Uttenreither is big hit for Catonsville Senior serves up impressive stats

September 29, 1992|By Tara Finnegan | Tara Finnegan,Staff Writer

Upon watching Catonsville's Karla Uttenreither practice her spikes and kills during volleyball practice, a Shakespearean scholar might recall a line from the play "Hamlet."

"A hit, a very palpable hit!"

Uttenreither, a Shakespeare fan because of the high intensity and emotional drama of his writing, is an outside hitter for the Comets who is known countywide for her power.

The senior has an extended approach on her spikes, which sends the ball explosively off her fingers. The result is only a tragedy for the opposing team.

"She's a very powerful hitter," said Catonsville coach Debbie Clem. "She was the type of player who loves sports and loves to get better."

Her statistics prove the power.

Last season, Uttenreither led the Comets with 154 kills, 44 aces and an 83.6 serving percentage.

In the Comets' season-opening win against Patapsco, Uttenreither served with 92-percent accuracy (11-for-12) and had seven spikes and three kills.

"And she wasn't really hitting it that hard," Clem said.

"Most of my strength comes from practicing all the time," said Uttenreither, who became interested in the sport by watching older teams.

"I was impressed with how hard people hit the ball and just the strength of the whole sport. It requires a lot of skills and cooperation put together."

In middle school, Uttenreither began playing for Capital Volleyball Club, a metro-area club team that competes in nationwide tournaments December through July.

Uttenreither made the varsity team at Catonsville in her freshman year and saw a lot of playing time.

"It's really unusual for a freshman to make the varsity and play," Uttenreither said. "Usually you don't play very much."

But making the varsity was only half of the battle.

"I was really intimidated by everyone. A couple people blatantly disliked me," said Uttenreither. "I felt a lot of pressure . . . Basically I wanted to prove to everyone that I could play just as good as anyone out there."

"A lot of kids see her give 100 percent and even the JV kids look up to her," Clem said. "She doesn't just play for herself, she plays for the team."

Catonsville traditionally has been strong in volleyball, and Uttenreither hopes to carry on that expectation through this season.

"I want to leave the team with a winning attitude," Uttenreither said. "However far we go, I want them to think they did the best they could do and be proud of that. We should be able to do as well as we did last year."

Last year, the Comets went 14-0 in the regular season and finished with a 14-1 overall record and a No. 6 ranking in The Baltimore Sun's top 10 poll.

Uttenreither said she has been contacted by many Division I and II coaches and hopes to play volleyball and study genetics in college.

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