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Best high school athletes of 2022-23: Meet the national volleyball players of the year

Meet 20 high school volleyball superstars who thrived on a national level in 2022-23

The high school sports season is finished in some states and wrapping up in others, so SBLive Sports is starting to take a look back at some of the best high school athletes of 2022-23. 

We'll start with fall and winter sports to give all the spring athletes still competing a chance to finish strong.

Over the next month we'll be highlighting some of the players of the year in volleyball, football, basketball, wrestling, soccer, track and field, softball, baseball and lacrosse.

Here are 20 high school volleyball players who had a season worthy of national recognition.

Olivia Babcock, sr., Sierra Canyon (California)

Babcock led Sierra Canyon to its first-ever upper-division girls volleyball championship in the Southern Section. The 6-foot-4 Pitt commit did it all for Sierra Canyon all season, finishing with 539 kills, 451 digs, 200 blocks and 122 aces.

Kierstyn Barton, sr., Corona del Sol (Arizona)

Barton helped to lead Corona del Sol to the 6A state championship, knocking out defending champ Hamilton in the title match. The 6-foot-2 outside hitter/opposite will play for Washington next season.

Julia Blyashov, sr., Cathedral Catholic (California)

Blyashov missed the final few matches of Cathedral Catholic's 42-0 season, but that doesn't dampen the senior season the Stanford commit had. Cathedral Catholic lost just one set all year, and the 6-foot-4 outside hitter was the biggest star among many on what could go down as one of the best high school volleyball teams in history.

Hailey Brockway, sr., Graham-Kapowsin (Washington)

Brockway led the Eagles to their first volleyball state title in school history with 100 kills, 42 digs, six aces and three blocks across four matches in the 4A state tournament. The versatile 5-foot-11 Illinois State commit had 551 kills and 213 digs on the season.

Nya Bunton, sr., DuPont Manual (Kentucky)

One of the top-ranked middle blocker recruits in the country, Bunton finished 2022 as Ms. Kentucky Volleyball. The 6-foot-3 regular on the Team USA circuit finished her senior season with 516 kills, 97 digs, 47 blocks and 47 aces and will compete for Texas in college.

Jordyn Byrd, sr., Cardinal Mooney (Florida)

Byrd followed up an impressive junior year with an even bigger senior year, finishing with 571 kills vs. 551 last year. The 6-foot-5 two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida will be playing alongside Bunton for Texas in college.

Chloe Chicoine, sr., McCutcheon (Indiana)

The defending Gatorade Player of the Year in Indiana, Chicoine didn't slow down as a senior, earning honors as Indiana Miss Volleyball and repeating as Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year. She finished the season with 549 kills and her high school career with 2,013, and she'll stay close to home next season playing for Purdue.

Charlie Fuerbringer, jr., Mira Costa (California)

Fuerbringer, arguably the top setter in the nation, definitely has the best volleyball bloodlines in high school volleyball. The Wisconsin commit's mother, Joy, was an All-American setter at Long Beach State and her father, Matt, is the career leader in kills for Stanford, where he won a national title in 1997.

Lakin Laurendine, sr., Jackson Academy (Mississippi)

Another two-time Gatorade Player of the Year, Laurendine finished her storied high school career with over 2,000 career kills and 2,000 career digs. The 6-foot-2 outside hitter led Jackson Academy to the MAIS Division I title this season and will play for Auburn in college.

Pam McCune, sr., St. John's College (Washington, D.C.)

McCune averaged 1.8 blocks and 2.4 kills per set as a senior and will be heading to Iowa State, whose coach loves what McCune brings to the court. "Pam, when I think of her, I think quick, gets places very fast," coach Christy Johnson-Lynch told "I think she's going to be terrific as a blocker. She gets up off the floor so fast."

Bianna Muoneke, sr., Cypress Ranch (Texas)

Muoneke was among the nation's leaders in kills in 2022, blasting 810 of them. She holds the school's career record in kills with 1,810 and will take her talents to Texas A&M next season.

Harper Murray, sr., Ann Arbor Skyline (Michigan)

Murray notched her second straight season with at least 650 kills, and she had 700 as a freshman. The 6-foot-2 Nebraska commit was named national Gatorade Player of the Year and finished her high school career with an astonishing 2,425 kills.

Gigi Navarrete, sr., Mother McAuley (Illinois)

Navarrete was the team captain and overall leader for one of the best squads in the country, leading Mother McAuley to its record 16th volleyball state championship. The 5-foot-6 libero is a defensive dynamo and will be staying in the Chicago area to play college volleyball for Northwestern.

Kennedy Phelan photo by Tommy Land

Kennedy Phelan photo by Tommy Land

Kennedy Phelan, sr., Fayetteville (Arkansas)

The 5-foot-8 Florida State commit led Fayetteville to its third straight state championship. Phelan, one of the best setters in the country and the state's back-to-back Gatorade Player of the Year, had 37 assists and 18 digs in the championship match.

Skyler Pierce, jr., Olathe Northwest (Kansas)

Pierce has been a force since her freshman year for Olathe Northwest, and through three years of high school volleyball the outside hitter has nearly 1,300 kills (488 of them as a junior). She's already committed to play college volleyball for Nebraska.

Bergen Reilly, sr., O'Gorman (South Dakota)

Reilly's biggest achievement this year was competing in the Pan-American World Volleyball Cup Final Six for the Olympic-level U.S. volleyball team — a rare feat for a high school player. Her high school stats were no slouch either, as the 6-foot-1 Nebraska commit finished with 440 kills with 338 digs.

Ava Sarafa, sr., Marian (Michigan)

Sarafa was in the middle of everything Marian did this season for one of the best teams in the nation. The 6-foot setter averaged an otherworldly 11 assists per set this season and heads to Kentucky as arguably one of the best passers in high school volleyball history.

Ellie Schneider, sr., Country Day (Louisiana)

Schneider led Country Day to its seventh straight state championship, earning Most Outstanding Player honors after notching 28 kills, 2.5 blocks and one ace from her middle blocker position. The 6-foot-4 two-sport star (basketball) will be playing volleyball for Kansas next season.

Sydney Schnichels, sr., Willmar (Minnesota)

The outside hitter carried Willmar to the Section 2A quarterfinals by leading the state in kills with 490, according to MNvolleyballhub. The Minnesota commit finished second in the state with a .318 kill percentage (minimum 900 attempts).

Ella Swindle, sr., Rock Bridge (Missouri)

Swindle, yet another Texas commit on this list, is a setter who can also rack up kills and digs. The 6-foot-3 Gatorade Player of the Year in Missouri in 2021 finished her senior season with 841 assists, 230 digs and 171 kills.