We have now taken a look at the top offensive players returning for the 2021 season and the top liberos dominating the back court. Now, how about the playmakers that make a lot of the magic happen.
There are two weeks left in the regular season, but there is no time like the present. Here are some of the top caliber setters in college volleyball in 2021. These are mostly based on stats and teams within the top 15.
Madison Lilley — Kentucky
Lilley is a three-time AVCA second-team All-American setter for the current No. 3 team in the country. The senior currently has 791 assists for the Wildcats and is averaging a high mark of 11.98 assists per set.
Sydney Hilley — Wisconsin
Hilley is one of two returning AVCA first-team All-American setters this season. The 2019 Big Ten Setter of the Year led the Badgers to the national title game last season and has been quarterbacking the No. 1 team in the country all season long this year. In her first three years, she had over 1300 assists with 1396 and 12.03 per set in 2019. This year, the Badgers have missed out on multiple games due to Covid-19, but she has 344 assists and is averaging about 10.75 assists per set.
Jhenna Gabriel — Texas
Gabriel is currently averaging 11.23 assists per set in the 2020-21 season, one where the Longhorns are 20-1.
Ella May Powell — Washington
Powell was one of the six setters to earn an AVCA All-American honor in 2019, making the third team. In 2019 she had 10.49 assists per set and 1,395 total assists. This year, Powell is averaging 10.41 assists per set with 635 total assists.
Nicklin Hames — Nebraska
We all know Nicklin Hames as the Husker's biggest energizer out on the court. However, she is a crazy good setter as well. Hames was an AVCA All-America Honorable Mention in 2018 and 2019, and this season, she is averaging 10.94 assists per set with 580 assists.
Mac Podraza — Ohio State
Podraza is only a sophomore this season for the Buckeyes, but as well all know, this team has emerged as a big-time competitor this season. Podraza is a big part of that. Podraza has 708 assists with 10.73 assists per set, and a very impressive .321 hitting percentage.
Gabby Blossom — Penn State
Blossom, a 2019 third-team AVCA All-American selection, led her team last season in assists (1,332) and assists/set (11.38). This year, she is another top setter in the NCAA with an average of 10.43 assists per set.
Marlie Monserez — Florida
Monserez returns to Florida as a junior this season and in her second year as the full-time setter. She sports some really impressive numbers this season as the quarterback of the current No. 7 team. She averages 10.46 assists per set, with a .438 hitting percentage and 60 kills. That is a lot of offensive production from a setter.
Hayley Bush — Purdue
Bush is another Big Ten setter pumping out more than 10 assists per set every single match. She currently has 601 assists and a .290 hitting percentage.
Melani Shaffmaster — Minnesota
Shaffmaster might only be a freshman on the Gophers team, but she has been stepping up this season as the starting setter and we should only see growth from here. Her .304 hitting percentage is the highest on the team.
Saige Ka'aha'aina-Torres — Utah
Ka'aha'aina-Torres returns after being named a 2019 AVCA All-American honorable mention setter and averaging 11.33 assists per set last season. This year, she is averaging 10.20 assists per set with 408 total assists on .308 hitting efficiency.
Tori Dilfer — Louisville
Dilfer sets for the No. 14 Cardinals in the ACC. She is currently averaging 10.75 assists per set with 344 total assists.