1999 All-Anne Arundel County Volleyball Teams

November 30, 1999

Player of the Year

Lauren Briggs, Severna Park, Sr., Hitter: Another in a long line of excellent Falcons players, in addition to being another Briggs who has starred at the school. The 5-foot-11 outside hitter is the third straight Falcons Player of the Year and sixth during the 1990s. Her three older brothers -- Jason (track), John and Matt (both basketball) -- and her father, John Sr. (basketball) also played varsity sports at Severna Park. "When we were getting things together early in the year, Lauren carried us," said coach Tim Dunbar. "She had a lot to do with the development of our younger players." Briggs led the Falcons in kills (160), had 48 aces, 23 blocks and was .864 serving. In a season-opening, 3-0 loss to eventual 3A state champion Northern-Calvert, Briggs was a perfect 7-for-7 serving, with six kills. She had 13 kills in a 3-1 loss to eventual 4A state champion Dulaney. A member of last year's county and region champion that advanced to the state final, Briggs blossomed into a quality hitter with quickness, athletic ability and strength in her senior year as the Falcons won their fifth consecutive county championship. In her team's 3-0 county-title victory over Broadneck, Briggs was 11-for-12 serving, with three aces, and had seven of the team's 26 kills. She was 13-for-15 serving in the tough, 3-1 loss to Montgomery Blair in the 4A state semifinals.

Coach of the Year

Tim Dunbar, Severna Park: This was supposed to be the year that the Falcons would get their wings clipped by county foes. Hit hard by graduation (lost five starters), Severna Park opened the season with eight JV grads, with three jumping into starting roles. Broadneck was loaded with experience and ranked as the top challenger to the Falcons. While the players changed at Severna Park, the coach did not. Dunbar has set the standard for county volleyball coaches in his 13 seasons with an overall record of 252-26 and three state titles. Two of his teams have gone undefeated -- in 1991 (19-0) and 1993 (22-0). Dunbar's ability to adjust to personnel and develop individual skills while meshing upperclassmen with underclassmen, not to mention his emphasis on academics and discipline, are the main reasons for the continued success. Turning in one of his finest efforts to earn Sun Coach of the Year honors for the sixth time in his career, Dunbar led the Falcons to their fifth county title in a row, 11th overall in his tenure (148-4 against county opposition) and eighth regional crown. Playing arguably their toughest-ever schedule by intention, the Falcons finished 15-4 overall, losing, 3-1, in the 4A state semis to Montgomery Blair. The other three losses were to state champions Dulaney (4A) and Northern-Calvert (3A) and the region runner-up to the latter in Calvert. This year's team was reminiscent of Dunbar's '94 squad (20-4) that lost all six starters, including three All- Metros, from the previous season, which culminated with a third straight 4A state title. "I'm really proud of this team," said Dunbar. "A lot of people said at the beginning of the year we weren't going to be any good because we had lost five starters [two All-Metros]. These kids were regional champs again, county champs again, and lost in the state semifinals to a good team. No team at the 4A level is winning every single year any more and our record is as good as anybody in the state."

First team

Lauren Bessire, Severna Park, Sr., hitter: Only the fifth Falcon to earn a varsity letter all four years, Bessire was quietly consistent for the county and regional champions. Not a flashy player, the strong, 6-foot middle hitter set a single-season kill record for Falcons middle hitters with 149, breaking the mark of 142 by two-time All-Metro Catherine Kirk in 1992. Bessire, who also had a .769 serving percentage and a club-leading 77 blocks, had her final nine kills in the state semifinal loss to Montgomery Blair. "Lauren was phenomenal in the back row," said Dunbar. In the 3-1 regular season loss to 4A state champion Dulaney, Bessire had a game-high 15 kills, eight in the 3-1 county championship victory over Broadneck, seven in the 3-0 4A East quarterfinal triumph over Broadneck and eight in the 3-1 regional final win over Arundel.

Najmah Fauntleroy, Arundel, Jr., hitter: Coach Greg Legrand, who led the Wildcats to an overall 13-4 record (two losses to Severna Park) calls Fauntleroy "just a great athlete and great kid." An All-County basketball player as a sophomore, the 6-foot Fauntleroy was talked into volleyball for the first time this year by Legrand and responded with a school-record 248 kills, including 19 in the 3-1 East Region final loss to Severna Park. Fauntleroy also had 10 blocks in the region final and averaged three per match over the season. "Najmah is a natural for volleyball, possessing great leaping ability, timing and power."

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