Teams in the south metro, most notably defending champion Eagan, runner-up Prior Lake and Lakeville South in Class 3A and Belle Plaine in Class 2A, are getting the lion’s share of the prep volleyball attention early this season (deservedly so). But the west metro has plenty to crow about. And don’t write its teams off come playoff time. The top four teams in the west all have the potential to do serious state-tournament damage.
Here’s a look at 10 of the best teams and 20 of the top players west of the Mississippi River.
West Top 10
1. Wayzata: Can the big three of Kate Berg, Morgan Baufield and Mackenzie Groechel lift the Trojans past Champlin Park in Section 5, 3A?
2. Hopkins: OH Jasmyn Martin, a Minnesota recruit, is an athletic marvel with unlimited potential.
3. Eden Prairie: A strong senior class buoyed by junior OH Grace Persson, who already has committed to Michigan.
4. Chaska: The always tough Hawks have a solid core of Dana Schindler, Lily Lundquist and Kenzie Bachmann.
5. Minnetonka: Setter Isabel Aragon-Menzel is a five-year starter approaching 4,000 set assists.
6. Osseo: How far Osseo goes will hinge on the considerable leadership abilities of Denver-commit Tina Boe.
7. Delano: OH Tori Hanson anchors the metro’s most unsung program.
8. Minneapolis Southwest: A formidable front line in April Houston, Lily Landis and 6-4 sophomore Gabby McCaa.
9. Heritage Christian (1A): Small, yes, but Bella Lien, Maddy Torve and Sarah Suits could play for anyone.
10. Minnehaha Academy (2A): Six seniors returning, led by all-state setter Iris Holman (661 assists, 231 digs in 2015).
Others of note: Edina, Chanhassen, Waconia, Buffalo, Rogers, St. Michael-Albertville, Holy Angels (2A)
All are seniors unless noted
• Isabel Aragon-Menzel, Minnetonka
• Iris Holman, Minnehaha Acad.
• Tara Lee, Hopkins, jr.
• Taylor Wolf, Waconia
• Morgan Baufield, Wayzata
• Tina Boe, Osseo
• Katelyn Lannom, Minnetonka, jr.
• Bella Lien, Heritage
• Kate Berg, Wayzata
• Katie Glavan, Edina
• Tori Hanson, Delano
• April Houston, Mpls. SW
• Maizy Jackson, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, so.
• Jasmyn Martin, Hopkins
• Grace Persson, Eden Prairie, jr.
• Dana Schindler, Chaska, jr.
• Maleia Ysteboe, Rogers
• Kari Zumach, Buffalo, jr.
• Maddie Duffy, DeLaSalle
• Sarah Suits, Heritage
Here are five events to circle on the calendar.
Sept. 23-24: Apple Valley Eagle Invitational — the best tournament of the regular season
Sept. 29: Wayzata at Hopkins, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10: Minneapolis Southwest at Lakeville South, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13: Chaska at Wayzata, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18: Eden Prairie at Minnetonka, 7 p.m.