1998 Anne Arundel volleyball previews

September 02, 1998|By Pat O'Malley

Annapolis Panthers

1997 record: 14-2

Coach: Karla McMahon, ninth season

Top players: Sharie Neptune, Sr., hitter; Meghan Fisher, Jr., defense; Brea Stanton, Sr., blocker; Lakia Tongue, Sr., setter; Joyell Stafford, Sr., setter.

Outlook: Graduation cleaned out the Panthers, including All-County first-teamers Kammi Cottrell and Jenni Ferris. Their only two losses came to 4A East Region and county champion Severna Park in regular season and the region final and McMahon earned county Coach of the Year honors with her veteran team. "Pretty much this entire team played JV last year and, hopefully, they're ready for the step up," said McMahon. "They know it will be tough to measure up to last year's team and that there is a long road ahead." Many of the players on this year's team combined with a few from last year's winner to go undefeated on the JV level. McMahon is hoping her philosophy of putting 11th graders on JV will pay off.

Annapolis Area Christian Eagles

1997 record: 18-3

Coach: Dave Leith, second season

Top players: Erin Ford, Sr., outside hitter; Theresa Iglehart, Sr., middle hitter/blocker; Ashleigh Verrillo, Jr., setter; Kristen Ignowski, Sr., outside hitter; Ruth Woodward, Jr., outside hitter.

Outlook: Duplicating last year's banner season won't be easy with the loss of All-County hitter Monica Wagoner and second-team All-County setter Laura Ford. But Leith believes he has a strong nucleus led by Erin Ford, Verrillo and Iglehart. "I think we have as much potential as last year's team," said Leith. "We will just have to play more as a team than relying on one or two players." Setter Becky Evans and middle hitter Ashley Kinney, both juniors, are expected to add depth. The Eagles hope to go a step further in the post-season Association of Christian Schools Tournament after finishing runner-up last year.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1997 record: 10-7

Coach: Scott Rombach, first season

Top players: Courtney Dixon, Sr., hitter; Jen Datz, Jr., hitter; Andrea Loepker, Sr., setter/hitter; Sabrina Ryals, Sr., hitter; Bridget LaPorte, Jr., defense; Laureen Schaech, Jr., setter; Melissa Mahoney, Sr., hitter.

Outlook: Rombach replaces 10-year coach Linda Taylor on an interim basis while the latter is on maternity leave. "Linda had her baby a few days ago, but she could be back coaching in four to six weeks," said Rombach, who led the Cavs' JV to an 11-3 record. The Cavaliers slipped last season after going 13-2 and sharing first place in the Catholic League with Mercy of Baltimore in 1996. Rombach is confident that he will get strong hitting from Dixon, Datz, Ryals and Leopker, who will share setting duties with Schaech.

Arundel Wildcats

1997 record: 0-15

Coach: Greg Legrand, first season

Top players: Rachel Adams, Sr., setter; Shaunte Edmunds, Sr., hitter; Anna Hoppmann, Sr., middle hitter; Jenny McClurg, Sr., defense.

Outlook: The Wildcats hope to put their dismal 1997 season behind them with the hiring of Legrand, one of five rookie head coaches in county volleyball. Legrand, who coached the Arundel JV girls basketball team last year, will have to be patient.

Broadneck Bruins

1997 record: 7-8

Coach: Romanzo Beans

Top players: Kim Barr, Sr., setter; Leslie Lapham, Sr., outside hitter; Katie Henschal, Jr., outside hitter; Jan Kanach, Jr., outside hitter; Nicole Barr, So., setter/middle hitter.

Outlook: Beans and his wife and co-coach, Bev, are optimistic after losing only one senior. "We expect to go all the way," said Bev Beans. "Romanzo got most of our returnees to play club ball and with a year of varsity under their belts we expect big things." The Bruins will rely on strong serving, tough defense and not giving up free balls. The Beans look for Severna Park and South River to be the teams to beat.

Chesapeake Cougars

1997 record: 13-4

Coach: Shannon Pastrana, first season

Top players: Kristen Bland, Sr., setter; Jamie Collins, Sr., setter/hitter; Justine Wagner, Jr., hitter; Chrystal Ford, Jr., setter; Casey Davis, Sr., hitter.

Outlook: Losing All-County hitter Gail Siemer, who led the Cougars in everything, to graduation presents quite a challenge for the new coach. "We don't want to rely on one player, and want everyone hitting and setting," said Pastrana. The new coach has six returnees, led by Bland and Collins, and doesn't plan to change much, strategically speaking. Pastrana believes Wagner has the potential to be one of the county's top hitters along with Davis, a girls' soccer defector.

Glen Burnie Gophers

1997 record: 7-6

Coach: Kevin Guite, first season

Top players: Susan Sperduto, Sr., setter; Carrie Bennett, Sr., outside hitter; Pat Teakle, Sr., outside hitter; Mandy Wicks, Sr., defense; Candice Redding, Sr., middle hitter; Michelle Whitlock, Jr., setter; Tiffany Jordan, Jr., middle hitter.

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