All-Howard County Volleyball Teams

November 30, 1999

Player of the Year

Shannon Patrick, River Hill, senior, hitter: "Shannon was pretty much unstoppable throughout the year," said River Hill coach Sybil Modispacher. Patrick finished with 417 kills for the second-ranked Hawks, including 24 against Thomas Johnson in the state semifinal and 25 in the loss to Northern in the Class 3A final. "She stepped up," Modispacher said. "She was focused on what she had to do to score points." Patrick became an improved hitter this season because the sets were better and she played smarter. "She doesn't just jump and hit the ball," Modispacher said. "She jumps, she finds a spot and then hits. I've seen her in a lot of matches where she goes up, and I'm sure she's going to go cross court, and she sees that's covered and she turns and hits line. She had 25 kills against Northern, and that's pretty difficult to do." Patrick's serve percentage was 92, and she had 154 aces, including six in the fourth game against Thomas Johnson when the Hawks trailed by a game. Patrick's spirit always gave the Hawks a lift, and her skill, desire and consistency usually produced wins. "We knew if we set Shannon, the chances were very high that we would get a kill," said Modispacher. "She's like the Michael Jordon of our team. She is the person, if we're in trouble, we go to, sometimes in the back row. And if we're having trouble passing, she's the person that has to push the other person out of the back row and cover for that."

Coach of the Year

Sybil Modispacher, River Hill: In 1994, Modispacher took Atholton to the Class 2A state final. This season, her fourth at River Hill, Modispacher directed the Hawks to the state 3A final. Except for the fact that both teams lost in the championship, those seasons couldn't have been more different. "That year at Atholton was the hardest I've ever had, and this has been the best," Modispacher said. "Every kid on this team I feel close to because they're just wonderful. There has been a key eight kids [this season] that have played for me, but that doesn't mean the other four didn't contribute and work hard. This is the first year ever I really didn't have to fight about playing time. There was no concern about that. They were all there to work hard as a team, and that makes the difference." Four seniors -- Shannon Patrick, Lisa Humphrey, Carrie Kelehan and Kristin Dahlen -- started as freshmen when the school opened, and have been the backbone of the Hawks' success. "We'll never see that same mixture, that same magic that happened with those kids," said Modispacher. The second-ranked Hawks finished 18-3, with two losses to Northern, which didn't drop a game all season, and one against top-ranked Centennial. Modispacher said that while it was disappointing to lose the state final, there was "a lot of satisfaction" knowing her team had played so well in its first trip to the tournament against a perennial power. "It was a great night. I loved every second of it," Modispacher said. "It's been an incredible year, and it means everything to me that the kids had such a great season because they deserved that."

The first team

Jacque Armstead, Mount Hebron, senior, setter: Armstead was like having a coach on the court, said Mount Hebron coach Betty Golibart. "She has a lot of coaching ability. I could absolutely see her coaching a team," Golibart said. Armstead's best attribute, according to Golibart, was her versatility. "She's able to adjust in a heartbeat to anything thrown her way," Golibart said. "She can turn bad passes into good sets, good passes into great sets." Armstead, who had 284 assists, "really understands the game and can anticipate what's going to happen," Golibart said. "She is pro-active rather then re-active." Armstead, who also played right-side hitter, had 38 aces and 47 kills. Golibart said Armstead "had a great attitude" and said what needed to be said to get her teammates to play better.

Kim Emrich, Centennial, senior, hitter: After a slow start, due in part to new setters, Emrich picked up her game and helped the Eagles to their fourth straight state championship. She finished with 135 kills and 88 digs, both second on the team, and had an 88.2 serve percentage. "She always pushes herself and her teammates in practice and is able to raise the intensity and keeps things going," said Centennial coach Mike Bossom. And come match time, Emrich "always came ready to play," said Bossom. Emrich was the "foundation of our serve receive a very consistent player." Emrich's leadership and understanding of the game made her an asset for the nine-time state champions. She had nine kills in the championship victory against Francis Scott Key.

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