The Midwest Battle in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is only a couple of weeks away, and we are about to see some of the top players in their respective states face off in some incredible battles. Today, we will look at the five top matchups we can’t wait to see that day.
Matchup #1: Lauren Medeck, OH, Team Nebraska vs. Kenzie Dean, OH, Team Iowa
Two of the top prospects in the class of 2024 will be facing off against each other. Medeck was named the top volleyball player in Nebraska by StadiumTalk.com and Gatorade and was the #1 2024 prospect in the state. She is committed to the University of South Dakota. Kenzie Dean was the #2 2024 in Iowa by PrepDig and is committed to Kansas. The size difference will be there, with Dean being 6’3 and Medeck at 5’10, but Medeck has amassed over 1100 kills in high school and can get her shots when needed. Dean is also averaging 355 kills a season and is just coming off a major 390-kill campaign. It will be interesting to see who wins this battle.
Matchup #2: Stella Swenson, S, Team Minnesota vs. Camdyn Stucky, S, Team Kansas
This is a matchup between two top setters in the 2024 class. Swenson, a Minnesota commit, was the #1 ranked player in Minnesota and was the 3rd ranked setter in the entire class by PrepDig. Tennessee is getting a steal in Stucky who is a top setter in Kansas and was ranked #98 overall in the 2024 recruiting class. Swenson is one of the best passers in the country, but she also has a knack for being aggressive. She isn’t afraid to attack, and that’s what’s made her one of the most dominant setters in the country. Stucky has soft hands and reads the defense as good as anyone. She will get all of her teammates involved like she has for her very balanced club squad.
Maggie Meister, Libero, Team South Dakota 1 vs. Sierra Pokharel, Libero, Team Nebraska
This Libero matchup is between a pair of 2025s. Sierra Pokharel is the #3 ranked libero in Nebraska by PrepDig. While Meister is one of the best in South Dakota. Both will likely commit to D1 schools in the near future. The two combined for almost 1000 digs last year, with Meister getting over 500. It will take a lot of work to find an open space with either of these two on the floor. Meister helped lead her team to a State Title last season, playing her best in two upset win over Bergen Reilly led O'Gorman.
Payton Peterson, OH, Team Iowa vs. Alea Goolsby, OH, Team Kansas
With this matchup, we will have the top Iowa OH of the 2024 class against the a top Kansas OH of the deep 2025 class. Peterson was the #57 ranked player by PrepDig in 2024, while Goolsby is ranked #42. Peterson is 6’0, while Goolsby is 5’11. Peterson, in her three years as a starter, averaged 515 kills a season, including a 583-kill season her sophomore year. Goolsby is a solid all-around player. She’s extraordinarily explosive and plays top competition year-round at St. Thomas Aquinas and Dynasty VB Club. Her stats don’t jump off the table, but her ability to do everything on the floor and rack up many kills is impressive. This will be fun to watch.
Kaia Caffey, MB, Team Minnesota vs. Taylor Byl, MB, Team South Dakota 1
Caffey is one of the top-rated Middles in the country. She was ranked the #2 player in Minnesota and was considered one of the 20 best players in the 2024 class. She committed to Ohio State and has been a giant part of the Buffalo team. Byl is a South Dakota State commit her high school stat line may not catch your eye, but she has dominated and opened eyes on the club Open Division level this past year. She should be the preseason leader for South Dakota Player of the Year. These two faced each other at the KC UA NEXT Camp in April. Caffey was the bet Middle there, but Byl held her own in the one-on-one matchups.