1996 All Baltimore City/County volleyball team

November 20, 1996

Player of the Year

Kim Hooper, Mercy, senior, setter: The glue that held the Catholic League tournament champions together, Hooper had 628 assists on the season, averaging nearly eight a game. Because the Magic (17-1) had an abundance of hitters, Hooper's accurate setting proved the key to making their power game work. Coach John Singleton put great responsibility on her shoulders, running a 5-1 offense centered around her. "Without Kim, we would have been hurting," said Singleton. "We would have had a tough time running our offense. Kim ran the team. She called the plays, and she was absolutely a team captain. She played almost every minute of every game. She sat out in one match for, I think, three or four points." In the Catholic League tournament final, Hooper had 25 assists to help the Magic avenge their only loss of the season and defeat Spalding, 15-5, 15-7, 16-14. For the season, the Catholic League All-Star served at 97 percent. A club veteran, Hooper plans to play in college but is still exploring schools.

Coach of the Year

Susan Costello, Kenwood: Costello guided the Bluebirds to the school's best season and first appearance in the state final-four. In five years at Kenwood, Costello has brought not only coaching know-how but the consistency necessary to build a contender. Just two years ago, the Bluebirds were 1-10. Last year, they rebounded to 11-3. This fall, they finished 18-2. Costello, who played college volleyball at Delaware, deflects the credit for her players' turnaround. "It was the dedication and the drive of the kids themselves. I was there to guide them, but they were very self-motivated." Still, the effort Costello has made over the past five years is the foundation for this season's success. The Bluebirds went unbeaten through Baltimore County's Division II, but even more surprising, they staged a stunning early-season victory over perennial power Loch Raven, Costello's alma mater. The Bluebirds met Loch Raven again in the county championship but couldn't manage a second upset, although taking the Raiders to four games. Still, getting to the county title match was a feat for Costello and the Bluebirds. At the season start, Costello said, she "wasn't even looking at the county championship. I just wanted to have a successful season. I told the girls our main goal was to have fun. I wanted them to learn the game and to learn to love it -- and at the end, they did."

The first team

Jennifer Confer, Dulaney, senior, hitter: A 5-11 middle hitter, Confer was also a strong blocker -- with 21 blocks for the No. 4 Lions (15-3 and state Class 4A semifinalists). Many blocks helped turn games around. She had 90 kills, a 2.0 per-game average. She is on the coaches' All-Baltimore County Class 3A/4A team.

Ruth Draper, Friends, senior, hitter: One of four seniors who got the Quakers' program started as freshmen, Draper was the most powerful hitter on team. She led the Quakers to an 11-3 record and a 10-0 run through the Association of Independent Schools regular season. In the A Division tournament, Draper had 11 kills in a five-game loss to Notre Dame Prep. The AIS All-Star doubled as a setter.

Erika Hansen, Mercy, senior, hitter: At 6-1, Hansen finished with 115 kills, a 1.69 per-game average. The middle hitter proved crucial on defense with eight key blocks in the Catholic League tournament championship victory over Spalding. Several times she snapped Spalding runs and returned the momentum to the Magic. Hansen also served at 92 percent.

Stephanie Hansen, Mercy, junior, hitter: The Magic's most powerful hitter, the younger Hansen sister finished with 210 kills and averaged 2.80 per game. The versatile 5-11 outside hitter could hit out of the back row, had a strong block and could set. A Catholic League All-Star, she also had a 90-percent serve rate.

Tracy Miksis, Dulaney, senior, hitter: A powerful outside hitter, the 5-10 Miksis had 121 kills and a 2.6 per-game average. A second-team All City/County pick last year, she was a streaky server but when she was on, no one was better. She had 53 aces. Late in the season, she doubled as a setter. Miksis was named to the coaches' All-Baltimore County team.

Cheryl Sandgren, Loch Raven, senior, hitter: ter: The Baltimore County champions' money ball player, Sandgren came up with the big hits. A 5-7 outside hitter with a 20-inch vertical jump, she finished with 114 kills and averaged 2.1 per game. A top defensive player and an All-Baltimore County coaches' pick, Sandgren also served at 90 percent for the third-ranked Raiders (13-2).

Stephanie Sanzone, Perry Hall, senior, hitter: The Gators' top hitter, 5-8 Sanzone finished with 163 kills and averaged 2.67 per game. The No. 9 Gators (10-6) went to her frequently and she often hit out of the back row. She served at 93 percent, played strong defense and led the team in digs with 56. An All-Baltimore County coaches' pick, Sanzone was a second team All-City/County selection last year.

All-City/County Volleyball

Player of the Year: Kim Hooper, Mercy

Coach of the Year: Susan Costello, Kenwood

FIRST TEAM

Name, School, Year, Position

Jennifer Confer, Dulaney, Senior, Hitter

Ruth Draper, Friends, Senior, Hitter

Erika Hansen, Mercy, Senior, Hitter

Stephanie Hansen, Mercy, Junior, Hitter

Kim Hooper, Mercy, Senior, Setter

Tracy Miksis, Dulaney, Senior, Hitter

Cheryl Sandgren, Loch Raven, Senior, Hitter

Stephanie Sanzone, Perry Hall, Senior, Hitter

SECOND TEAM

Kim Bittner, Mercy, Senior, Hitter

Jay Brown, Western, Senior, Setter

Jenny Clarke, Loch Raven, Senior, Hitter

Brenna Dailey, Notre Dame Prep, Senior, Hitter

Kim Griffin, Kenwood, Senior, Hitter

Cyndi Luers, Seton Keough, Senior, Hitter

Beth Pancake, Perry Hall, Senior, Hitter

Jaimee Reynolds, Towson, Junior, Hitter

Team selection

The Baltimore Sun 1996 All-Baltimore City/County field hockey and volleyball teams were selected by staff writer Katherine Dunn after consulting with The Sun staff and area coaches.

Pub Date: 11/20/96

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