By Kirstin Olsen
MORE FROM LONE STAR CLASSIC: Photo gallery
The 25th annual Lone Star Classic National Qualifier hosted 1,400 of some of the best teams in the nation this past weekend. The majority were Texas teams competing for bragging rights in their state and a bid to the USA Volleyball Junior National Championships in June and July.
In the 18 Open division, Skyline 18 RSB Royal took down Austin Juniors 18 Mizuno 25-23, 25-21. The two all-star teams boasted some of the cream of the crop in Texas, including ESPNHS All Americans Amy Neal, Katy Beals and Molly McCage for Austin Juniors and Andie Malloy of Skyline Dallas.
In the 17 Open division, TAV 17 Blue cruised to the gold bracket title with a 25-11, 25-20 win over Kuikahi 17 Wahine. TAV boasts second-team ESPNHS All-American Ebony Nwanebu.
In the 16 Open division, Houston Juniors 26 Elite took down Skyline 16 RSB Black in the gold bracket final, 25-20, 25-27, 15-12. Houston Juniors boasts LSU commit Mylan Eugene.
Inky Ajanaku, 2012, Club One 18 Black
Her Club One team plays in the National division, but this Stanford commit and Bishop Kelley (Tulsa, Okla.) senior stands out. The true middle plays outside hitter for her club team and hits high and hard over the block. It is easy to see why she was the Gatorade State Player of the year in Oklahoma and was named to the ESPNHS All-American first team.
Molly McCage, 2012, Austin Juniors 18 Mizuno
McCage is a woman among girls on the court. The Texas commit and Klein Collins (Spring, Texas) senior has an impressive vertical and is versatile in the middle with her attack in front or behind the setter. She has a great stature and will be an asset for Longhorns coach Jerritt Elliott next year.
Chloe Collins, 2013, Houston Juniors 17 Elite
She's only 5-8, but Collins plays much bigger than that. The lefty Texas commit runs a 6-2 offense setting and hitting for her team. The senior at Cypress Woods (Cypress, Texas) is a great athlete and has an explosive vertical leap.
Tayler Higgins, 2013, Kuikahi 17 Wahine
This 5-8 junior setter and Hawaii commit helped run the show for the Wahine. Higgins is the Gatorade State Player of the Year in Hawaii and a key member of state championship team at Punahou (Honolulu). Her team played great defense and she continued to feed her hitters and spread the ball around to get them optimal opportunities to score.
Haleigh Nelson, 2013, Triangle 17 Black
The 6-4 middle blocker was solid in the front row all weekend and helped her team to a fourth-place finish. The junior at Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.) has not committed to a school, but with her height and skill she'll be a great addition to any Division I program.
Ebony Nwanebu, 2013, TAV 17 Black
This 6-foot-4 USC commit is coming into her own after helping her team win the 17 Open division. Her stature and size are a college coach’s dream, and now she is taking advantage of those assets. She would absolutely punish the opposing team's outside hitters with her solid block, and she led her team in points as well. Under the tutelage of TAV coach Ping Cao, Nwanebu, a junior at Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas), will surely improve even more before she goes to USC.
Elizabeth Shurbet, 2013, Alamo 17 Keapa Premier
This fiery little setter is fun to watch. She is a great athlete and hustles for every ball. The Kansas State commit sets consistently and will be an asset to the Wildcats in 2013.
Sarah Sponcil, 2014, Spiral 16 Black
The 5-foot-10 setter is wise beyond her years. She is the best athlete on her team and is an excellent competitor. Her volleyball IQ is high for her age, and she fights for every ball. The Veritas Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) sophomore is getting a lot of looks from college coaches and will be an excellent player at the next level.
Ashlie Reasor, 2014, Alamo 16 Kaepa Premier
This solid lefty opposite is a major contributor for her team’s offense. Her 6-1 frame and whip of an arm has caught college coaches' eyes. The sophomore at Ronald Reagan (San Antonio, Texas) helped lead her Alamo team to a sixth-place finish.
Abby Detering, 2014, Academy Cleveland 16 N Harvey
The 6-1 lefty from Lake Catholic (Mentor, Ohio) is a great asset for her team with great hands and an explosive attack. Only a sophomore, the News Herald Player of the Year has a bright future with interest from Ohio State, Illinois, Alabama, Iowa and FSU.