Posted On: 05/24/18 3:13 PM

Midwest vs. Mideast.  This is the time where momentum builds heading into the national tournament with some of these teams getting a shot to see where they stand against some of the top in the country.  With Memorial Day weekend being the “Official” start of summer on the calendar and for NCAA Division 1 coaches to be back in the evaluation period there will be some activity at the Junior National Classic.  Here are some top prospects that we have covered at Prep Dig who will be looking to make an impact and find a deep run into bracket play on Monday.

Lizzie Binder – Milwaukee Sting 15 Gold – Right Side/Outside Hitter

Class of 2021

At 6’2 and with solid ball control Binder brings a dynamic to the right side that is not seen for most at the 15s level with the ability to play all the way around.  A physical player with a wide selection of shots, Binder can hurt the opposing team in multiple ways from her defense in the back court, to an aggressive attack, a roll over the block, or with a solid block.  Binder has been on the radar of plenty of Division 1 schools and this tournament as well as nationals in the next month will only give her more exposure on a team with players having already committed to Illinois, Minnesota, and Marquette.  Sting 15 Gold won the JVA World Challenge and will be a top contender this weekend!

Morgan Yenter – Wisconsin Volleyball Academy 15 Black – Setter

Class of 2021

Yenter is a little bit under the radar, but has a huge upside being nearly six feet tall, left handed, and a physical attacking style of play.  If WVA 15 Black is on point with their passing they can run their middles Hattie Bray and Natalie Johanknecht which are two of the top middles for the Class of 2021 in the state of Wisconsin.  WVA also has standout libero, Grace Demetrician running the back row. This weekend could be one where WVA can build momentum into Nationals.

Samantha Ward – 1st Alliance 17 Black – Setter

Class of 2019 (Playing in 18 Club)

Ward has been a top club player in the Chicago area and this year is playing for 1st Alliance 17 Black which has had strong showings at GLPL as well as a 7th place finish at the Sports Performance Presidents Day Tournament.  Ward is getting looks at the Division 1 level and some of the top academic schools in the country. A setter at 5’10 and can touch 9’8 is an athlete that can be heavily utilized at the next level. 1st Alliance is one of the top clubs in the Chicago area and will be competing at the 18 Club level which is being played at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center.  

Addie Vanderweide – Michigan Volleyball Academy 16 National – Outside Hitter

Class of 2021

Vanderweide is one of the top prospects in Michigan in the Class of 2021 and plays up on the 16 National team for MVA.  MVA will be looking to make a deep run this weekend behind their depth and athleticism. Vanderweide will be hitting off of top setter and high school teammate Jordyn Gates who has already given her verbal to Arkansas.  MVA could be in contention for the gold bracket, they have already played the likes of Illini Elite 16 Cardinal and MN Select 16-1 at the JVA Jam in Milwaukee. Vanderweide is a go to in a high tempo offense that is a major difference maker.

Olivia Olson – Wisconsin Volleyball Academy 17 Black – Setter

Class of 2019

Olson is a very physical setter and a dynamic athlete.  She has the ability to play all the way around putting up a solid block and dependable backrow defense.  For Olson’s high school season she is an outside hitter which is just more evidence of her all around volleyball ability.  WVA 17 Black has had a rollercoaster of a season battling through some injuries, but is a well balanced team with Cece Huhn, a Northern Colorado commit in the middle as well as Gabby Murray in the middle.

Jenna Weinfurt – Milwaukee Sting 17 Black – Outside Hitter

Class of 2019

Weinfurt has exploded on to the club scene this winter playing for Milwaukee Sting 17 Black.  With the ability to play on either pin and a very aggressive swing, Weinfurt can score points in a hurry.  Weinfurt plays for Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha, WI just outside Milwaukee and is always a powerhouse for Wisconsin prep volleyball.  At 6’0, a high contact point, and variety of ways to score she is a prospect that is on the up and coming.

Halle Theis – Nebraska Juniors 16 Black – Middle Blocker

Class of 2020

The middle blocker out of Elkhorn, Nebraska plays for Nebraska Juniors which is coming from Lincoln in the backyard of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.  Legends in college volleyball have played their club ball for Nebraska Juniors which would include Jordan Larsen and the Rolfzen Twins. Theis is a 6’0 athletic middle that is ranked in the top 40 of her class in Nebraska and will be a solid recruit among the D2/NAIA schools in the Nebraska area.

Kaley Blake – Milwaukee Sting 16 Gold – Setter

Class of 2020

Blake has been on the national circuit for club volleyball her whole career.  At 5’8, some may say undersized, but the intangibles of Kaley Blake are immeasurable.  In two years of high school volleyball she has won a state runner up trophy and most recently a state championship at Burlington in Wisconsin’s largest class.  Blake is a solid defender and is so great at running the middle with Kiara Reinhardt (Creighton) and Elise Goetzinger (Kentucky). There is much to be said about a setter that all she knows is how to win.

Jennifer O’Keefe – Milwaukee Sting 17 Black – Outside Hitter/Right Side

Class of 2019

O’Keefe is coming off a state championship in high school for Lake Country Lutheran in the Milwaukee area where she played alongside Brooke Anderson who is heading to Iowa State this Fall.  O’Keefe plays extremely high, and is extremely versatile in the front row. O’Keefe and her teammate Weinfurt are interchangeable on which pin they play on. O’Keefe can score consistently on the left or right side.  This upcoming high school season she will be one of the main scorers for the Lightning who will be looking to make it back to the state tournament in Green Bay.

Emily Banitt – Kokoro 16-1 – Outside Hitter

Class of 2020

Super athletic! When this article publishes, Banitt will most likely be competing in the Sectional track meet, trying to get back to state for River Falls High School (WI).  The Kokoro 16-1 team has been on a tear as of late with solid wins against quality clubs across the Midwest. Banitt has the ability to play six rotations at the Division 1 level with a high contact point and an approach touch near ten feet.  She is a threat to score points at every position on the court.

Skylar Gray – MN Select 15-1 – Outside Hitter

Class of 2021

Gray was first spotted at the JVA Jamboree in Milwaukee as her MN Select 15-1 team only lost set which was to Chicago Elite in pool play.  Gray is a 5’10 outside hitter and for being at the 15s level hits with authority, is very aggressive and makes any swing tough for the defense to defend with her ability to terminate at various angles and also use the block.  MN Select also has Kendall Kemp who will be part of the Class of 2022 and a 6’5 Middle Blocker. MN Select has been in contention in top tournaments, maybe this will be the one for a major breakthrough in Gold.