1998 Howard County volleyball previews

September 02, 1998|By Stan Rappaport

Atholton Raiders

1997 record: 3-14 overall, 2-11 county

Coach: Bruce Lindblad

Classification: 2A

Top players: Jen Thomas, Sr., OH; Lauren Mickley, Jr., OH; Jessica Poston, Soph., MH; Jen Poston, Jr., S.

Outlook: "We'll be much improved from last year," said first-year coach Lindblad, who served as an assistant varsity coach the last two seasons. "Athletically we're in better shape. We have better athletes. They work hard and I think they'll see some positive results." Thomas, Mickley and Jen Poston are returning starters, and Thomas and Mickley will serve as captains. Also expected to contribute are two transfer students -- junior outside hitter Barbara Delsi and junior middle hitter Kristin Maynard -- and sophomore middle hitter Julie Frostbutter, up from the junior varsity. Atholton will play a 6-2, with Jen Poston and junior Amanda Ramsey the setters. The Raiders don't have a lot of height, and are working hard to become better defensively. Lindblad believes the combination of having five club players and good athletes will make for a more successful season.

Centennial Eagles

1997 record: 20-0 overall, 13-0 county

Coach: Mike Bossom

Classification: 2A

Top players: Lisa Chapman, Sr., S; Julie Taury, Sr., OH; Beth Stadling, Jr., RH; Kim Emrich, Jr., OH.

Outlook: The Eagles were ranked No. 1 at the start of the 1986 season and haven't dropped since, going 39-0 the last two years. Can the school that has won 11 county titles (including the last seven) and seven state championships (six of the last seven years) maintain that kind of success? "This team has the capability of being as good as last year," Bossom said. "They need to work hard and want it. The challenge for them is to play together as a team. Right now, they haven't played enough together to feel comfortable with the person next to them." Centennial will play a 5-1 offense, with Chapman, an All-Metro setter, leading the way. Chapman and Stradling are returning starters, but the team lost seven seniors, including The Sun's Player of the Year, Briana Zolak (now at Towson University), and first-team All-Metro Robyn West (Elon College). Taury and Emrich have improved and will start, as will senior backcourt specialist Rachel Alpert. The Eagles will carry three seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and one freshman. "I think people will be surprised with some of our younger players," said Bossom, who added his team's depth is as strong as ever. Others who will see significant playing time are junior middle hitter Amanda Olsen, freshman middle hitter Lindsay Feller and junior backcourt specialist Erin Rochelle.

Chapelgate Christian Flames

1997 record: 14-4 overall, 5-0 league

Coach: Chris Moxley

League: AIS B Division

Top players: Jennie Van Ness, Sr. OH; Sarah Cassel, Sr., S; Laura Carder, Sr., S; Laura Starsoneck, Jr., MH.

Outlook: With only one returning starter, Van Ness, the Flames might start off a little slowly. But Moxley said "the potential is there" to be as good as last year. "They just need court time," Moxley said, to learn how to play their positions in the 6-2 system. Starsoneck is playing her first season of volleyball. An excellent basketball and softball player, Starsoneck is the tallest player (5 feet 11) and will anchor a strong net defense. The Flames have good height this season -- Van Ness and freshman middle hitter Carly Fyfe are both 5-9 -- and Moxley plans to take advantage of it. The Flames won the AIS B division title last year, and Moxley again expects the team to be competitive. Sophomore backcourt specialist Meghan Klein also is expected to contribute.

Glenelg Gladiators

1997 record: 14-6 overall; 8-5 county

Coach: Ciaran Lesikar

Classification: 1A

Top players: Jamie Bullock, Sr., OH; Kristi Hedlesky, Sr., OH; Laurie Driver, Sr., MH.

Outlook: The Gladiators aren't as strong as last year's team that reached the Class 1A state final, but they should be competitive. "We're trying to put the girls in positions where they're strong, and avoid putting them in situations where their weakness will hurt us," said Lesikar, in his first year as varsity coach. "We're not going to be playing at a super-high level. What we need is consistency." Bullock, the team's top hitter, and Hedlesky will serve as captains. Lesikar said Hedlesky, who came off the bench last year, attended camps all summer and "has improved tremendously." Lesikar said "blocking will be a big key for us on defense," and that the 5-11 Driver will lead the way. Nicole Barnoski, coming off a broken right foot she suffered playing softball in the summer, will be the setter. Barnoski, a junior, was a setter two years ago on the junior varsity and last year a backcourt specialist on varsity. Melanie Mills, a freshman, will start as a backcourt specialist.

Hammond Golden Bears

1997 record: 11-6 overall, 9-4 county

Coach: Ken McLaughlin

Classification: 1A

Top players: Monica McLaughlin, Sr., S; Stefanie Bumgarner, Sr., MH; Neyda Moulier, Sr., OH.

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