1998 Anne Arundel volleyball teams

November 25, 1998

Player of the Year

Lauren Boyd, Severna Park, senior, setter: Boyd is the second consecutive Falcon and the fifth during the 1990s to be named player of the year. The 5-foot-6 setter is one of two first-team repeaters after leading the No. 2-ranked Falcons (18-2) to the 4A state final. Coach Tim Dunbar said that every year his team made it to the state final they had an outstanding setter and this year was no different. Boyd led the Falcons in serving percentage (.954), aces (80) and assists (584) and had 45 kills and 32 blocks as the Falcons won their fourth straight Anne Arundel County title and 10th in Dunbar's 12 seasons. Boyd was 25-for-26 with four aces and 28 assists in the Falcons' 3-1 county championship match victory over South River. Moving into the playoffs, Boyd served at .974 and had 133 assists as the Falcons repeated as 4A East region champs and swept Bowie, 3-0, in the semifinals. Boyd was 25-for-25 serving with two aces and 35 assists in the 15-3, 15-9 and 16-14 victory over Bowie. "It doesn't matter how good your hitters are, if you don't have a setter who can put the ball in their hands, you're not going to win at the state level," said Dunbar. "Lauren can turn a lot of bad passes into great plays." Boyd injured her ankle in the first game of their 3-0 state championship loss to Walt Whitman Saturday, but hung in there the rest of the way. "That's the kind of player she is," said Dunbar.

Coach of the Year

Greg Legrand, Arundel: When Legrand took over the Wildcats program and started putting his team through three-hour practices, one of the girls spoke up and said, "We didn't think it mattered if we won in volleyball and we're used to short practices."

Legrand's work ethic and emphasis on playing hard resulted in a dramatic turnaround, with the Wildcats going from 0-15 in '97 to 11-7 this fall. It was their first winning season since 1990 and half as many wins as they had in five previous seasons (22-58). The University of Maryland grad, who teaches physical education at Corkran Middle School, installed a new offensive system that confused opponents and gained the Wildcats respect. "We used a 6-2 swing offense that is basically stacking the front line on one side and rotating quite a bit. It frees up the hitters," said Legrand, who learned the scheme in a class at Maryland taught by veteran coach Barbara Drum. "When Mr. Bernie Walter [Arundel athletic director and baseball coach] hired me to coach volleyball, I reviewed my old notes from that class. It really helped because the girls started believing they could win." Arundel defeated perennial county champion Severna Park in a game for the first time. "And we were winning the fourth game, 10-0, before they came back to beat us by 15-13," said Legrand, a native of Chicago who assists Lee Rogers in girls basketball and was the Wildcats' JV baseball coach last spring. "I've learned a lot from Bernie and Lee, and got the girls believing that if we play 100 percent and the other team does too, we will win because we work harder and are better prepared."

The first team

Kim Barr, Broadneck, senior, setter: Barr was the catalyst of the Bruins going from 7-8 to 10-4 in the second season under the husband/wife coaching team of Romanzo and Bev Beans. Barr served 90 percent with 36 aces and had 160 assists as the leader of a very young team. "We only had two seniors and Kim pulled everybody together and helped her younger sister [Nicole, a sophomore] develop into an outstanding hitter," said Bev Beans. The Bruins lost to Calvert County power Northern in the 3A East region playoffs.

Courtney Dixon, Spalding, senior, hitter: A very strong 5-foot-8 hitter, Dixon was a three-year starter and All-Catholic League choice. Dixon was a 90 percent server with 86 aces and 112 kills for the 15-5 (12-2 Catholic League) Cavaliers of coach Linda Taylor. She used strength and athleticism to give opponents problems.

Jessica Freeman, South River, senior, hitter: ter: Joining Boyd as the only other first-team repeater, Freeman led the Seahawks (12-5) into the 2A semifinals a second straight season. Freeman averaged 93 percent serving, two kills and one ace per game for coach Maureen Carter. "Jessica was an experienced player who I have coached since the ninth grade," said Carter. "She is a good, common-sense court player who came through when we needed her." Freeman cleaned up in the back row and was a strong hitter up front.

Sarah Grimm, Severna Park, senior, hitter: ter: A second-team choice in '97, Grimm was one of the most consistent performers for the 4A finalists in her third varsity season. Grimm, an outside hitter, had a serving percentage of .860, was second in kills with 108 (1.75 per game) and serving aces with 40. In the playoffs, the 5-foot-8 Grimm had 30 kills in five matches and was 11-for-14 serving in a three-game sweep of Bowie in the state semifinals. "We could always count on Sarah and she even played when she was not feeling well," said coach Dunbar.

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