There are very few high school girls who can dominate a volleyball game.
North Carroll junior Joy Huber is one of them.
Huber has the total package to take over a match. She has good size, 5 feet 11, superb athletic ability, can leap, loves the sport, works extra hours after practice and hates to lose.
Huber used all those attributes to convert 248 of 322 spikes into points for the 11-4 Panthers this season. North Carroll won the Carroll County championship and shared the Central Maryland Conference title with Liberty.
Tonight at 6, the high-flying Huber and the Panthers open play in the state 2A, Region I volleyball tournament against Allegany at North Carroll.
Panthers coach Linda Richards said: "Joy can do everything we do, she has tremendous athletic ability, she wants to be the best, is the best blocker I've had in 20 years of coaching and is easy to work with."
Huber also works hard to develop communication with her teammates on balls that two or three players can reach.
"At the beginning of the season, we didn't talk to each other enough," Huber said. "Now everybody talks, and it's been a major reason for our success. If I make a mistake on a play involving communication, I want to correct it. If someone else makes a mistake, I want to help them."
The Panthers peaked in their final match of the regular season Oct. 29 at Liberty.
They defeated the defending
county champions in four games, adding further fuel to the volleyball rivalry between the two schools.
"It was great to beat Liberty," said Huber, "because they were holding their heads so high in the sky."
If there is any flaw in Huber's game, it is inconsistency on her serve.
Richards has tried everything to improve Huber's serve and remains perplexed that her star player would have trouble with one of the easier
phases of the game.
"It must be in her head," Richards said. "She's an excellent hitter and you use the same motion to serve. Joy keeps working on her serve and has shown some improvement. She got 14 in a row in the other day in practice."
Huber also is mystified by her inability to become a good server.
"Coach Richards says the easiest thing to do in the game [serving] is the hardest for me to master," Huber said. "As easy as it is for me to spike, that's how hard it is for me to serve."
The North Carroll star got interested in volleyball after moving from the Edmondson school district in Baltimore City to the Hampstead area.
"I looked up to Lisa Garland who was a big spiker for North Carroll when I came here," Huber said. "Then our JV coach [Bonnie Clendaniel] asked me to come out for the team in the ninth grade."
Huber was good enough to play on the varsity as a sophomore, beginning a high-school career that has left opponents ducking for cover when she goes high in the air to slam home a winner.