Quinn sets up Mount Hebron for another title run

November 01, 1992|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

Kelly Quinn is one of the brighter, young volleyball talents in Howard County. But don't tell her that.

"I have a lot to learn about the game," says Quinn, a sophomore. BTC "I've got to learn to read the [opposing] players better. I have more plays to learn, more positions to learn. I'd like to increase my jump. People always tell me I'm too hard on myself."

Maybe that's one of the reasons Quinn, in her first year as a starter for Mount Hebron, has emerged as one of the county's top players.

Through 11 matches, she is second in the league with 139 kills, nearly 13 per match. She also has been one of the Vikings' top defenders, averaging more than six passing points per match.

On a team whose youth and inexperience -- only senior setter Kai Scott returned as a starter -- has shown often during Mount Hebron's 7-4 season, Quinn has performed like a seasoned veteran.

If the Vikings make a serious run at their third consecutive 2A championship, Quinn surely will play a key role. Without her, they probably would not be in the running for another crown.

"I didn't know who she was last year, but on the first day of tryouts I could tell she was the one people had been telling me about," said coach Jeannine McCrumb.

Some names get around in club volleyball circles, and Quinn was turning heads not long after taking up the game as a seventh-grader. She started playing at the Deerfield club in Laurel, then at the Columbia Volleyball Club a year after that, when she decided to concentrate on volleyball exclusively.

When she came to Mount Hebron as a freshman, Quinn had the skills to play varsity. But two problems kept her in the background.

First, the Vikings returned nearly their entire starting lineup last year, and the team basically was set from the first day of practice. McCrumb toyed with the idea of making Quinn an alternate setter.

But before Quinn's role could be finalized, she gave in to a naggingback injury she had incurred a year earlier while playing soccer in gym class. She missed virtually the entire regular season and performed sparingly in the state playoffs.

This year, teamed up with Scott -- who leads the county with 265 assists -- Quinn has become one of the county's most dangerous outside hitters.

"She [Quinn] can take a poor set and turn it into something good, and she's a phenomenal passer," McCrumb says. "She makes everybody look good."

When she takes the floor, Quinn doesn't look imposing. At 5 feet 5, she is one of the smallest players on the team. But her 20-inch leap at the net makes her play much taller. Her polished hitting technique gives opposing blockers added trouble.

Quinn is quick to divert attention to her teammates. And she evaluates her performances with a critical eye.

"I kind of hope they don't look to me, because I'd like to see them do well," Quinn says. "When we get into a really bad jam and we're losing and we need a side out, that's when it comes down to me. I just cross my fingers and hope the ball goes over the net. Without Kai, I couldn't hit anything."

Next year, Quinn figures to take over Scott's role as the team leader.

"This year's juniors are going to be seniors next year, and I don't know how they're going to react to a junior asking them to do something," she says. "Hopefully, I'll be able to handle it. It's something else to look to. I never want to be satisfied. I want to keep climbing."

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