Every Lion must play every role Lack of standout forces juggling Howard 1993 high school volleyball preview

September 10, 1993|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,Contributing Writer

New Howard High volleyball coach Craig O'Connell says there are no Jen Harron-like players on the Lions' roster this fall.

Harron, who dominated matches last fall with her kills, has gone on to play at the collegiate level, much to the delight of the county's second-tier volleyball teams.

Without such a dominating player who could carry a team to a 5-8 record, as Harron did last year, O'Connell is taking the approach of playing all 12 members of his team at every position.

"Since we're a collection of girls without any special weapons and are very small, we will have a straight rotation with nobody specializing anywhere," O'Connell said.

O'Connell, who coached Howard's junior varsity volleyball team the past three seasons, is reunited with three seniors he coached as freshmen -- Sharon Long, Cheryl Banach and Christy Donohue.

That trio of Lions experience is joined by seniors Maisha Wilhite and Leslie Harmon, who are playing the sport for the first time. Long, Banach and Donohue are three of Howard's five returning players.

O'Connell, who also coaches girls basketball and tennis at Howard, was able to convince two of his other athletes to give volleyball a try.

Juniors Mona Jackson, who O'Connell recruited off the basketball court and who he says has the ability to develop into an All-County player with a year's worth of work and experience, and Stephanie Mason, a solid setter, should see plenty of playing time.

"Mona has never played before, but if she sticks with it, she has the potential to be real good," O'Connell said. "She clears the net like nobody I've ever coached, and she has a real nice serve. I think she is more frustrated with herself for not picking up parts of the game as quickly as she would like."

Two other juniors with junior varsity experience -- Lena Mummert and Nikki Savoy -- will compete.

Rounding out the Lions team are sophomores Naomi Moore and Jessica Gershman and freshman Rachel Gershman, whose serving ability earned her a spot on the roster.

Making matters difficult for the Lions is their opener Sept. 21 against county champion Centennial.

"Personally, I like the John Thompson approach of playing a beatable team first in order to gain confidence," O'Connell said. "The Centennial game may not be a good indicator as to how our season will turn out."

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