1993 ALL-Metro volleyball team

November 29, 1993

COACH OF THE YEAR:

In her ninth season, Marlene Janis led No. 3 Glenelg to its first Class 2A state championship.

A former All-American at Catonsville Community College, she benefited this year from the presence of All-Metro hitter Marisa Davidson. But Janis points out that "volleyball is a team sport, and you can't just win with one player. Even though she's one of our focal points, we had to work together."

The Gladiators did just that, compiling a 17-2 record. The only losses came against eventual 3A state-champion Centennial early in the season. This, despite having just one returning starter. "My biggest challenge was getting them to believe that they were as good as I knew they could be," Janis said. "I knew they had talent and they've struggled some in the past with their confidence. They had never won a state championship before, but I believed they had the potential this year."

In the state semifinals, Glenelg won the first two games, then watched as Loch Raven fought back to even the score. In the fifth game, with the momentum clearly on Loch Raven's side, Glenelg jumped out to a 9-4 lead and won easily, 15-5. "I emphasized the finality of that last game, and I felt they could handle that pressure," Janis said.

She was right.

HOW THE TEAM WAS PICKED

The Baltimore Sun 1993 All-Metro Volleyball Team was selected by Roch Eric Kubatko after consultation with staff writers and area coaches.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: SUSAN WREN, SEVERNA PARK

Severna Park coach Tim Dunbar said Susan Wren, a 5-foot-8 senior setter, was "definitely our most valuable player," and it's easy to understand why.

Begin with her statistics. Wren compiled 527 assists, feeding the ball with uncanny accuracy to the likes of Julie Kasprzak, Jen Conner, Holly McKlveen and Jennifer Mitchell, who combined for 530 kills. She registered 20 kills and 23 blocks, and was 233-for-267 serving with a team-high 64 aces, as the No. 1 Falcons claimed their third consecutive Class 4A state championship.

But her importance went beyond numbers. She was the only experienced setter on the team, and for most of the season, the only healthy one. If Wren had been injured, or had struggled, "we were dead," Dunbar said. Wren admitted that being the only setter provided "a little pressure," but she's used to it. "That's how it was on my club team [Columbia] this year. I didn't have a backup there, either," she said.

Wren moved to Severna Park after twice leading her Alabama high school team to the state tournament. She was a reserve last season, patiently waiting her turn behind All-Metro setter Jaime Pirotte. She played sparingly, but made an impact each time she stepped on the court. "It was big adjustment," she said. "It was hard, but it made me work harder. And I knew this year would be my year."

It certainly was. "When you ask which person you could least afford to do without, where would we be without Susan?" Dunbar asked. "She was always so darned consistent."

Western coach Shirley Williams saw Wren in the state semifinals and said, "She can put the ball on a dime."

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