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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | April 14, 2021

High-impact freshmen to watch in the 2020-21 NCAA volleyball tournament

The 2020-21 NCAA volleyball bracket, predicted

The 2020-21 DI women's volleyball tournament starts TOMORROW. Less than 24 hours until it all begins.

Before it starts, let's take a look at some high-impact freshmen that we will see in the tournament. These are not only the ones that consistently play or start, but instead, freshmen that are capable of taking over a game. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Emily Londot — Ohio State

Emily Londot

Londot was an obvious choice. This freshman has taken over many games this season as the Buckeyes' leading scorer, and is probably the biggest part of Ohio State's ascension into a national power this season. Londot just won Big Ten Freshman of the Year and made the Big Ten All-Freshman team. That freshman of the year award was highly contested because two other incredibly talented freshman made an impact in the conference this season (more on them to come). She was also named the AVCA Northeast Region Freshman of the Year. This season, she averaged 4.03 kills per set. Londot's performance in the tournament will be a huge factor in Ohio State's success. 

2. Taylor Landfair — Minnesota

Taylor Landfair

Landfair has become a phenomenal offensive counterpart to Stephanie Samedy this season for the Gophers. I can only imagine how much of an impact she will make for this team if this is what she is accomplishing now as a freshman. Landfair also made the Big Ten first team this season and the All-Freshman team. She also took home AVCA North Region Freshman of the Year. This freshman outside hitter averaged three kills per set.

3. Devyn Robinson — Wisconsin

Devyn Robinson

Robinson is an impact player for the No. 1 team in the country, and was amongst the top scorers every single match for the Badgers. And by top scorers, we're talking some of the best players in the country, including Dana Rettke, the Big Ten Player of the Year. Robinson has a .427 hitting percentage, second only to Rettke. She too earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman team and made first-team all-Big Ten. 

4. Meg Brown — Pepperdine 

Meg Brown

Brown is among the top scorers for Pepperdine. She averaged 2.4 kills per set on .324 hitting as a middle blocker. In the Waves' big win over BYU, she notched nine kills and in their five-set loss to the Cougars, she had 11 kills. She also was a contributor in the Waves' five-set loss to Baylor where she had 11 kills, three digs and a block. 

5. Hattie Monson — Notre Dame

Hattie Monson

Monson might not take over a game offensively, but she is certainly a high-impact freshman in the tournament. Monson is a top-notch libero and averaged 4.34 digs per set this season, an impressive mark. The Fighting Irish depend on Monson to play lights out in the backcourt, and she often does. In their five-set win over Pittsburgh she had a match-high 23 digs. In her very first collegiate match against Louisville, now a No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament, she had 20 digs and three aces. Monson made the ACC All-Freshman team as well. 

6. Anna DeBeer  — Louisville
 

Staying within the ACC, now we have the ACC Freshman of the Year Anna DeBeer, the leading scorer for Louisville. She averaged 3.17 kills per set and 3.62 points per set. She too proved capable of taking over matches. She tallied a team-high 22 kills with three blocks in the Cardinals' big win over Pittsburgh.

7. Madi Skinner — Kentucky

Madi Skinner

The second-seeded Kentucky Wildcats also have a high-impact freshman this season. The younger sister of Avery Skinner — Madi Skinner. Skinner earned herself a spot on the All-SEC team this season as well as the All-Freshman team. She averaged 2.52 kills per set on .374 hitting. The Wildcats will be looking to do what has never been done before in Kentucky history, and that is winning a national title. Skinner will be a large factor in their success. 

8. Elli McKissock — Florida

Elli McKissock

McKissock is another libero on the list that has made a big difference this season. She notched 3.84 digs per set for a top-10 team and tallied 14 aces. Not only that — she is a huge energizer for the Gators. McKissock made the All-Freshman SEC team alongside Skinner. 

9.  Iman Ndiaye — UCLA

Ndiaye has emerged as a big-time player for the Bruins  as one of the top scorers. She knocked down an average of 2.13 kills per set on .305 hitting. That is the highest hitting efficiency out of the Bruins' top three scorers. She made the All-Pac-12 team this season as well as the All-Freshman team. 

10. Madi Endsley — Washington

Madi Endsley

Endsley is a part of what I'd call a triple offensive threat at Washington. Some of makes Washington so good this season is so much depth and so many options offensively. Endlsey is a big part of that. She tallied 2.7 kills per set and joins Samantha Drechsel and Claire Hoffman as the three leading scorers. Her performance is a vital part of the Huskies' success. Endsley also earned a spot on the All-Pac-12 team and All-Freshman team. 

Honorable Mentions: 

Lindsey Miller — Notre Dame
Annie Cate Fitzpatrick — Penn State
Emma Ammerman — Pepperdine
Melani Shaffmaster — Minnesota
Rylee Rader — Ohio State
Taylor Trammell — Purdue
Melanie Parra —Texas
Emily Brown — Missouri
Aubrey Hamilton — Notre Dame
Madi Allen — BYU 
Leilani Dodson — BYU
Ellie Bolton — Creighton 
Sahara Maruska — Rice

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