added 179 digs on defense and had 54 kills offensively. Mullen also finished with 49 aces and 27 blocks.

13 | Laney Choboy, Leesville Road (N.C.), Sr.
5-3 Libero / Defensive Specialist
Committed to Minnesota

Choboy was named Best Receiver when Team USA won a gold medal at the U19 Pan Am Cup in July. She was also a member of the bronze-medal team at the U18 World Championship.

14 | Jordyn Harvey, Bountiful (Utah), Stanford, Sr.
6-2 Outside Hitter
Committed to Stanford

The RedHawks claimed the Class 5A state title, finishing with a 27-3 record. Harvey had 375 kills to go along with 63 aces and 20 blocks. Defensively, she notched 228 digs.

15 | Charlie Fuerbringer, Mira Costa (Calif.), Jr.
5-11 Setter
Committed to Wisconsin

Fuerbringer was selected to compete for Team USA at the Pan Am Cup but was forced to miss due to health concerns. The Mustangs went 28-9 on the season, with Fuerbringer contributing 140 digs in 30 sets played. She also had 56 kills (.352 hitting percentage), 30 aces and 37 blocks.

16 | Sydney Helmers, Assumption (Ky.), Sr.
6-3 Outside Hitter
Committed to Texas

The Rockets finished 30-6 on the year but were ousted in the region semifinals. She finished the season with 421 kills, 42 blocks and 92 digs.

17 | Eloise Brandewie, Bishop Hartley (Ohio), Sr.
6-3 Middle Blocker
Committed to Ohio State

Brandewie competed in just 49 sets but was third on her team with 171 kills, finishing 2021 with a .437 hitting percentage. She also had 65 blocks, 43 digs and 20 aces for the Hawks, who were 22-6 on the season. Brandewie was also a member of Team USA’s bronze-medal team at the U18 World Championship.

18 | Torrey Stafford, Marymount (Calif.), Sr.
6-1 Outside Hitter
Committed to Pittsburgh

Stafford helped guide the Sailers to a 35-0 record and the CIF State Open Division title. She recorded 320 kills on the year to go along with 55 blocks and 207 digs. Stafford was also a Team USA participant at the U19 Pan Am Cup in July.

19 | Saige Damrow, Howards Grove (Wisc.), Sr.
5-7 Libero / Defensive Specialist
Committed to Wisconsin

Damrow began receiving college offers in seventh grade and committed to the Badgers when she was an eighth grader. Last season, she guided the Tigers to a 43-5 record and the Division 3 state title, recording 496 digs along the way. She also contributed 300 kills and 83 aces on offense.

20 | Avery Jackson, Hockaday (Texas), Jr.
5-10 Outside Hitter
Commited to Stanford (Beach Volleyball)

Jackson and the Daisies went 31-7 a year ago, winning the Southwest Preparatory Conference title for the first time in 13 years. Jackson finished with 583 kills and had a .355 hitting percentage. She also contributed 525 digs defensively to go along with 62 aces and 38 blocks.

21 | Kennedy Wagner, Valparaiso (Ind.), Sr.
6-foot Outside Hitter
Committed to Ole Miss

Wagner hit .379 and had 432 kills for the Vikings, who finished 22-11 last fall. She chipped in 243 digs defensively to go along with 50 aces and 32 blocks.

22 | Carlie Cisneros, Liberty North (Mo.), Jr.
6-foot Outside Hitter
Committed to Arizona

Cisneros was a first-team all-state selection in 2021 for an Eagles team that went 32-4 before falling in the Class 5 quarterfinals. She led Liberty North with 389 kills on the season and added 306 digs on defense. Cisneros also recorded 32 aces and 30 blocks.

23 | Izzy Starck, Rampart (Colo.), Jr.
6-2 Setter
Committed to Penn State

A member of the Pan Am Cup team, Starck finished last season with 392 kills for the Rams, who concluded the year with a 21-6 mark. She hit .368 and had 85 aces and 50 blocks to go along with 410 assists and 257 digs.

