By Kirstin Olsen
No. 21 Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas) is cruising through the 3A Conference bracket with wins over North Lamar and Prosper. The Leopards' only losses this season came in August at preseason tournaments. Tulsa commit Nicole Newton and Iowa State commit Andie Malloy signed their letters of intent last week. Junior outside hitter/middle blocker Ebony Nwanebu had verbally committed to USC. The Leopards will face Sinton this week in the state semifinals.
No. 17 Bishop Moore (Orlando, Fla.) has only one loss this year, to No. 7 Berkeley Prep, and may get another shot at the Bucs in the state final. This week the Hornets will take on Bolles in the FHSAA 4A semifinals while Berkeley Prep faces No. 22 Cardinal Gibbons. The Hornets boast junior outside hitter Lindsey Owens, senior libero Alex Beecher, sophomore setter Allie Monserez and senior middle blocker Maura Mulligan.
No. 16 Palo Alto (Palo Alto, Calif.) has had an up-and-down year but is in contention for another state final appearance if they can make it through the CIF Central Coast Section. The Vikings face Salinas this week in the Division I semis. The Vikings' go-to hitters are 6-5 middle blocker Melanie Wade, a Washington commit, and 6-2 outside hitter Maddie Kuppe, a UConn commit. Senior setter and Pacific commit Kimmy Whitson has also starred this year.
No. 27 Marymount (Los Angeles, Calif.) has had a commendable season with a second-place finish at Durango, sixth at the Cal Challenge and second at Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions. The Sailors boast standout twins Lauren Fuller, a setter and Arizona commit, and Manon Fuller, an outside hitter and Virginia commit. Junior middle blocker Kaitlyn Edwards has stepped up her game as a key contributor this season.