1997 All-Anne Arundel County volleyball teams

November 19, 1997|By PAT O'MALLEY AND GLENN P. GRAHAM

Player of the Year

Julie Gosewisch, Severna Park, senior, hitter: Clearly the No. 2 ranked Falcons' "big gun," Gosewisch is the only first-team repeater and took it to another level as the leader of the young (she was one of three seniors) Class 4A state semifinalists. Gosewisch set the tempo for the Falcons' third consecutive county championship, their ninth in the past 11 years and their first 4A East region title since 1993. The 5-foot-10 outside hitter, a three-year starter, had 16 kills and was 21-for-22 serving with three aces as the Falcons swept pesky Annapolis, 3-0, in the region final to earn a trip to the final four for the first time in her career. With Gosewisch inspiring her younger teammates, the Falcons compiled an 18-2 match-play record, 17 in a row until a 3-0 loss to eventual state champion Watkins Mill in the state semifinals. Gosewisch paced the Falcons in kills (295), kills per game (4.2), serving percentage (.970) and was second in aces (67) and third in blocks (35). "Julie carried us most of the season, played when she was hurt and has good, solid all-around skills," said coach Tim Dunbar. Dunbar sees Gosewisch succeeding at the collegiate level because of her athletic ability and expects her to sign in February.

Coach of the Year

Karla McMahon, Annapolis: A gradual, four-year progression under McMahon resulted in the Panthers posting their best season (14-2) in the past 20 years. Four years ago, the Panthers were 0-15, improved to 2-13, 9-6 and this year became a playoff contender with their only two losses coming to No. 2 Severna Park in regular season and the 4A East region final. The Panthers won their first playoff match, a hard fought 3-2 decision over county runner-up and north division champion Chesapeake. Annapolis won the last two games which prompted McMahon to do a cartwheel in the middle of the court afterward. The Panthers proceeded to eliminate Glen Burnie, 3-1 to advance to their first region final where they played well in a 3-0 loss to Severna Park by scores of 15-12, 16-14 and 15-9. "I'm really proud of this team," said McMahon. "They've been together for four years with several of them playing varsity as freshmen and sophomores, and they've improved each year. A coach can't ask for more. We just couldn't beat Severna Park, but we gave them a run and just missed going to the state playoffs." Annapolis had nine seniors and one junior on the 10-player squad that finished the season as the county's most improved team.

First team at a glance

Kammi Cottrell, Annapolis, senior, hitter: Known more for her basketball skills, this 6-footer developed into one of the county's best at a sport she never played until high school. Cottrell's power hitting and blocking in the middle enabled the Panthers to enjoy their finest season. "Kammi is a great jumper and is able to place the ball very well," said coach Karla McMahon. Cottrell led her team in kills (91) and blocks (58) and tied All-County teammate Jenni Ferris for highest serving percentage (.900). Her blocking, which McMahon called "awesome," kept the Panthers in the region final match and she finished the three games with 14 blocks, six kills and was 18-for-19 serving with one ace.

Jessica Freeman, South River, junior hitter: One of three juniors named first team, Freeman led the Seahawks to the 2A East region title and into the state semifinals where they were defeated 3-0 by North Hagerstown. Freeman led the Hawks (11-7) of first-year head coach Wayne Minger to a dramatic 3-1 win over North Caroline in the region final. South River was humbled 15-3 in the first game, but came roaring back to win 15-13, 15-10 and 15-10 with Freeman getting 13 kills and 18 digs. Freeman finished the season averaging just over two kills a game, 90 percent serving, 86 percent passing and two digs per game. "Jessica averaged three kills a game in the region playoffs and just played very well," said Minger.

Tracy Johnston, Severna Park, junior, hitter: Johnston made the transition from junior varsity to varsity starter with relative ease. "When Tracy first started on varsity, she was known for her defense, but developed into one of our top offensive weapons, something we didn't expect," said coach Tim Dunbar. "She was often overlooked and underrated because of the success of Julie [Gosewisch] and Lauren [Boyd], but emerged as a standout." The 5-foot-8 Johnston was second in kills (124), third in serving aces (41), tied for third in blocks (35) with Gosewisch, fourth in serving percentage (.842) and second to Boyd in assists (49). Her strong work ethic turned her into one of the county's most complete players.

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