Gladiators aiming to improve upon breakthrough year Another trip to final four? Road starts against No. 1 Glenelg 1993 high school volleyball preview

September 10, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

The Howard County volleyball schedule does no favors for Glenelg this season.

The Gladiators start at the top -- with No. 1 Centennial Tuesday. And it doesn't get any easier. Not only do they have to play the powerhouse Eagles first, but they also have to face them again nine days later.

That first meeting, originally scheduled for mid-October, was pushed ahead so Centennial could play in the North Caroline Tournament on Oct. 16.

"I don't mind having them early," said Glenelg coach Marlene Janis, whose squad finished second to the Eagles in the county league last fall. "But to have to see what happens in that game and come right back and play them the next week -- I'd like to have time to work on some things."

Luckily for the Gladiators, seven players return from last season, so there's not too much rebuilding to do. They should pick up right where they left off.

Janis led the Gladiators to a turnaround season last fall. They rebounded from 6-9 in 1991 to go 13-5 and make their first appearance in the state final four.

DTC The Gladiators fell in the state Class 2A semifinals to eventual state champ Mount Hebron. Now, Mount Hebron has moved up to Class 3A, although the two appear to be neck-and-neck in the Howard County race.

The premier player for the Gladiators is All-County senior Marisa Davidson, a 6-0 hitter. Not only can she hit with power, but Davidson also can pass, block and serve with the best.

Janis also has high hopes for Marisa's sister, Elisa Davidson, a 5-8 sophomore, who can hit and set. Quick with a good vertical jump, Elisa moves to the starting lineup after coming off the bench in most games as a freshman.

Rounding out the starting lineup are four more varsity veterans -- 5-9 senior Emily Kessler, 5-8 junior Susan Geisler, 5-8 senior Kerry Rutter and 5-5 sophomore Cara Franklin. Sonya Cook, a senior defensive specialist who also returns, will see action, too.

Moving up from JV, six juniors add depth for the Gladiators. Ama Brown, Tina Avgerinos, Jaime Marshall and Christina Johnson will see time in the front row while Sandy Gray and Gina Turkel should see action in the back row.

"Last year, we had lots of hitters, but we had trouble passing and setting," said Janis. "This year, we'll have a little bit of everything. We'll have all the skills, and we'll be a more well-rounded team."

Janis expects the Gladiators to boost last season's record. She also gives them a shot at beating Centennial and ending its 2-year-old, 43-match winning streak.

"Just the fact that we have that kind of well-rounded team with the diversity of skill and we have quite a few players who have club-ball experience should give us a good season," said Janis.

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