Davidson continues her hit parade

October 05, 1994|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

When Marisa Davidson arrived at Villanova, she only wanted to win a starting spot on the Wildcats' volleyball team. She never dreamed she soon would rank among the nation's top hitters.

In the latest NCAA Division I volleyball rankings released Thursday, Davidson stood 18th in hitting percentage at .394.

A week earlier, Davidson ranked fourth in the nation at .463. That placed her No. 1 in the Big East Conference.

"I didn't think about anything like that coming in," said Davidson, who led Glenelg to the state Class 2A title last fall. "I knew I wanted to earn a starting position and I did. Now, I just want to play consistently and make a contribution."

The 6-foot outside hitter already has done that. Going into tonight's match, Davidson had started every match and stood second with 165 total kills for the 15-2 Wildcats.

Davidson's efficient hitting has been the most impressive part of her game so far, said Villanova coach Ron Twomey.

"In most matches, she'll have double figures in kills and only one or two hitting errors. Marisa's a real nice net player. She has a real presence as a hitter and a blocker, and last year, her defense really improved. We knew she would do well in college," said the third-year coach, whose team finished 26-9 and fourth in the Big East a year ago.

One of Davidson's top competitors statistically is her own teammate, another freshman, 6-0 Stacy Evans of Los Altos, Calif. But Davidson said the relationship is more friendship than rivalry.

"I've never played with a player of her caliber," said Davidson, who first saw Evans at the Junior Olympics this summer. "We're blocking next to each other and we really complement each other. It's fun that two freshmen are going to make a difference."

Last week, the two helped boost Villanova to No. 1 in the nation in hitting percentage (.339) while Evans' .429 ranks fifth individually. Since the first week of the season, either Davidson or Evans has led the Big East in hitting percentage.

"I don't know how long that's going to last," said Twomey. "We're going to play against some tougher teams and those numbers will go down a little bit, but it doesn't detract from the fact that Marisa and Stacy are exceptionally good volleyball players."

Even though Davidson earned All-Metro and Howard County Co-Player of the Year honors at Glenelg last season, she drew Twomey's attention while playing for the Columbia Volleyball Club.

Last summer, Davidson helped the Columbia Comets under-18 team win the club's first East Coast Championship. Before that the best finish had been ninth.

The Comets' team also included two other All-Metro first-teamers, Severna Park's Susan Wren (All-Metro and Anne Arundel County Player of the Year) and Centennial's Carlyn Cangiano (Howard County Co-Player of the Year).

"Winning that was great, because I had played with Susan and Carly for three years, so it was a great culmination of us playing together. But it was still a little sad," said Davidson.

The Comets finished their club careers at the national Junior Olympics Girls Volleyball Championships in Austin, Texas in early July. They didn't play well there, said Davidson, and won just four of nine matches.

The club experience is something Davidson could never have traded, because it helped her make a smooth adjustment to college play.

"She comes prepared for what we're doing out on the court, because she's played against good competition in her club," said Twomey. "Part of the reason she's able to adjust so well is that her club put similar demands on her. The practice, the travel -- those are things she's accustomed to."

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