24 | Nya Bunton, DuPont Manual (Ky.), Sr.
6-5 Middle Blocker
Committed to Texas

The Crimsons finished 22-13 in 2021, led by Bunton’s 388 kills. She also contributed 42 blocks, 38 aces and 168 digs defensively and was a gold medalist on the Pan Am Cup team in July.

25 | Alex Acevedo, Skyview (Idaho), Jr.
6-2 Outside Hitter
Committed to Oregon

Acevedo concluded her 2021 campaign with 466 kills and 376 digs for the Hawks, who were crowned Class 5A champions. A first-team all-state pick, Acevedo also had 52 aces on the year.

Trent Singer is the High School Editor at Just Women’s Sports. Follow him on Twitter @trentsinger.

Costa Rica Holds USWNT to 0-0 Draw in Frustrating Olympic Send-Off

USWNT midfielder Lindsey Horan dribbles the ball by Costa Rica forward Melissa Herrera and midfielder Gloriana Villalobos
The USWNT had 12 shots on goal on Tuesday despite failing to find the back of the net. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

The USWNT didn't quite get the going away party they were hoping for, settling for a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica on Tuesday in their final tune-up match before the 2024 Olympics kick off next week.

The US produced 26 shots — 12 on target — alongside 67 touches in the box, the most in any match where they failed to convert a single goal since at least 2015, per Opta. Yet they also faced a heroic performance from Costa Rica goalkeeper Noelia Bermúdez, who tallied 12 saves on the night.

USWNT starters remained mostly intact

After Saturday's win over Mexico, USWNT manager Emma Hayes opted for a very similar starting XI, only swapping Crystal Dunn in for Jenna Nighswonger due to load management.

Named starter Rose Lavelle was a late scratch from the lineup after team warmups, with US Soccer attributing her last-minute absence to "leg tightness." Lavelle was replaced by midfielder Korbin Albert, giving the US a slightly less aggressive attacking edge throughout the match.

Casey Krueger, Lynn Williams, Jaedyn Shaw, Emily Sonnett, and rookie Croix Bethune all got minutes in the second half, coming off the bench to contend with Washington, DC's brutally hot conditions.

USWNT forward Sophia Smith and Costa Rica midfielder Gloriana Villalobos battle for the ball
Costa Rica managed to fend off the USWNT with a strong defensive low-block. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY)

Costa Rica's low-block spelled trouble

"Listen, if you play a game of percentages or law of averages, we're creating more and more high-quality chances, and we're getting numbers into key areas — we're getting touches in the key areas," Hayes told reporters after the match, calling attention to Costa Rica's strong defensive low-block.

"The last part's the hardest part. And I'm really patient, because I've coached teams that have to break blocks down, and it's the hardest thing to do in coaching," she continued.

Hayes also noted the team's lack of training time under her management: The decorated coach officially joined the US in early June after finishing the WSL season with her previous club, league champs Chelsea FC.

USWNT pose for a picture after their send-off friendly against costa rica at Audi Field
The USWNT's Olympic group stage run kicks off on July 25th. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Where to watch the USWNT's Olympic games

Tuesday's draw is just the second time the USWNT has entered a major tournament off a non-win. Back in 2015, the US embarked on their legendary World Cup campaign after a 0-0 send-off draw with South Korea.

The next time the USWNT takes the pitch will be at the Paris Olympics, where they'll play Zambia on Thursday, July 25th at 3 PM ET. The match will be broadcast live on USA, with streaming options available on Peacock.

The Late Sub Podcast: This Is Sophia Smith’s USWNT Attack Now

Sophia Smith dribbles during the USWNT's 1-0 win over Mexico on Saturday.
Sophia Smith scored the lone goal in the USWNT's 1-0 win over Mexico last Saturday. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

This week, JWS podcast host Claire Watkins breaks down the days leading up to the first USWNT Olympic send-off friendly, discussing player performances, things that worked well on the pitch, and what still needs developing as coach Emma Hayes's team moves towards a crucial Olympic competition set to will dictate the future of the team.

