1996 All-Anne Arundel County volleyball team

November 20, 1996|By Bill Free

Player of the Year

Amy Hutson, Glen Burnie, hitter/setter: This quiet senior literally did it all in a brilliant four-year career. She led good teams to impressive victories, she helped average teams over-achieve, and in her senior year, she carried a below-average squad to heights it never dreamed possible. Hutson's finest moment on the volleyball court came this season when she performed eye-catching feats to take the Gophers within six points of a three-game sweep over No. 2 Severna Park. That was vintage Amy Hutson, as almost everything she touched that day turned into a point, whether she was setting for her inexperienced teammates, killing, serving, dinking or digging. She served 53 aces this season, served at 94 percent and rolled up 242 kills even though she was used as a setter during half of the 75 games she played in during 16 matches. Those kind of stats, along with her calmness and leadership when almost everything seemed to be falling apart, enabled the Gophers to finish 14-4, advance to the semi-finals of the Class 4A East Region tournament, and gain the No. 5 ranking in The Baltimore Sun metro area poll. Coach Juanita Milani said after the near upset of Severna Park, "You've just witnessed an incredible effort by an incredible player."

Coach of the Year

Tim Dunbar, Severna Park: A rare tribute was paid to this long-time successful coach this season just 15 minutes after his team had been swept in three games by powerful Northern-Calvert in the opening-round of the state Class 4A East Region playoffs, accounting for the 15-1 Falcons only loss of the year. The tribute came from none other than Northern-Calvert coach Beth Incrocci, whose team has supplanted Severna Park as the state's most feared. "Tim sees things on the court during matches that I don't see," Incrocci said. "He has an ability to pick up things that I can't pick up. That's the reason he was able to beat us one game last year in our match. He saw something we were doing, adjusted to it, and they won a game just because of it." Dunbar directed Severna Park to three straight Class 4A state championships from 1991 to 1993 before Northern Calvert captured the next three while winning 76 consecutive matches. Dunbar has a 197-17 career record, including tournament play in 10 seasons, is 152-8 in match competition, and has won eight county, five regional and three state titles. And it looks as if Dunbar is just warming up for another long stretch as coach of the Falcons. "These kids this season made coaching easy," said Dunbar. "They were nice, bright and so coachable. It was the first time I never had one complaint from a player or parent about playing time."

The first team

Rachael Benton, Severna Park, senior, hitter: A repeat first-team selection, Benton crushed the ball with strong left-handed kills for 124 points, served 61 aces, had a 91.9 serving percentage, a team-high 46 blocks and 23 assists. The second-ranked Falcons won 36 of 40 matches in Benton's final two years at the school and was easily one of the county's most liked and respected players. Her only disappointment in a superb career was losing to three-time Class 4A state champion Northern-Calvert two straight seasons in early regional play.

Robin Catterton, South River, senior, setter: ter: It's hard to gain a lot of notoriety as a setter, but Catterton did it two straight seasons to make first-team All-County. She had 271 assists, 41 aces and served at 98 percent to help the young Seahawks go 13-5 and gain the No. 8 ranking in a rebuilding year. Catterton was never better than in two matches this season against Broadneck and Severna Park; she combined for 32 assists and was 27-of-27 in serving. South River beat Broadneck in five games and lost to the Falcons in four.

Julie Gosewisch, Severna Park, junior, hitter: When Gosewisch was on her power game, the county had no more imposing player. She could also beat teams with her serving, leading the Falcons with a 95.3 serving percentage to go with 53 aces. Gosewisch also was tops on the team in kills, with 145, and had 23 blocks. Next year could be the one that sees a sometimes inconsistent Gosewisch break loose.

Dana Kaegel, Severna Park, senior, hitter: The county's most improved player, Kaegel often went on hot streaks during which she could do no wrong. She had classic form in all phases of the game, compiling 139 kills, 55 aces and 15 blocks. Coaches around the county said they had seldom seen a player raise her game as many levels as Kaegel did from her junior to senior years.

Danielle Kaegel, Severna Park, senior, setter: With Danielle often setting to her power-hitting twin sister, Dana, the 15-2 Falcons had a lot of fun times and victories. Danielle leaps onto the first team after making honorable mention as a junior. She had a remarkable 396 of her team's 484 assists, a team-high 85 aces while serving 87 percent, 55 kills and 33 blocks. Like Benton, the Kaegels were 36-4 in their junior and senior years.

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