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Battleground State Series: OHIO

Battleground State Series: OHIO

Battleground States: OHIO

Welcome to a neseries where we go through all of the top Volleyball states with many top programs and look t how those programs can retain their top talent. We will analyze the top 2026 prospects and each state and talk about in-state interest, regional and national powers that could come calling as well

State of Ohio Division 1 Programs (13 Total)

  • Youngstown State (MVC)- Youngstown, OH
  • Wright State (Horizon)- Dayton, OH
  • Cleveland State (Horizon)-Cleveland, OH
  • Miami (OH) (MAC)- Oxford, OH
  • Toledo (MAC)- Toledo, OH
  • Akron (MAC)- Akron, OH
  • Bowling Green (MAC)- Bowling Green, OH
  • Kent State (MAC)- Kent, OH
  • Ohio University (MAC)- Athens, OH
  • University of Dayton (A10)- Dayton, OH
  • Xavier University (Big East)- Cincinnati, OH
  • University of Cincinnati (Big 12)- Cincinnati, OH
  • Ohio State University (Big 10)- Columbus, OH

Ohio boasts 2 Power 5 Schools: The Ohio State and University of Cincinnati.

Ohio State has had the most national success

State of Ohio Recruiting Trends:


State’s #1 Player=Nebraska, 

Ohio’s Top 10 Signed In-State 1, 

Ohio’s Top 10 Signed with “Big 3” 1, 

Ohio’s Top 10 Signed with NCAA Traditional Top 25 Program: 4


State’s #1 Player= Florida 

Ohio’s Top 10 Signed In-State 4

Ohio’s Top 10 Signed with “Big 3” 0

Ohio’s Top 10 Signed with NCAA Traditional Top 25 Program: 2

2025s: (In Progress)

State’s #1 Player= San Diego

Ohio’s Top 10 Signed In-State 1

Ohio’s Top 10 Signed with “Big 3” 0

Ohio’s Top 10 Signed with NCAA Traditional Top 25 Program: 2

State of Ohio Recruiting Label= Regional Hotbed

Ohio is a regional hotbed because of its geography.  Located within driving distance from most of the Big Ten and also national powers like Pitt, Louisville, Kentucky ... .The state is always going to pay a lot of attention to top prospects.  There are so many D1 options within 2-3 hours that prospects can stay close to home and play at a very competitive program.  High-Level Regional Recruiting wins out in most cases in Ohio.

OHIO Class of 2026 Recruiting Prospect Notes

Mallory Matheny, S, Mintonette Sports

Matheny is expected to be one of the top 3 setters in the country, which makes her extremely valuable. She will warrant looks from EVERY program in the nation and could be the most highly recruited player in the state.

A general rule of thumb is a program will take a setter every other year, and neither Ohio State nor Cinci has a verbal from a 2025 Setter yet, which means they will be out looking for one this year. 

The 5’11 setter has the chance to be a great fit for either team. Matheny had over 400 assists last year for Bishop Hartley and is the starter for one of the best 16u club teams in the country.

Emma Cugino, L, Mintonette Sports

Libero recruiting is tricky and every school has different philosophies. Cugino will gain as . She is going to be a Top 2-3 libero of the 2026s so will get plenty of looks.  With more Top programs adding a “starting caliber libero” every class Emma will get some great offers within a couple of hours of her doorstep. 

Layla Hoying, OH, Mintonette Sports

Hoying is a top OH in Ohio, and she will be one of the Top 15 in the class.

She has Buckeye roots with her dad being legendary Ohio State Quarterback, Bobby Hoying. So, that could play a factor in where she considers

With almost 400 kills as a sophomore, Hoying has a chance to make an impact on multiple D1 programs that she might look at.

Sara Snowbarger, OH, Mintonette Sports

Snowbarger has been ON FIRE so far in qualifier season.  She is a NATIONAL type recruit if she wasn’t before.  Again look for most of the battles for her services to be big-time, but local programs (and that is a pretty solid list).  Snowbarger was the only sophomore to be named to the Ohio Division 1 All-State First Team. She also made the VBAdrenaline’s Super 30 ranked 22nd. Snowbarger will be a name that could receive 50 offers and a possible Big 3 target. 

Kendall Northern, MB, Elevation

Okay, I will give you all a break from the Mintonette parade for a little bit and talk about a name that also made the VBAdrenaline Super 30 list. Northern was ranked 24th on that list and is a coin toss for the #1 prospect in the Ohio Class of 2026. Northern is a big-time offensive weapon, that also provides an imposing block at the net. She is in the conversation for the Top 3 MB’s in the class and every bit as athletic as any other. However, she may not get the same attention as others because she isn’t on a Top 10 team.  Northern will get interest from the entire Midwest and SEC schools alike.

Cara Richter, OH, Elevation

Richter is another Elevation stud that has flown under the radar due to Mintonette’s dominance. Richter is a top 10 prospect in the state that has impressed a lot of people at the TC NIT. She finished with 200 kills last season.  History has proven that top OH’s in Ohio draw attention from regional and national powers.  Look for Richter to be another of these talented attackers to be in demand nationally.

Gabby Semona, MB, Tri-State Elite

Tri-State Elite has actually been a club that, for the most part, has had top players leave the state for college.  2024 was an exception as the top 2 TSE girls: Reese Wuebker and Kelsey Niesen went to Ohio State and Xavier respectively. That was the first time that had really happened. However, the top Tri-State Elite in 2025, Sakura Codling chose UCLA and the cycle started over again.  Semona looks to be another P5 prospect that should get plenty of Midwest attention come June 15th. 

Alia Schoonover, MB, Mintonette

Schoonover is another girl who caught my eye at the TC NIT. Undersized as a MB, this feels like someone who would make a position change in college.  She is a competitor with explosiveness and athleticism. Schoonover is one of the top servers in the state and can really affect the game both offensively and defensively, so she will be a great prospect to go after. 

Depending on her position and her growth Alia could be a P5 prospect, but will definitely get attention from mid-majors close to home

State of the State:

In-state programs don’t have enough room to keep everyone, but this class should be enticing to the local schools with multiple high-end prospects available.  That also means that out-of-state programs will cross the borders and see how many of the Mintonette stars they can persuade to leave the Buckeye State.  Regardless, cell phones will be ringing off the hook on June 15th and that is why Ohio comes in as our first Battleground State for Decision 2026.

Zachary Tipton