She then sets her sights on the WNBA, previewing WNBA All-Star Weekend and chatting with Gatorade Women’s Basketball Player of the Year Joyce Edwards alongside Dallas Wings forward Satou Sabally.

Subscribe to The Late Sub to never miss an episode.

USWNT Looks to Extend Winning Streak in Final Olympic Send-Off

USWNT striker Sophia Smith dribbles through Costa Rican defenders during a 2022 Concacaf W Championship game.
The USWNT last took on Costa Rica at the 2022 Concacaf Championship semifinal. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

The USWNT’s last tune-up match before the Olympics has arrived, with the FIFA world No. 5 US looking for an 18th-straight all-time win over No. 44 Costa Rica tonight at Washington, DC's Audi Field.

Just three days after a redemptive 1-0 victory over No. 29 Mexico, head coach Emma Hayes’s Paris-bound roster appears to be finding its stride. Calling Saturday’s win "a step in the right direction," Hayes went on to say, "I think we’re only scratching the surface. I think there’s a lot of layers to go from everyone."

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 13: USWNT coach Emma Hayes stands on the field before a game between Mexico and USWNT
The new-look USWNT is looking to hit its stride after several matches under Hayes. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Hayes's USWNT is still finding its footing

With their first Olympic group stage game against No. 64 Zambia slated for July 25th, the new-look USWNT — which features the youngest roster in 16 years — is working to define its style of play.

While the USWNT’s signature ability to score in transition remains a strong point, the team also acknowledged their shaky first half on Saturday, with midfielder Rose Lavelle commenting that they're "working on being a little more tactically flexible... We’re trying to, as a group, learn how to adjust on the fly and be a little smarter with our adjustments during the games."

The patience required to choose their moments, along with the team’s ability to read and anticipate each other's movements, is clutch to increasing effectiveness in the areas where the USWNT appeared most disjointed against Mexico.

At stake is an Olympic podium finish, where the US hopes to improve on their bronze medal performance in Tokyo — but the team also aims to make a splash amidst their increasingly sophisticated opponents.

Costa Rica captain Raquel "Rocky" Rodriguez chases the ball during a match against Panama in 2020.
Raquel "Rocky" Rodriguez, Costa Rica's captain, is the only NWSL on their Olympic roster. (Omar Vega/Getty Images)

Rodriguez leads a rising Costa Rica team

If improving offensive unity and production is tonight’s goal, Las Ticas could provide the ideal matchup: In their 17 previous meetings, the USWNT has outscored Costa Rica 90-2 overall.

That said, Costa Rica has switched things up since the sides last met in July 2022, with the US defeating the Central American squad 3-0 in the Concacaf Championship semifinal. Las Ticas competed in the 2023 World Cup and reached the Gold Cup quarterfinals earlier this year, where they narrowly fell to No. 8 Canada in extra time.

Costa Rica is captained by 30-year-old Angel City midfielder Rocky Rodriguez, the lone NWSL player on their roster and, in 2015, the first Costa Rica national to ever score in a Women's World Cup.

In addition to maintaining a perfect record against Costa Rica, the USWNT will look to extend their current unbeaten streak to nine, which includes three shutouts in Hayes’s first three matches at the helm.

Lindsay Horan drinks water before the USWNT's match against Ireland in April 2023.
An excessive heat warning is in effect for Washington, DC today. (Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images)

Where to watch the USWNT vs. Costa Rica friendly

Expect some hydration breaks due to DC's scorching temperatures during tonight’s 7:30 PM ET match, airing live on TNT and streaming on Peacock.

TruTV and Max will simultaneously air the first-ever USWNT altcast, hosted by retired USWNT star Sam Mewis, former USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn, and Men in Blazers founder Roger Bennett.

