A first for Carroll Christian

October 30, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

The Carroll Christian Patriots volleyball team is headed for uncharted waters this week when it travels to Dayton, Tenn.

That's where the Patriots will make their first appearance in the National Association of Christian Athletes Championships.

They'll compete with seven other teams in the large-school division of the double-elimination national tournament, which starts Wednesday and runs through Friday. The Patriots (14-2), who will be guaranteed three games, qualified by recently winning the Maryland Association of Christian Schools State Tournament.

"I'm really looking forward to taking this team to nationals," said seven-year coach Judy Meid.

"I don't know what to expect, but I think we're scrappy enough to keep us in games. We're a good-serving and serve-receive team and cover the court real well. It's just a matter of having that last bit of toughness."

The Patriots finished 8-1 during the regular season to finish in a three-way tie for the Potomac Christian Athletic Conference title with Frederick Christian and Granite Christian.

Granite claimed the PCAC Tournament by beating Carroll Christian in the finals, but the Patriots won the state tournament.

"I first began getting optimistic a couple of years back and felt this team would ripen this year," Meid said.

"The nucleus of the team has played together for two years and some three. And the people we've added have fit right into the rotation. They learned at the junior varsity level and it helps to go in knowing the system."

Meid said the team's one negative is a lack of height. The Patriots have two girls at 5 feet 6 -- freshman Jodi Beard and junior Nicole Dean -- both middle hitters. The average height is 5-3, but Meid believes the other assets make up for the deficiency in size.

Senior Cheryl Beard is the top setter. She's had 256 sets for putdowns and has added 74 service aces.

Junior Rachel Holdefer and sophomore Cathy Saylor are the top outside hitters. The two have combined on 125 spikes, 40 of which went for kills. Holdefer is just behind Beard with 73 aces and Saylor leads the team with 53 digs. Jodi Beard leads the team in blocks with 33.

The rest of the squad consists of senior Heather Rhyne, juniors Kelly Peterson, Karen Stout, Marianne Harbin, Kellie Kirk, Cathy Paul, Katie DeWitt and Jodi Grodkiewicz and freshman Kelly DeWitt.

Every player has contributed, including a standout effort from DeWitt in the first round of the state tournament against Frederick.

"She sat on the bench all year long before coming in and served nine straight points -- including four aces -- to give us 9-0 lead. We went on to win impressively," Meid said.

More than 65 students in grades nine through 12 merits large-school status for the national tournament. Carroll Christian has 89 students, 44 of them girls. Of those 44, 24 are involved in the volleyball program.

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