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Houston Area dominates Fab 50

The Lone Star State reigns supreme. And particularly the Houston area.

So says the 2017 Crown Sports Girls Fab 50 list, which was revealed exclusively Sunday at the Triple Crown Sports Preseason National Invitational Tournament at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Known as the longest-running girls youth volleyball players’ rankings, with a lineage dating more than three decades, the Fab 50 showcases the top 50 senior girls’ players in the country each season. The Fab 50 list is voted on by a panel of NCAA Division I coaches.

This year’s list features eight players from Texas, including seven from the Houston area: Taylor Bannister, Brooke Botkin, Brionne Butler, Cami May, Jaden Newsome, Yossiana Pressley and Avery Skinner.

California ranked next with six players on the Fab 50 list, while Illinois had five and Minnesota and Iowa had four each. Twenty states are represented overall.

In terms of which colleges hauled in the most top recruits, the honor goes to Wisconsin with five (Danielle Hart, Sydney Hilley, Grace Loberg, Dana Rettke and Mariah Whalen).

UCLA had four Fab 50s, while Minnesota, Texas, Kentucky, Maryland and Illinois have three each. We’ll break this aspect down further later this spring with the release of our annual women’s college top recruiting classes.

On the club level, suburban Chicago-based Sports Performance and Minnesota-based MN Select tied for the most players on the list with three each.

Our panel of Fab 50 voters also were asked to rank the top five players in the class of 2017.

Sun garnered nearly 70 percent of the first-place votes for tops in the class. Sun’s soon-to-be college teammate Brionne Butler (an early enrollee at Texas) finished second, giving the Longhorns the top two recruits, in addition to Sports Performance setter Ashley Shook (who also received votes in the top-player ranking).

Wisconsin signee Sydney Hilley was third, Minnesota recruit and Florida prep standout Stephanie Samedy was fourth and Kentucky signee Madison Lilley was fifth. A total of 15 players on the Fab 50 list received votes in the top-player ranking.

With this list, Penn State has four players who have verbally committed, while Washington, Florida and Nebraska each have three.

An impressive 93 percent of junior-year players on the 2016 Underclassmen to Watch list graduated to this year’s Fab 50 list. Two others on the list, San Gabriel Elite’s Serena Gray and Lexington United’s Kaitlyn Hord, were on the 2016 Underclassmen to Watch list as sophomores and remain there for a second year as juniors.


Name, Height, Position, High School, Club, College
Preslie Anderson, 6-3, MB-OH, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.), Aspire, Cal
Taylen Ballard, 6-3, OH, Clovis (Calif.), Tsunami, BYU
Taylor Bannister, 6-6, MB-OH, Fort Bend Christian (Sugar Land, Texas), Texas Premier, LSU
Dani Barton, 6-1 RS, Brighton (Cottonwood Heights, Utah), Club V, Utah
Brooke Botkin, 6-4, OH-S, Pearland (Texas), AVA Texas, USC
Brionne Butler, 6-4, MB, Boling (Texas), Houston Juniors, Texas
Jayme Cox, 5-4, Libero, St. Ursula Academy (Toledo, Ohio), Michigan Elite, Michigan State
Gabby Curry, 5-8, Libero, Buford (Georgia), A5, Kentucky
Samantha Drechsel, 6-3, OH, Cedar Park Christian (Woodinville, Wash.), WVBA, Maryland
Lauren Forte, 6-4, MB, Corona Del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.), Aspire, Cal
Jada Gardner, 6-1, OH-MB, Steele (Cibolo, Texas), Alamo, Maryland
Paige Hammons, 6-2, OH, Sacred Heart (Louisville, Ky.), KiVA, Florida
Sara Hamson, 6-7, RS, Pleasant Grove (Utah), Club Utah, BYU
Danielle Hart, 6-3, MB, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.), Coastal VA, Wisconsin
Sydney Hilley, 5-11, S, Champlin Park (Champlin, Minn.), MN Select, Wisconsin
Taryn Knuth, 6-4, MB, Johnston (Iowa),  IPVA, Florida State
Kylie Kuyava-DeBerg, 6-4, OH, Hudson (Iowa), CIA, Illinois
Alexis Light, 6-5, OH, Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.), Five Starz, UCLA
Madison Lilley, 5-11, S, Blue Valley West (Overland Park, Kan.), KC Power, Kentucky
Grace Loberg, 6-2, OH, Geneva (Ill.), Fusion, Wisconsin
Kayla Lund, 6-0, OH, Flintridge-Sacred Heart (La Canada-Flintridge, Calif.),  San Gabriel, Pitt
Jasmyn Martin, 6-3, OH, Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.), MN Select, Minnesota
Piper Mauck, 6-1, S, Roosevelt (Des Moines, Iowa), IPVA, Iowa State
Cami May, 6-3, MB, Cinco Ranch (Katy, Texas), Houston Jrs., Penn State
Mackenzie May, 6-3, OH, Wahlert Catholic (Dubuque, Iowa), Adrenaline, UCLA
Chesney McClellan, 6-3, MB, Maryville (Tenn.), K2, Nebraska
Meghan McClure, 6-0, OH, Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), Laguna Beach, Stanford
Jen Mosser, 5-11, OH, Lakeville (Minn.) South, MN Select, UCLA
Jaden Newsome, 6-0, S, Clear Brook (Houston, Texas), AVA Texas, Colorado
Sara Nielsen, 6-0, S, Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.), Sports Performance, Minnesota
Meredith Norris, 6-2, OH, Corunna (Mich.), Michigan Elite, Michigan State
Tyanna Omazic, 6-1, MB, Northwest (Olathe, Kan.), PVA, Illinois
Elizabeth Orf, 6-3, MB, Villa Duchesne (St. Louis, Mo.), Rockwood Thunder, Marquette
Brie Orr, 5-10, S-OH, Eagan (Minn.), Northern Lights, Iowa
Yossiana Pressley, 6-0, OH, Cypress Falls (Houston, Texas), Willowbrook, Baylor
Erika Pritchard, 6-2, OH, Middletown (Md.), Metro, Maryland
Dana Rettke, 6-8, MB, Riverside-Brookfield (Brookfield, Ill.),  1st Alliance, Wisconsin
Mikayla Robinson, 6-2, MB, Harvest Christian (Elgin, Ill.), Sky High, South Carolina
Emily Ryan, 6-4, MB, Academy of the Holy Cross (Kensington, Md.), Metro, UCLA
Stephanie Samedy, 6-2, RS, East Ridge (Clermont, Fla.), Top Select, Minnesota
Lauren Sanders, 6-5, MB, Glacier Park (Snohomish, Wash.), WVBA, Washington
Ashley Shook, 6-2, S, Plainfield (Ill.) Central, Sports Performance, Texas
Avery Skinner, 6-2, OH-MB, HSCYA (Houston, Texas), Houston Skyline, Kentucky
Katie Smoot, 6-1, OH, Notre Dame (Belmont, Calif.), Encore, Arizona
Lexi Sun, 6-2, OH, Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach, Calif.), Coast, Texas
Jazz Sweet, 6-3, RS, Shawnee Heights (Tecumseh, Kan.), Topeka Impact, Nebraska
Marijke Van Dyke, 6-1, OH, Munster (Ind.), Sports Performance, Illinois
Mariah Whalen, 6-0, OH, Newman Catholic (Wausau, Wis.), Wisconsin VBA, Wisconsin
Deja Williams, 6-1, MB, Peachtree Ridge (Suwanee, Ga.), A5, Florida State
Lauren Witte, 6-3, MB, Lake Catholic (Mentor Ohio), Eastside Cleveland, Ohio State