Volleyball cements 2 seniors' friendship Leaders: Edwards and Marth, unbeaten Atholton's captains, find that opposites attract, on the court and off.

September 29, 1996|By STAN RAPPAPORT | STAN RAPPAPORT,SUN STAFF

Jessica Edwards and Madi Marth, seniors on Atholton's undefeated volleyball team, are good friends. They're also complete opposites. "In music, clothes, fiends, boys -- everything," said Marth.

And, to a certain degree, on the court as well.

"She's intimidated by some teams," Edwards said. "I'm the intimidator."

Edwards uses words such as "determined" and "aggressive" to describe her on-court persona.

"I could be playing against my grandmother, and I wouldn't soften up," Edwards said. "I play hard all the time."

Said Marth: "I'm a little less competitive."

They differ, too, in their approach to tomorrow's home match with No. 1 Centennial.

"I have a good feeling about it," Marth said. "I think we're going to give them a run. I think we're coming together as a team."

Edwards is, well, Edwards.

"We'll beat Centennial," she said. "If we want to win, we'll win. And our team wants to win."

Take that.

Their differences are real, but so is the bond between them.

"Volleyball ties us together," said Marth, who along with Edwards plays for the Metro Volleyball Club in Silver Spring. "We're both really into it."

They are captains now, and are playing at a higher level physically And mentally.

"They've both picked up their games a notch from last year," said Atholton coach Mike Kalinock, who took over this season for Sybil Modispacher, now at River Hill. "They're very different players."

They are playing smarter and not allowing their emotions to get the best of them.

"The word for this year." said Marth, a four-year varsity starter at outside hitter, "is 'cool.'"

"My attitude and behavior have been a lot better this year," said Edwards, a three-year varsity starter at outside hitter. "I used to yell a lot, but I'm more relaxed now. This is the most fun I've had playing on a team."

Edwards credits Kalinock with helping her change.

"He's a really good coach," said Edwards, who has improved her vertical jump to go along with her powerful shot. "I've been coached by a lot of people, and he's one of the best."

Kalinock was Atholton's JV coach and assistant varsity coach the last two years. He played club volleyball at Frostburg State before graduating in 1991, and during the summer of 1992 played on the pro-beach circuit along the East Coast. A 6-foot-4 middle hitter, Kalinock has played club volleyball the last four years for a Reston (Va.) team.

He's looking forward to tomorrow's match against the Eagles because "it will show us where we are and where we need to be."

"I'm happy where we are right now," the coach continued, "but it's not where I want to be in three weeks. Everything is gearing up for the end of the year. It's a gradual process."

Said Edwards: "We're trying really hard to maintain the same level of play and gradually get better. It's the best start [4-0] since I've been here. Everyone is putting the team ahead of themselves. It's like if one person messes up, we all feel we messed up."

Edwards and Marth, who spent time together over the summer going to the Howard County and Maryland state fairs, hope their senior year is a special one. But they will remember it differently. While Edwards wants to continue playing next year at a Division I or Division II college, Marth has different ideas.

"I love the sport, and I have fun playing as hard as I can," Marth said. "She [Edwards] is harder on herself. She might have higher standards.

"College is a big topic with me right now. I don't think I'm going to play. College will be a different time in my life. I want to do different things."

Edwards and Marth are opposites in so many ways, but their friendship is strong. Volleyball has made it happen, and no kill shot can take that away.

Pub Date: 09/29/96

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