Team-by-team Capsules

September 12, 1994|By Katherine Dunn

Atholton Raiders

1993 record: 5-9. Coach: Sybil Kessinger.

Top players: Jennifer Ponzette, Sr., OH; Amanda Williams, Sr., OH; Madigan Marth, So., OH; Eileen McQuenney, Jr., S.

Outlook: Two newcomers will try to get the Raiders to at least over .500. Kessinger, who coached Chincoteague High School in Virginia to two unbeaten seasons and four regional playoff appearances in four years, and Ponzette, a talented transfer from Palotti, could lift the Raiders into the top half of the standings after landing just two notches from the bottom last season. A solid all-around player and a strong outside hitter, the 5-9 Ponzette perfectly complements the Raiders' top returning player, the 5-7 Williams. Williams moves to the outside after spending last season as a setter. McQuenney moves up from the junior varsity to take over the setting spot. Marth, junior middle hitter Ariana Lowenbach and senior outside hitter Kelly Stewart should grab the other starting positions.

Centennial Eagles

1993 record: 22-1. Coach: Mike Bossom.

Top players: Krisha Svehla, Sr., MH; Chrissy Sfakianos, Sr., D; Sheri Kujawa, Sr., S; Kelly West, Sr., OH; Jen West, Jr., OH.

Outlook: The more things change, the more they should stay the same for the three-time defending state Class 3A champions, who finished last season ranked No. 2 behind Severna Park, the only team to beat them. Former assistant Bossom takes over for Bill Shook, who moved up to the college ranks, but the Howard County champs come back loaded. Despite graduating All-Metro star and Co-Howard County Player of the Year Carlyn Cangiano, the Eagles return her counterpart in powerhouse 6-foot-1 middle hitter Svehla, a second-team All-Metro pick, as well as two strong outside hitters in the West sisters. Sophomore 5-11 middle hitter Meredith Price will step into Cangiano's spot while 6-0 senior Michelle Dugan, a key blocker, and 5-9 junior outside hitter Katie McCulloch add to the Eagles' tremendous net presence.

Glenelg Gladiators

1993 record: 17-2. Coach: Marlene Janis.

Top players: Elisa Davidson, Jr., OH/S; Susan Geisler, Sr., OH/S; Tina Avgerinos, Sr., MH; Jaime Marshall, Sr., OH.

Outlook: The Gladiators have a tough act to follow after turning in their best season ever with a Class 2A state title, the No. 3 ranking and All-Metro honors for Janis and Marisa Davidson. "Last year, we centered a lot of our play around Marisa," said Janis, in her 10th season. "With the talent we have, with three starters coming back, we will have more options. The way we play will be a bit different. We have more people who can put the ball away although obviously they're not as strong as Marisa was." Elisa Davidson, the only underclassman on last year's All-County team, and Geisler will pull double duty as they did last year while Avgerinos, Marshall, junior outside hitter Cara Franklin and sophomore middle hitter Andrea Marks round out the starting lineup. The Gladiators remain a strong defensive team and they will be shooting for another trip to the state final four.

Hammond Golden Bears

1993 record: 10-5. Coach: Ken McLaughlin.

Top players: Tina Wilmer, Jr., OH/S; Misha'el Shabrami, Sr., D; Autumn Roby, Sr., D.

Outlook: Graduation took a bigger toll on the Bears than any other team in the league. Five starters are gone including All-County star Sonia Keiner, who powered the Bears to third-place tie in Howard County and a final No. 13 ranking. This year's team will look a lot different, said McLaughlin, an assistant last season. "We are rebuilding. We're not tall.

don't have a whole lot of power like we did last year. What we are going for is defense. We'll have dig the ball up and just let them make the mistakes." Two of the Bears' top returning players are backcourt defensive specialists, Shabrami and Roby. Wilmer is the only starter back in the lineup, but 5-10 junior middle hitter Alison Pflugard will add some power while juniors Marisha McLaughlin and Brandy Peaker take over as setters.

Howard Lions

1993 record: 1-14. Coach: Craig O'Connell.

Top players: Jessica Gershman, Sr., OH; Stephanie Maison, Sr., S; Kristie Dymond, So., MH; Catherine Lohri, Sr., S.

Outlook: Despite losing four starters, including senior Mona Jackson to knee surgery, O'Connell expects a better season this fall. The Lions have better skills, but they still will have to rely a lot on their backcourt defense, because only two players stand over 5-6. At 5-6, Gershman is the top returning hitter with 5-9 Dymond expected to add more power. Maison gets some help with the setting chores from 5-11 exchange student Lohri. Sophomore Rachael Grantham also will see plenty of action. Although the Lions don't have the power to rival the county's best, O'Connell is encouraged by the improvement. "Whether that translates into more victories, I don't know, because we usually lost our matches in three games. This year, we might end up with a lopsided record, but we might win a game or two in most matches."

Mount Hebron Vikings

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