1997 Anne Arundel volleyball previews

September 03, 1997|By Pat O'Malley

Annapolis Panthers

1996 record: 9-6.

Coach: Karla McMahon.

Top players: Jenni Ferris, Sr., setter; Maurie Fisher, Sr., outside hitter; Kammi Cottrell, Sr., middle hitter; Emily Dammeyer, Sr., middle hitter.

Outlook: With 11 seniors among the 12 players on the squad, McMahon is enthused as she begins her eighth season as coach. Ferris, who the coach calls "our leader and most versatile player," heads up the seasoned Panthers, along with Fisher, Cottrell and Dammeyer. Dammeyer missed last season with a knee injury after playing well as a freshman and sophomore. "Having Emily back makes us that much stronger," says McMahon. "We have a strong base and those up from JV were on a team that went 14-0." McMahon believes the Panthers can be a contender in the South Division, with Severna Park, Broadneck and South River, if they can refine their passing. "We've got strong hitters and blockers," McMahon said.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1996 record: 13-2.

Coach: Linda Taylor.

Top players: Courtney Dixon, Jr., hitter; Beth Yourishin, Sr., defense; Jen Butterwei, Sr., middle hitter; Jen Datz, So., hitter; Kelly Donohue, Sr., setter.

Outlook: The Cavaliers have the county's only major private school volleyball squad and play in the Baltimore Catholic League. Taylor was a terrific volleyball and softball player at Glen Burnie in the mid-'80s. She has turned into an equally terrific coach at Spalding. Last year, she led the Cavs to a 13-2 mark and share of first place with Mercy. Beginning her 10th season as volleyball coach, Taylor is optimistic the Cavs can be in the hunt again with Mercy and Seton Keough despite significant graduation losses. All-county and second team All-Metro hitter Sandy Sandifer has moved on with her 130 kills, along with honorable-mention hitter Crystal Ray and setter Kathleen O'Hara. "We lost quite a bit, but as soon as we start to jell, we should compete with the top teams," says Taylor. Good overall height is a strength, with the 6-foot-1 Butterwei, 5-10 Datz and 5-8 Dixon. Donohue is sharing setter duties with Old Mill sophomore transfer, Lauren Schaech, who is 5-9. "Lauren is being converted to setter and is learning fast," says Taylor. "We can be right there."

Arundel Wildcats

1996 record: 4-10.

Coach: Krista Rohrer.

Top players: Rachel Adams, Jr., setter; Camille Smith, Sr., setter; Shaunte Edmunds, Jr., middle hitter; Anna Hoppmann, Jr., middle hitter; Jerry McClurg, Jr., defense.

Outlook: Lee Rogers, the school's successful girls' basketball coach, stepped down as volleyball coach after eight seasons, with Rohrer taking over. Rohrer coached Broadneck's varsity to an 8-5 record a couple years ago in her only other coaching experience. A couple of pretty good hitters in Michelle Akers (second team all-county) and Natania Gonzalez (honorable mention) graduated, but juniors Hoppmann and Adams are expected to step in and fill the void, along with a host of underclassmen. "Smith is the only senior and is actually the only one to come out," said Rohrer. "We're young, but we can be competitive with the better teams. McClurg and Hoppmann will be key defensive players."

Broadneck Bruins

1996 record: 9-3.

Coach: Romonzo Beans.

Top players: Sara Hemmings, Sr., setter; Rebecca Kanach, Sr., outside hitter; Kim Barr, Jr., setter; Katie Henschal, So., outside hitter.

Outlook: Beans was an assistant to Tom Cole last season. A 1986 graduate of Broadneck where he played football, Beans is a 29-year-old student at Delaware State University. He received his volleyball indoctrination as an assistant at Delaware State for three years before coaching at Broadneck. As a first-time head ++ coach, Beans is faced with a rebuilding project after the graduation of All-Metro hitter Amy Vandehei and second team all-county hitters Leigh Godfrey and Pam Barr. Hemmings returns at setter along with Kim Barr, the younger sister of Pam. "Defense will enable us to play with anybody, including Severna Park [perennial county champion]," Beans said. "We have average height, but we expect to fare very well."

Chesapeake Cougars

1996 record: 8-7.

Coach: Christy Simonds.

Top players: Gail Siemer, Sr., middle hitter; Vicki Fisher, Sr., middle hitter; Tina Miller, Sr., outside hitter; Elena Novaco, Sr., outside hitter.

Outlook: The first of three Hutson (her maiden name) sisters to excel in volleyball at Glen Burnie, Simonds begins her second season as the Cougars' head coach. A 1991 Glen Burnie grad, Simonds welcomes back a second-team all-county hitter in the 6-foot Siemer, among four key 12th-graders. "Gail should be a dominating force as long as we can get her the ball," said Simonds. "We're fairly tall and they're very agile for their height." Siemer, Fishback, Miller and Novaco and several others have been together for about three years and Simonds expects this to be their year to jell. "We should be very competitive in our division," said Simonds. Chesapeake plays in the North Division with Glen Burnie, Old Mill, North County, Northeast and Meade.

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