1998 Carroll County volleyball teams

November 25, 1998

Player of the Year

Kate Wall, North Carroll, Senior, hitter: The 5-foot-9 outside hitter was one of the main reasons that North Carroll surprised everyone this season and won the county title despite being crushed by injuries. Wall is a solid all-around player who helped the Panthers all over the court throughout the season. She finished the season with a team-high 183 kills, 17 blocks, had a serving percentage of 87 percent and added 19 aces with 104 points. Coach Lloyd Ford said Wall was the team's go-to player in the front. "She could make the difference," said Ford. This was her third year on the varsity, and those injuries forced her to carry more of the load this year, and Wall was up to the challenge. She had little trouble with picking the team up on her back in several matches, and the Panthers will miss her dearly next year.

Coach of the Year

Lloyd Ford, North Carroll: He didn't pull it off with smoke and mirrors, but some wonder how Ford was able to lead an injury-decimated team to the county title. Ford said that after injuries cost the team two key players before the year began that all he did was get the entire team to realize what their shortcomings, as well as, their strengths were. This let the Panthers realize that hard work and remaining focused would be the key. The Panthers, to that end, won five five-game matches out of six -- the lone loss coming to Liberty in the region semifinals. "We went with the idea that what we earned this year was going to come from hard work because we weren't the most talented team," said Ford. "They were a great group to work with. Most coaches, in some way, accept the end of the season as somewhat of a relief. But as many years as I've coached, I didn't feel that way about this team and this season."

Abby Barnett, Liberty, senior. hitter: She was probably the most dominant player on the front line in Carroll County and also one of the area's best. Barnett finished with a county high of 284 kills and 87 blocks, helping the Lions make the region final for the second straight year. She was a force offensively and defensively, and improved each of her three years on the varsity, benefiting from her 24-inch vertical leap. Barnett's been a middle hitter all three years on the varsity and stepped up in a big way this season to fill the holes that graduation left, even after the Lions won the region title last year.

Danielle Caballero, South Carroll, junior, hitter: South Carroll coach Debbie Eaton said that Caballero moved her game to another level this season as the Cavaliers improved to 9-7. Caballero finished with 141 kills and 74 blocks. In addition, she added 96 points from serves to complete her good all-around game. Caballero also showed she is strong in the back row, as well as at the net, using improved quickness and strength to cause damage all around for South Carroll. "She's improved in every aspect of her game," said Eaton.

Abbie Cornett, Westminster, senior, hitter: She was a big part of the Westminster offense, helping the Owls to the region final. After struggling a little at times during the regular season, Cornett came up huge in the playoffs. She had 13 kills and made a number of big plays in a region semifinal win over Arundel. Cornett then posted 14 kills in the region final loss to Severna Park. Cornett led the county in blocks and was a real force at the net throughout the year, wreaking havoc with opponents' offenses. "People had to hit around her," said Westminster coach Michele Crouse.

Charis Fulton, North Carroll, senior, hitter: ter: She combined with Wall to give the Panthers a strong one-two punch en route to the county championship. Fulton finished with 94 kills and had a 93 percent serving rate. She also had 14 aces and finished with 128 points. In addition, Fulton had 10 blocks and 21 assists and showed her versatility time and again. Fulton, also one of the county's top tennis players, surprised Ford a bit this season with her power. But, combined with her strong abilities on defense, this made Fulton that much more dangerous this season.

Stephanie Robertson, Francis Scott Key, senior, hitter: A very consistent, aggressive player who meant a lot to the Eagles this year, Robertson was all over the court throughout every match. Her statistics reflect that. She had 82 kills, 40 blocks and a 95 percent serving rate. Just for good measure, she added 33 aces and had 177 of the team's 859 points. Robertson showed her all-around ability by finishing with 106 digs. Despite being 5-6, she did a good job blocking up front and was very aggressive wherever she played.

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