Sizing Up USWNT’s 2024 Olympic Competition

Germany's Giulia Gwinn steps to the ball while Iceland's Sandra Jessen slides in during Friday's UEFA Women's EURO 2025 qualifying match.
Germany lost their Euros qualifier against Iceland 3-0 on Friday, less than two weeks before Olympic football begins. (Hulda Margret/Getty Images)

With Olympic soccer kicking off in just over a week, the USWNT isn't the only national squad prepping for the podium with a series of pre-Paris matchups. Both international friendlies and important qualifiers are on the docket, with several European teams competing for a spot in the UEFA Women's EURO 2025.

Regardless of the stakes, these performances might provide some insight into what the USWNT can expect once the Summer Games begin.

Czechia national soccer team celebrates as Spain women's national soccer team defender Laia Aleixandri leaves the pitch
FIFA World No. 1 Spain fell to Czechia on Friday in a 2025 Euros qualifier. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Pre-Olympic matches expose problems for top teams

Of the 12 Olympic teams, recent outings from FIFA world No. 1 Spain and No. 4 Germany featured the most shocking outcomes.

Despite dominating possession behind an opening goal from 2023 Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmatí, the 2023 World Cup winners fell 2-1 to No. 30 Czechia in Friday's Euros qualifier — their first loss of 2024. They managed to bounce back on Tuesday, however, beating Belgium 2-0 to finish out the league stage on top with 15 points.

Spain heads into the Summer Games aiming to become the first women’s team to win a World Cup and Olympic gold back-to-back, though they’ll need to reclaim their composure to achieve that feat in the face of an Olympic group that includes Japan, Nigeria, and Brazil.

France defender Sakina Karchaoui celebrates her opening goal during Friday's 2-1 win over Sweden.
Defender Sakina Karchaoui scored the opening goal in France's 2-1 win over Sweden on Friday. (ARNAUD FINISTRE/AFP via Getty Images)

No. 2 France took down No. 6 Sweden 2-1 in Friday's Euro qualifier, but flipped the script on Tuesday with a 3-1 loss to last-place No. 25 Republic of Ireland, who notched their first win. However, thanks to England's 0-0 draw with Sweden — also on Tuesday — France still topped their qualifying group with 12 points. Les Bleus will look for more consistent results going into the Olympics, where they're set to face Colombia, New Zealand, and Guinea in the group stage.

But it was Germany who stumbled the hardest, losing out 3-0 to No. 14 Iceland in their own Friday qualifier. After the match, Germany's head coach Horst Hrubesch didn’t mince words.

"We have to assert ourselves from the start in the individual battles. The way we played just wasn’t good," Hrubesch told reporters. "We deserved to lose. We handed them all three goals on a plate."

Tuesday also saw improvement for Germany, as they routed Austria 4-0 to claim first place in the group standings with 15 points.

But the earlier loss was still foreboding for this German squad. The two-time world champions fell to 3-2 to Zambia just weeks before the 2023 World Cup, before failing to advance past the World Cup group stage for the first time in the tournament’s history. Germany also faces some tough Olympic group stage competition, battling Australia and the USWNT before crossing paths with Zambia once again.  

Team Canada celebrate their victory in the 2020 Olympic Gold Medal Match with Sweden
Team Canada has their work cut out for them if they want to repeat their Tokyo gold medal run. (Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Friendlies rally Olympic teams outside Europe

Defending Olympic champs FIFA World No. 8 Canada defeated No. 12 Australia 2-1 on Saturday, with KC Current forward Nichelle Prince and ex-Gotham striker Evelyne Viens both scoring in the friendly. Canada will play world No. 36 Nigeria in a closed-door friendly on Wednesday before kicking off their Olympic campaign against New Zealand on July 25th. 

For their part, No. 28 New Zealand drew 1-1 in a friendly with No. 64 Zambia on Saturday, while non-Olympic-bound Ecuador handed No. 22 Colombia a 2-1 send-off loss.

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