Falcon flies with poise Volleyball: After a painful leg operation, Julie Gosewisch's hard work has made her the focal point of Severna Park's game.

September 24, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Severna Park volleyball coach Tim Dunbar says he hears it all the time, but this was different.

Julie Gosewisch was a freshman at the time on crutches after surgery -- a painful leg lengthening procedure -- persistently telling him how she was going to be on the court next season.

"She kept stats for us that year and after every game she would say, "I'm gonna play for you next year -- over and over," Dunbar said. "She had a goal, worked hard and sure enough she was there."

She was there in a big way.

After the long rehab process, Gosewisch stepped right into the starting lineup as a sophomore to earn second-team, all-county honors as a 5-foot-10 outside hitter. She followed that with first-team all-county and second-team all-metro honors as a junior and now the question is far from whether she will play, but just how much she does for the No. 2 Falcons?

"Everything," Dunbar quickly responds. "Julie is our focal point, the key to everything we do. She's a very good passer, reads what's going on defensively and sacrifices -- all out for everything. And she's an extremely powerful hitter."

After playing basketball and softball when she was younger, Gosewisch didn't start playing volleyball until the seventh grade, but that was quickly interrupted when it was discovered she needed the surgery. Always active in sports, she was suddenly grounded, but not for long.

"There was a lot of pain and it was really depressing because I couldn't do much of anything for awhile," she said. "Being the manager my freshman year, I learned a lot about the team and knew I had to work hard to be a part of it. I was worried I would be behind, so I worked that much harder."

Gosewisch has come a long way in a short time, going from team manager to team captain of one of the areas top programs.

Last season, she led the team in serving percentage (95.3) and kills (145) and saved her best for the big matches. In the finals of the county championship -- a 15-2, 15-6, 15-10 sweep over rival Glen Burnie -- she dominated from the start, running off eight straight points on serve to set the tone. She finished a perfect 21-for-21 serving, including six aces, and added seven kills.

Toss aside all the aces and kills and Gosewisch will tell you what she enjoys most about the sport -- defense.

"Just about anyone can get a kill, but coming up with a big save is like 'Wow,' " she said. "It's a lot more rewarding, diving around on the floor and having fun."

After losing four starters to graduation from last year's 15-1 team, including three all-county performers, the 1997 Falcons (4-1) are finding their own identity with Gosewisch right in the middle.

"We have a lot to work on with some younger people, but with more practice brings more confidence and things look good," she said. "It's my role now to take on more leadership, be more confident, and I'm the one who needs to step up."

And so the rich tradition carries on at Severna Park. Dunbar, in his 11th season, has a career mark of 201-18 including three state titles in the early '90s. He said Gosewisch is impressively etching her place in the program's history.

"Most people don't come back from anything like that. It's an extremely painful thing, but Julie never indicated that," Dunbar said. "She works hard all the time and the kids look up to that. It's nice to have a Julie around who wants to push the envelope and see how far they can get. She will always stand out with how hard she's worked."

The final piece of the puzzle would be a state title, something that has eluded the Falcons during Gosewisch's stay.

"We're optimistic that if we keep progressing it could happen," said Gosewisch, who would like to play college ball and study marine biology. "Last year, we peaked in the middle of the season, so we're hoping to peak at the end and be where we need to be. We can't look that far ahead right now though. We just have to keep working, get to know each other and get more confidence as we go."

Pub Date: 9/24/97

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