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10 volleyball players to watch during 2022 season

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St. Mary's vs Nichols High School

St. Mary's Carson Tyler hits the ball against Nichols' Ryann O'Carroll and Mary Margaret during a volleyball game at Nichols School in Buffalo on Sept. 13, 2022.

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With the 2022 girls volleyball season underway, here are 10 players to watch. Many are coming off state championship or sectional seasons, and proved to be the best in the area.

Eve Adams, Randolph, 11, OH: Made All-WNY second team small schools a year ago and was named the CCAA East Player of the Year. Was sixth in the section in kills (198) a season ago, along with 101 digs, 60 aces and 15 assists. This season, she leads the section in kills (127) and aces (43) in the early going.

Gianna Blair, St. Mary’s, 12, MH: Enters her final season with 263 kills and a 52.9% kill percentage. Was a key piece to the Lancers winning their fifth state Catholic title in the last six seasons that a postseason was held. On the team’s championship run, Blair had 27 kills and 13 blocks during the state tournament. A team captain, she was named to first team All-WNY and All-Catholic.

Marin Collins, Frontier, 10, OH: Through her first two varsity seasons, she’s proved to be one of the better players on one of the region's top teams. Collins was the only eighth grader to make All-WNY two seasons ago and was the only freshman last year. Last season, she had 390 kills, 20 blocks, 30 aces and helped the team to a Section VI Class AA championship. Through four games, Frontier is 2-2.

Olivia Cook, Portville, 11, MH: Helped lead the Panthers to a New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C championship last season, their sixth championship since 2008. Had 402 kills, 97 aces, 197 digs and a .497 hitting percentage in 2021. Cook’s performance at the state event led to her to be named to the NYSPHSAA all-tournament team. Selected to All-WNY smalls schools second team as a freshman and then named to the overall first team as a sophomore.

Lauren Hubert, Sweet Home, 12, MH: Two-time All-WNY first-teamer led the Panthers on a 19-game winning streak and an appearance in the Section VI Class A championship game. They’ve had back-to-back perfect regular seasons, and that hasn’t changed thus far with Sweet Home at 4-0. Last season, Hubert had 340 kills and averaged six kills and three digs.

April Jakubowski, Lancaster, 11, MH: Selected to All-WNY as a sophomore after accumulating 530 assists with 41 aces and 90 digs. In her first two varsity seasons, she had 880 assists. Lancaster is currently 3-0 and first in ECIC I with shutout wins against Williamsville North, Clarence and West Seneca West.

Carson Tyler, St. Mary’s, 11, OH: Named to All-WNY first team and All-Catholic first team the past two seasons. As a sophomore, Tyler had 519 kills (fourth in the state), 221 digs and 45 blocks. The Lancers have won 18 state Catholic championships and are ranked fourth in the USA Today/American Volleyball Coaches Association regional rankings for Region 1.

Toni Unverdorben, Portville, 12: Playing for a state championship has become a regular feat for her. With three appearances in four years, including Class C title last season, Unverdorben and the Panthers are off to their usual start with a 5-0 record. She’s coming off an All-WNY first-team season and has had three consecutive All-CCAA selections. Through five games, she’s fifth in Section VI in kills (51) and seventh in digs (60).

Jenna Waters, Chautauqua Lake, 11, MH: Her junior season included leading the team to a Class D sectional title and going unbeaten in league play. Had 486 digs, 86 kills and 61 aces, and was named CCAA West Player of the Year.

Ella Wittman, Springville, 12, OH: Coming off a historic junior season after setting school records with 322 kills and 90 aces, along with 210 digs, and the program’s first B2 sectional title, Springville and Wittman have set a standard of what their 2022 season could be. Springville is 3-1 and Wittman leads the team with 58 kills and 35 digs.

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Sports Reporter

Born and raised in Boston, MA. My experience includes The Boston Globe, The Arizona Republic, The Athletic, The Tennessean, Bleacher Report and NBC Sports Northwest. Open to suggestions and connections:

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