1993 All-anne Arundel County Volleyball Teams

November 23, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko

The first team at a glance

COACH OF THE YEAR

Linda Taylor, Archbishop Spalding -- Wasn't this supposed to be a rebuilding year at Archbishop Spalding? Taylor certainly thought so after losing nine players to graduation, including first-team All-County hitter/setter Amy Langville. Only three players returned. The handwriting was on the wall -- until the Cavaliers erased it by winning nine matches and a second consecutive Catholic League Tournament championship. "They worked hard every day and they knew what their weaknesses were, and that's what they concentrated on," said Taylor, who completed her sixth season at Spalding. "Once our passing came together, everything started to work out. And with so many new players, we had to work on team unity. It's a big thing in volleyball; you have to know your players and how they play." The Cavaliers started out 0-2, including a 3-1 loss to Seton Keough, the team that Spalding later defeated to win the Catholic League Tournament. The Cavaliers lost to Seton Keough twice during the regular season, as the Gators claimed the regular-season title. "Keough sat there and watched us play in the tournament, and we played totally different against them than we had against Mercy [in the semifinals], and I did that on purpose," Taylor said. Included in Spalding's victories were 3-2 and 3-0 decisions over county public schools Chesapeake and Northeast, respectively. "This was definitely my most challenging year as a coach," Taylor said.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

* Susan Wren, Severna Park -- Coach Tim Dunbar described Wren's importance to the team by saying, "If she went down, we were dead." The reason went beyond Wren's skills as a setter. Dunbar entered the fall with an inexperienced backup, junior Melissa Snyder, and she missed most of the regular season after having her appendix removed. Unlike last season, when Dunbar had Wren playing behind All-Metro setter Jaime Pirotte, an injury a poor outing from his starter would have been devastating. Wren, who moved to Severna Park as a sophomore after twice leading her high school team in Alabama to the state tournament, made a lasting impression on Western coach Shirley Williams last week. "Who's that setter?," she asked. "She can put the ball on a dime." Wren's accuracy and consistency made it possible for players like Julie Kasprzak, Jen Conner and Holly McKlveen to rack up the kills, and made it possible for the Falcons to win a third consecutive 4A state title. She finished with 527 assists, and had 16 kills and 19 blocks going into the state final. At the service line, she was 233-for-267 with 64 aces. "She's definitely our most valuable player," Dunbar said. "When you ask which person you could least afford to do without, where would we be without Susan? She was always so darned consistent. And she is, as a human being, an absolute class act. I don't know how many teachers I've had come up and say, 'You have one of the nicest students on your team in Susan Wren.' "

ALL-COUNTY FIRST TEAM

* Jen Conner, Severna Park, senior, hitter -- Conner, a four-year starter, took over matches with her hitting, serving and defense. She registered 202 kills, had 38 aces and was 141-for-161 serving. And her digs frustrated the area's best hitters. "Jen is the most explosive player I've got," said coach Tim Dunbar, who moved Conner (5 feet 9) from the middle to the outside this year. "When Jen is playing at her best, she has few peers. She does a lot of the things that go unnoticed by the untrained eye."

* Casey Czako, Northeast, senior, hitter -- Czako, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter, carried Northeast into the regional finals with some incredible numbers. The most prominent: 245 kills. Czako also had 41 blocks and 45 aces. She was one of only two returning players at Northeast in what was supposed to be a down season. "She'll be missed," said coach Dan Collins.

* Katie Forthofer, Broadneck, junior, hitter -- Before the season, coach Glenn Brainer called Forthofer "an emerging star," and she proved him right. The 6-foot hitter, who played both in the middle and outside, registered a team-high 163 kills during the regular season and led the Bruins into the regional tournament. She also served at 89-percent efficiency and had 39 aces. "She stepped right on up, and she'll really be a player to watch next year," Brainer said.

* Heather Hutson, Glen Burnie, junior, setter/hitter -- When Hutson missed a couple of matches with an injury, Glen Burnie's offense fell apart. Her passing, hitting and leadership were too valuable to lose. The 5-9 junior had 177 kills and served at 89-percent efficiency with 65 aces. "She's an excellent player," coach Juanita Milani said before the season. "She looks better and better all the time."

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