Player of the Year
Patrick's spirit always gave the second-ranked Hawks (18-3) a lift, and her skill, desire and consistency usually produced wins. "Shannon was pretty much unstoppable throughout the year," said River Hill coach Sybil Modispacher. Patrick, Howard County's Player of the Year, finished with 417 kills, including 24 against Thomas Johnson in the Class 3A state semifinal and 25 in the loss to Northern-Calvert in the final. The senior became an improved hitter this season because the sets were better and she played smarter. A four-year starter, Patrick made 92 percent of her serves and had 154 aces, including six in the pivotal fourth game of the state semifinal against Thomas Johnson. She has orally committed to Wyoming.
Coach of the Year
Blanchard took over three years ago, and the Lions have gone from being Baltimore County's top team to being one of the state's top teams. Dulaney has won three straight county titles and been to the state tournament twice. This season, the No. 3 Lions (20-0) won their first state title with a five-game win over Montgomery Blair in the Class 4A final. The Lions haven't lost a game to a Baltimore County team in two years, and lost three games this season. Blanchard, who has a 55-3 record at Dulaney, built his program on a solid foundation of club players, most of whom he coaches at the Time Out For Sports club. He made a few key improvements this season, beefing up the schedule, changing the defensive strategy and using one setter instead of two.
Briggs, the Anne Arundel County Player of the Year, led the No. 4 Falcons (15-4) in kills (160), had 48 aces, 23 blocks and made 86 percent of her serves. In a season-opening loss to eventual Class 3A state champion Northern-Calvert, the senior hitter was 7-for-7 serving with six kills, and had 13 kills in a four-game loss to eventual Class 4A state champion Dulaney. Briggs blossomed this season into a quality hitter with quickness, athletic ability and strength, helping her team win its fifth straight county title.
After a slow start, due in part to new setters, Emrich improved to help the top-ranked Eagles (18-2) to their fourth straight state title. A four-year varsity player and two-year starter, the senior hitter finished with 135 kills and 88 digs, both second on the team, and had an 88.2 serve percentage. Emrich's leadership and understanding of the game made her a valuable asset for the nine-time state champs. She had nine kills in the Class 2A state title win against Francis Scott Key.
Francis Scott Key
Ness established herself as Carroll County's premier setter, and led the fifth-ranked Eagles (17-3) to the Class 2A state finals. The 5-6 junior finished with a Carroll County-best 634 assists (8.2 a game) and hit more than 90 percent of her serves, including 40 aces. Ness, who had 41 blocks and 69 digs, also improved her defense and always seemed to be in the right position. A quiet leader, Ness was "tremendously important" to the team, Eagles coach Alice Smith said.
Annapolis Area C.S.
She learned volleyball in Sao Paulo, Brazil, while attending junior high school there. The senior setter played JV at AACS as a freshman, and started the past three years as the Eagles went 47-16 (14-8 in 1999). "She became an accomplished setter, best passer and go-to hitter," coach Dave Leith said. She had 175 assists, 107 kills and was a 90 percent server. Among her top games was a 23-for-27 effort with eight aces, nine assists and 10 kills in a win over Epworth.
A three-year starter for the 11th-ranked Mustangs (14-1), Hube finished with 90 kills, 25 blocks and a serving percentage of 91 that included 22 aces. Aside from her power, Hube, a 5-foot-11 senior outside hitter, was a leader on the court who kept her teammates under control. One of the team's top passers, Hube used her athleticism and knowledge of the game to adjust to any situation. Hube will attend the University of Oklahoma on a softball scholarship.
Reinhardt, the Baltimore County Player of the Year, sparked the Class 4A state champs with her precise sets, calm demeanor and upbeat attitude. The senior setter had 548 assists -- 52 in the five-game state-title win over Montgomery Blair -- and averaged 9.4 assists a game. She served at 96 percent, averaging 1.3 aces a game. Dulaney won more points on her serve than anyone else's. The Lions switched from using two setters to using only Reinhardt this season, and she thrived.