Here are the weekly Belleville News-Democrat Volleyball Game Balls given to area players for some recent top performances:
- Belleville West’s Katherine Koch had five aces, eight kills, and 21 assists in a Southwestern Conference win over O’Fallon, then had nine kills and 20 assists Tuesday in a 32-30, 31-29 victory over Althoff.
- Edwardsville junior Rachel Pranger had 10 kills and two blocks in the Tigers’ win over Althoff last week, then lasered 16 more Tuesday in a Southwestern Conference win over East St. Louis with Rachel Verdun dealing out 26 assists. Pranger is among the St. Louis area kills leaders with 178, an average of 5.24 per game.
- Belleville West junior Kaylee Hanger had 15 kills and 14 digs Tuesday in a city rivalry win over Althoff while teammate Nikki Gaskill contributed five kills and six blocks. Hanger is among the St. Louis area kills leaders with 166, averaging 4.15 kills per game.
- Columbia senior Colene Hamilton has piled up 28 kills in the last three matches for the 18-0 Eagles. Hamilton, who ranks second behind Pranger in kills among metro-east players with 155 (4.3 per game), had 10 kills against Freeburg and nine in each match against Wesclin and Carlyle.
- Althoff freshman Katie Wemhoener delivered a season-high 11 kills Tuesday in a 32-30, 31-29 loss to rival Belleville West. Althoff senior Katie Allard had a season-high 16 digs in the match while Emily Myatt (six blocks) and Leighten Kaiser (five blocks) both had season highs in that category.
- O’Fallon’s Imani Williamson has racked up 99 kills, 69 digs and 13 blocks this season, taking full advantage of her incredible leaping ability.
- Gibault senior middle blocker Caralyn Papenberg had five stuff blocks, three aces and two kills in the Hawks’ 25-23, 25-21 win over New Athens on Tuesday. Gibault freshman libero Kayla Huels had 11 digs and two aces in the same match while Kelly Dooley contributed 11 kills.
- Defense was a big reason the Waterloo Bulldogs ended Mississippi Valley Conference rival Highland’s 16-game winning streak last Thursday. Megan Gilliam led Waterloo in serve receive (15-for-15) and also contributed 23 digs. Genna Bourgeois had five blocks (one solo) and Kathryn Finnerty had six kills and three blocks (one solo).
- Belleville East took traditional metro-east power Mater Dei to three sets Tuesday night led by Derika Moore (10 kills, four blocks, three digs, two aces) and Holly Badgley’s double-double (11 kills, 12 digs).
- East St. Louis freshman Jayla Holcombe is among the area leaders with 21 service aces. Flyerettes junior Rokelle Stanley is also among the area leaders in aces.
- With her team down 20-14 in the first set to New Athens on Thursday, Valmeyer’s Jordyn Killy sparked a five-point service run and also helped her team claw its way back to a 26-24 win before contributing more in a tight 25-22 victory in the second set. Killy finished with eight kills (she leads the team with with 132) and three solo blocks in the win, also adding seven service points and an ace. Senior Savannah Williams had eight serve receives without an error.
- New Athens junior Brooke Jansen leads her team with 94 service points and 30 aces. She also has 56 kills and 165 assists.
- Roxana’s Taylor Westfall had 12 kills and seven aces last night in Roxana’s 25-15, 25-10 victory over Southwestern. Braeden Lackey added 11 kills for the Shells, now 13-5 this season. Lackey has 142 kills this season and Westfall has 141.
- Metro-East Lutheran setter Lydia Flaherty had a school-record 39 assists in the Knights, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23 victory over Southwestern last week. The former record of 38 assist was set in 2004 by Ashley Boatman. Flaherty has 287 assists and is averaging 6.1 per game.
BND Girls Volleyball Rankings
Rankings for metro-east teams; voting by area coaches and News-Democrat staff. First-place votes are in parentheses.
Large school rankings (Class 3A-4A)
Also receiving votes: Mater Dei (7-8-2), Highland (17-1), Freeburg (15-4), Waterloo (13-5), Alton (12-10-1), Belleville East (8-9), Civic Memorial (11-9-1), Central (7-8)
Small school rankings (Class 1A-2A)
Also receiving votes: New Athens (10-10), Carlyle (12-8), Nashville (6-11), Roxana (13-5), Metro-East Lutheran (7-14)