Raiders are hungry to make return to regionals 1993 high school volleyball preview Atholton

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

After a frustrating season in which Atholton missed out on the Class 3A playoffs to several weaker Baltimore teams, the Raiders should be in good position for a return to the regionals.

Dropping back into Class 2A, the Raiders no longer have to worry about posting a strong season and staying home at playoff time.

"As a coach, I want to see us get back to the playoffs," said Raiders coach Jon Peterson, whose squad did not play enough 3A and 4A teams to accumulate the points necessary to edge the city schools last season.

Just to get into the regionals last year, the Raiders would have needed at least a 13-2 record. Instead, they finished 9-6.

"Now, we're not in that situation anymore. We're looking forward to going back to the playoffs," Peterson said. "With only one starter returning, we do look to maintain the same record we had last year, and that should probably be good enough for us to get in."

Peterson labels this a rebuilding year, but the Raiders do have a lot of potential.

"Certainly, we're very inexperienced," said Peterson, whose squad finished 8-6 and in fifth place in the Howard County league. "When you can only put one returning starter on the floor on opening day, that's what people call a rebuilding year. I'm just hoping we can progress rapidly."

Versatile 5-foot-11 senior Robin McGraw is the returning starter. A veteran who can hit with power as well as set, McGraw recorded 28 kills in a single match last season.

Senior Nicole Blankenship, a 5-9 hitter, also will start after limited action last season. Junior Amanda Williams, a 5-7 hitter/setter, also could be a starter.

Stacy Emburey, a 5-9 senior, should go in the front row. Freshman Madigan Marth, a 5-8 hitter who also can set, should earn a starting spot.

Twin 5-2 backcourt specialists Stefanie Bartro and Stacie Bartro as well as junior Kim Ruprecht handle the defense. Ruprecht, 5-4, could see time in the front row as well.

Rounding out the Raiders team are six juniors, hitters Autumn Barna, Kendra Gottsman and Kelly Stewart, setter Jaime Naecker and defensive specialists Allison Gleit and Melissa Hill.

Peterson said all those backcourt specialists could be the key to the season.

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