In the past three years, no Carroll volleyball player has dominated the game quite like Liberty's Kelly Foreman.
At 6-feet-1, the senior rarely meets an opponent who can match her height or hitting power. She has added more finesse to her game this season, with the ability to place shots more effectively and catch opponents off-guard with dinks rather than spikes.
Despite the All-County and All-Conference honors she has compiledthe past two years, one thing had eluded her and her Liberty Lions teammates -- until this year.
Earlier this month, Liberty knocked off North Carroll in three straight games and has since remained undefeated in the county at 4-0. It was North Carroll's first setback in acounty match since 1988 and Liberty's first victory over North Carroll since Coach Helen Derwin took over the team seven years ago.
Clearly, the balance of power has shifted in Carroll volleyball.
"I've always felt we were in the shadow of North Carroll," Foreman said.
"My freshman and sophomore year they beat up on us pretty good and they've always been the big, strong powerhouse. To finally beat them was awesome."
Foreman began playing volleyball her freshman year. She began on the junior varsity team that year and moved up to varsity her sophomore year.
The All-County and All-Conference accolades soon followed.
"She has improved so much and a lot of it has been own her own, putting pressure on herself to be successful," Derwin said.
"Kelly gets focused on winning and adjusts well to differentsituations. Not only can she hit well, but she also has learned to read defenses and use dinks and place shots. She's very versatile in that she can play the front row and also is one of my best setters."
Much of Foreman's improvement came over the summer when she went toa volleyball camp at the Naval Academy.
"We did a lot of repetitions of basic stuff and learned some different offenses and defenses,"Foreman said. "The main thing (in improving her game) is experience and mental play. There are times when I know the other team is thinking hit and I know to dink."
After 10 games this season, the Lions are 8-2 overall with a 7-1 mark in the Central Maryland Conference. Foreman and the Lions aren't going to be happy with just the county title.
"I think we can go all the way," Foreman said.
"You alwayshave to be optimistic. We should do real well in regionals and not only reach states, but contend."
What's perhaps most amazing about Foreman's success in volleyball is that it is like a sidelight to her.
Foreman's primary sport is basketball, which she has played since the first grade.
"Volleyball is fun; basketball is work. I really enjoy volleyball a lot but I know I'm going to play basketball in college," Foreman said.
Rest assured she enjoy basketball as well. Her list of accomplishments in the sport exceeds those in volleyball.Last year, she was The Sun's Player of the Year in Carroll County, averaging nearly 15 points a game, and was a first-team selection in the county and CMC.
She has thrown around the idea of playing both sports in college, but it won't likely happen until after her freshman year.
Foreman hasn't pinpointed a particular college to attend. A number of colleges have shown interest in her basketball and volleyball talents.
West Chester University is one school in consideration and she's leaning toward majoring in physical education.
The options are there.
For now, the question is, will she spike or will she dink?
BY: Glenn P. Graham