Local Sports: High School Volleyball Preview

September 04, 1996|By Bill Free

Annapolis Panthers

1995 record: 2-13.

Coach: Karla McMahon.

Top players: Jenni Ferris, Jr., setter; Lauren Gulotta, Sr., outside hitter; Maurie Fisher, Jr., outside hitter; Laura Paszkiewicz, Sr., outside hitter; Kisha Taylor, Jr., outside hitter.

Outlook: Two of last year's more talented and tall young players, Kammi Cottrell and Emily Danmeyer, decided not to return this season because they want to concentrate on basketball in their junior year. That hurts but McMahon likes the way the players who did come out this season are communicating on the floor, serving and hitting. "We're a better serving team than last year and Jenni [Ferris], Laurie [Gulotta] and Maurie [Fisher] are hitting well," said McMahon.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1995 record: 10-4.

Coach: Linda Taylor.

Top players: Sandy Sandifer, Sr., outside hitter; Crystal Ray, Sr., outside hitter; Kathleen O'Hara, Sr., setter; Beth Yourishin, Jr., hitter; Courtney Dixon, So., hitter.

Outlook: Now that first-team All-County selection Crystal Henderson has graduated, the power game is left in the hands of Sandifer, Ray, Yourishin and Dixon. The Cavaliers finished third in the Catholic League last season and should contend for first this year, with Seton Keough being the team to beat. Taylor is stressing basics in hopes of taking that final step to the top of the league. "We've improved our basics and are going to surprise a lot of people this year," said Taylor.

Arundel Wildcats

1995 record: 7-8.

Coach: Lee Rogers.

Top players: Michelle Akers, Sr., outside hitter; Jana Boddy, Sr., setter; Heather Adams, Sr., setter; Kady House, Sr., outside hitter; Natana Gonzalez, Sr., outside hitter.

Outlook: Arundel won't have the explosiveness of last year's team now that Chavonne Hammond has begun her basketball career at Vanderbilt. Hammond and teammate Shauna Gooding were both second-team All-County choices as seniors. The Wildcats will feature five seniors and four sophomores on the court this season, hoping to find a perfect blend of experience and youth. Akers, House and Gonzalez all can find ways to beat teams with power while Boddy and Adams know how to get the ball to them. "We'd like to be in the top five teams in the county and compete for the South Division title," said Rogers.

Broadneck Bruins

1995 record: 8-5.

Coach: Tom Cole.

Top players: Amy VanDehei, Sr., hitter; Leigh Godfrey, Sr., middle hitter; Pam Barr, Sr., outside hitter; Laura McKechnie, Sr., hitter.

Outlook: With VanDehei leading the way, Broadneck will be able to unleash a lot of power on opponents. But Cole is concerned about the team's ability to set, serve and pass. "If our setting comes through, we'll be good," he said. Another possible drawback to Broadneck's hopes for a county championship, said Cole, is the fact the team only has 11 matches on the schedule instead of the allowed 14.

Chesapeake Cougars

1995 record: 3-12.

Coach: Christy Simonds.

Top players: Gail Siemer, Jr., middle hitter; Vicki Fishback, Jr., outside hitter; Renata Freburger, Sr., outside hitter; Erin Shannon, Sr., setter; Shannon Harper, Sr., setter; Stacey Laine, Sr., hitter.

Outlook: The talent is there for the Cougars, Simonds moves up from the junior varsity to coach the varsity and Donna Zemke will serve as Simonds' assistant. The Simonds-Zemke combination brings good credentials to the team. The 6-foot Siemer is the player to watch as the Cougars try to make a run for the North Division title. "Gail looks incredible," said Zemke. "She's a hard hitter, very strong and is a big, big factor on the court. And all the players are excited about having Christy coaching them. They respect her knowledge of the game and know how good a player she was."

Glen Burnie Gophers

1995 record: 14-7.

Coach: Juanita Milani.

Top players: Amy Hutson, Sr., outside hitter; Becky Anthony, Jr., middle hitter; Sarah Meredith, Jr., middle hitter.

Outlook: Get the ball to Hutson and let her work wonders with it. That will be the theme at Glen Burnie this season as first-team All-County choice and strong 1995 Anne Arundel Player of the Year candidate Hutson returns. Hutson has been called the best hitter in the state for two years by Milani, but the senior will have to do a lot more than hit this season. She will have to do it all for a team that lost four strong seniors (Stacey Ellenberger, Amanda Farlow, Monica Whitaker and Chrissy Baldwin) from last year's squad. Fortunately for the Gophers, the North Division race appears to be wide open this year and the team could wind up in the county championship match in what Milani calls a down year for her team. "I don't think we match up with other good teams," said Milani, who begins her 19th season of coaching at Glen Burnie where she has won one state title, two regional championships and two county titles.

Meade Mustangs

1995 record: 8-6.

Coach: Vicki Hedgebeth.

Top players: Mitchia Tull, Sr., middle hitter; Anansa Jenkins, Sr., hitter/setter.

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