Volleyball team all set at AACC Pioneers settle on Boddy as setter

September 17, 1992|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

The Anne Arundel Community College volleyball team may have lost its best setter, but it gained a new philosophy.

"Everyone can set" is the rallying cry heard at practice these days, now that Stacey Pirotte has taken her immense passing skills to the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

What Pirotte also did was transform sophomore Josie Boddy from last year's Most Improved Player to one of this season's most important.

The Arundel High School graduate has gone from being an accomplished hitter to a novice setter, after her coaches had auditioned everyone for the vacated role.

"It's been a challenge. It's been different," said Boddy, 19, a co-captain with sophomore Marlene Oltman and one of the team's better servers. "Last year, I used to set during practice, so it wasn't totally new. But it's different in a game situation."

When asked if she enjoyed playing the position, Boddy said, "Yeah, now I do, now that I've gotten the hang of it."

She wasn't the only one who looked comfortable as a setter in yesterday's home-opener against Cecil Community College. With Oltman of Annapolis and freshman Laura Sutton of Chesapeake doing most of the passing at the net, Anne Arundel (4-3) needed less than 30 minutes to rout the (0-1) Hawks, 15-1, 15-3.

Boddy contributed an ace in the initial game that extended the Pioneers' advantage to 9-1, and her first set soon after led to AACC's 12th point.

Anne Arundel had four aces during the first game, including two from Meade graduate Jessica Maczis.

The second game featured an Oltman ace, a Boddy spike that returned service to the Pioneers, and 11 straight Anne Arundel points -- with Sutton serving -- that broke a 3-3 tie.

Second-year coach Bee Manley, who went to her bench after the first game, had a difficult time evaluating Anne Arundel's overall play against an overmatched opponent.

"We're coming along, improving with every game," she said.

This type of progress is expected of Boddy as she grows more comfortable as a setter.

"She's doing real well, picking up on it real fast," said Anne Arundel assistant coach Betty Hession. "She's the type of kid who absorbs everything and wants to learn.

"She and the other setters come in an hour before practice and do the drills. They're all serious about this year, knowing that winning won't be easy."

Certainly not as easy as last season, when the Pioneers went 26-8-1 and placed second in the Region XX tournament. But the expectations haven't fallen that dramatically.

"It's a good team," said Manley. "We just need time to work together. We have moments where we play great, and moments when we look like we've never played before. But I'm optimistic. I think we're going to put it together and have a nice team."

Boddy said, "Last year, we had more power, but this year we have a more rounded team. I think we'll do pretty good; maybe not as good as last year, but we'll have a good season."

To do so will mean having to replace not only Pirotte, but also 6-foot-2 middle hitter Jen Erlandson, who has joined her former Severna Park teammate at UMBC.

The tallest players, sophomore Melissa Dombkiewicz and freshman Penni Woolford, both stand 5-foot-10. But height isn't the major concern here.

Again, Pirotte's name comes up.

"Setting is what is very difficult to replace," Hession said. "We've been taking girls who have never set and have them doing it."

And not everyone on the team was a standout at her high school.

Mary Weakland, a 5-foot-7 freshman hitter, received her only exposure to volleyball in elementary school and at the recreational level. She's the oldest player on the team at 30, and its leading candidate to replace Boddy as most improved.

"I told her the average age on this team was between 18 and 20, but that didn't stop her," Hession said. "She's out here for every practice and she fits in well. And there's been a dramatic improvement since her first day. I'm proud of her."

Weakland, who attended high school in Butler, Pa., enrolled at the college this summer and is majoring in liberal arts. She heard about the team, decided to try out, "and here I am," she said.

"So far, I've been able to keep up with everyone. There was a little bit of a adjustment, just like for everyone else getting in shape for the season. I'm enjoying it a lot."

The newcomer expected to make the greatest impact this year is Woolford, a middle hitter from Queen Anne's.

"She's one of the star players we'll highlight," Hession said.

Being able to alleviate the worries at the setter position will determine the number of highlights for Anne Arundel this year.



Josie Boddy, sophomore, setter, Arundel

Melissa Dombkiewicz, sophomore, hitter, St. Mary's

Jessica Maczis, sophomore, hitter, Meade

Leesa McMickle, sophomore, hitter, South River

Marlene Oltman, sophomore, setter/hitter, Annapolis

Wendy Scheleur, freshman, setter, Northeast

Laura Sutton, freshman, setter, Chesapeake

Mary Weakland, freshman, hitter, Butler (Pa.)

Penni Woolford, freshman, hitter, Queen Anne's

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