Posted On: 01/11/22 9:27 AM

With the first tourney in the rearview, I wanted to break down each position group and talk a bit about the defenders (liberi AND DS’s) that made an impact for me. Here we go!

’24, Emma Segal Emma Segal 5'6" | OH Frontier | 2024 State IN , 5-6, Frontier

Emma was the ’bro for the 15/16 champ Boiler Juniors 16 Gold, and was the anchor to all serve receive and defensive responsibilities all day. Smooth and accurate, Emma stays on her feet more than most and anticipates better than the rest. She takes the hard driven shots just as well as the clean-up duty on coverage, off-speed shots, and redirected balls. She’s a left-back queen that gets it done. ’Nuff said.

’24,  Alleigh Dutton Alleigh Dutton 5'4" | DS/L McCutcheon | 2024 State IN , 5-5, McCutcheon

The ’bro for the runner-up squad at the Early Bird is no stranger to championship moments. She single-handedly bombed away from the service line in set five of the semi-state this past fall on her way to her first state title. Even though she’s not the ’bro for that team, she understands hard work, perseverance and dedication to the craft. Those things come out in droves as she solidifies the serve receive for 16 Purple at Circle City. Accompanied by  Emma Segal Emma Segal 5'6" | OH Frontier | 2024 State IN , 5-6, Frontier Emma was the ’bro for the 15/16 champ Boiler Juniors 16 Gold, and was the anchor to all serve receive and defensive responsibilities all day. Smooth and accurate, Emma stays on her feet more than most and anticipates better than the rest. She takes the hard driven shots just as well as the clean-up duty on coverage, off-speed shots, and redirected balls. She’s a left-back queen that gets it done. ’Nuff said. ’24,  Alleigh Dutton Alleigh Dutton 5'4" | DS/L McCutcheon | 2024 State IN , 5-5, McCutcheon The ’bro for the runner-up squad at the Early Bird is no stranger to championship moments. She single-handedly bombed away from the service line in set five of the semi-state this past fall on her way to her first state title. Even though she’s not the ’bro for that team, she understands hard work, perseverance and dedication to the craft. Those things come out in droves as she solidifies the serve receive for 16 Purple at Circle City. Accompanied by  Rachel Vorst Rachel Vorst 5'6" | DS/L Lafayette Central Catholic | 2024 State IN (’24, 5-6 DS/L, Lafayette Central Catholic) and  Chloe Gilley Chloe Gilley 5'4" | DS/L Columbus East | 2024 State IN (’24, 5-5 DS/L, Columbus East), this three-headed monster on defense and serve receive will be a tough out for any team going against them this spring. ’25, Kennedy Cherry Kennedy Cherry 5'7" | DS/L Hamilton Heights | 2025 IN , 5-4, Hamilton Heights This kid is the definition of spitfire. All-go, no quit, and getting a touch on every ball she can, she led a feisty Boiler Juniors 15 Gold squad on defense against Circle’s 16-1 in pool play. Her first contact is solid, her feet are constantly in go-mode, and she can frustrate opposing offenses by dominating in the left back. With all of that training she’s received thus far, she can only get better. Keep grinding, kiddo. ’25, Eva Hurrle Eva Hurrle 5'8" | DS/L Roncalli | 2025 IN , 5-8, Roncalli and ’25 Bradee McDonald Bradee McDonald 5'4" | DS/L North View | 2025 IN , 5-4, North View Yes,  Avery Freeman Avery Freeman 5'2" | DS/L Bloomington North | 2025 IN (’25, 5-2 DS/L, Bloomington North) got my attention in yesterday’s article. But she can’t do it alone. A close third-place finish against that same fiery Boiler Juniors 15-1 squad can only happen if their serve receive and defense match them contact-for-contact, which it did. Both Eva and Bradee played middle back on defense, and were responsible for the lion’s share of serve receive and defense that came at them. I like them both, and for the same reason---you don’t have to wear the special jersey on defense to be special, and it showed in these two. ’23, Raegan Burns Raegan Burns 5'4" | DS/L McCutcheon | 2023 State IN , 5-3, committed to Kansas This is a no-brainer for me. The anchor to a team still figuring themselves out, they don’t get third place in this shootout without exceptional defense and serve receive, and it starts and ends with #3 for Academy’s 17-1 (Tsunami). Her smooth movements and spot-on defense make this team go, and I recommend anyone playing against them to NEVER serve Miss Burns, under any circumstance. Accompanied by  Mallory Weber Mallory Weber 5'5" | DS/L Westfield | 2023 State IN (’23, 5-4, Westfield) and  Elizabeth Gee-Weiler Elizabeth Gee-Weiler 5'4" | DS/L Mount Vernon | 2023 State IN (’23, 5-5, Mount Vernon), the three form a great unit for defense that will only get better while in the same gym with coach Corky Robertson. ’23, Molly Urban Molly Urban 5'4" | DS/L Martinsville | 2023 State IN , 5-4, committed to Louisville I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Being the libero is a thankless job, even when the whole roster is present. 17 Purple at Circle was missing two players (one a starting middle), so you know Miss Urban had to cover more for her fellow teammates. No problem---exceptional in serve receive and solid in left back, Molly was the reason the first contact was on target. I’ll also give a shoutout to  Macy Bruton Macy Bruton 5'11" | DS/L Crawfordsville | 2023 State IN (’23, 5-10, Crawfordsville), who spends her falls as a six-rotation passer, and has spent every club season I’ve seen of her as a three-rotation DS. She was fine for the first outing, and will adjust to the speed change from high school to club just fine. ’23, Abby Herman Abby Herman 5'6" | DS/L Mount Vernon | 2023 State IN , 5-8, Mount Vernon and ’23, Kendall Hickey Kendall Hickey 5'1" | DS/L Heritage Christian | 2023 State IN , 5-4, Heritage Christian Although Abby was the ’bro for this team, you can’t mention the second-place finish of Rev’s 17-1 squad without mentioning these two. Both are excellent in serve receive, make quick and decisive movements on defense, and were definitely responsible for covering more than their fair share in both. On a team with so many offensive weapons, these two were the first contact more often than not, and their team’s success will sink or swim with their abilities.

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