At 6-foot-1, Saegertown senior Will Phelan was rarely the tallest guy on the court. But that changed every time Phelan left his feet.
Phelan’s incredible vertical, mixed with his ability to windmill on the ball, made him one of the most feared hitters in District 10. That’s why he was voted District 10’s Region 1 Player of the Year by the region’s coaches, it was announced recently.
Phelan finished the season with 282 kills during the Panthers’ 15 dual matches. That’s an average of 18.8 kills per match. The Juniata College recruit was also remarkably accurate, maintaining a hitting percentage of .405 in dual matches.
Phelan was especially fearsome in the playoffs, recording 28 kills in a District 10 semifinal win over Cambridge Springs; a whopping 37 kills in a four-set loss to Meadville in the D-10 championship match; and 29 kills against Ambridge in the opening round of the state playoffs.
And he wasn’t just a hitting machine. Phelan was also among Saegertown’s leaders in aces (32), blocks (37) and digs (136).
Phelan was joined on the all-district first team by teammate Raef Rhoades, who was one of three setters to make the first team. Rhoades finished the season with 447 assists in dual matches (29.8 per match) and chipped in 105 digs, 47 kills and 24 blocks.
The team with the largest presence on the all-star squads was, unsurprisingly, Meadville. The Region 1, District 10 and state Class 2A champions had three on the first team in Aiden Miller, Paul Leech and Brendan Leech, while senior middle hitter Tucker Watson made the second team.
Miller was every bit the hitting threat that Phelan was this season, as the Bulldog senior proved with some head-turning performances during the Bulldogs’ run through the Class 2A bracket.
The senior finished the campaign with 398 kills and a hitting percentage of .315. And he was a very well-rounded player, adding 59 aces, 31 blocks, 182 digs and 26 assists to his resume.
Paul Leech helped set the table for a 20-0 run for the Bulldogs this season, putting up 740 assists for the year. The junior also developed into an important weapon at the net for Meadville, collecting 80 kills as well as 41 blocks. And he held his own in the back row, bringing up 166 digs.
Speaking of the back row, Bulldogs senior libero Brendan Leech was the team’s defensive anchor, leading the team with 216 digs.
Watson was second on the team in kills with 147 while leading the team in blocks with 42.
One other Crawford County player also made the first-team in Cochranton’s versatile junior setter Alex Jackson. He piled up 754 assists on the season while also dishing out 80 kills at the net, 27 aces from the baseline and 155 digs from the back row.
McDowell junior outside hitter Logan Hering rounded out the All-District 10 first team.
Second-team all-stars included two Cambridge Springs standouts in junior middle Lance Welker and junior setter Jared Taylor; Maplewood senior middle Jordan Hollabaugh; Conneaut Area senior libero Tanner Bova; and two McDowell players, senior middle Collin Quattro and sophomore setter Nate Hayes.