The Carroll County volleyball tournament has officially been spiked.
County officials recently informed coaches that the annual midseason volleyball tournament will be disbanded after nine years. The tournament was launched in 1994 ostensibly to give the four other schools a chance to play Francis Scott Key, the lone team to compete in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League.
With the Central Maryland Conference merging with the MVAL next year, however, the Eagles will have the ability to schedule everyone, a big reason why county officials wanted to make the change.
Local teams now are looking at other tournaments, with at least two - defending champion Liberty and South Carroll - committing to a new tournament at Thomas Johnson.
"I'm really disappointed because I think, with the county teams playing each other just once, it was a good time for everyone to get together," said Liberty coach Dave Trumbo. "It was a special thing. We took a lot of pride in it."
South Carroll coach Debbie Eaton said she'll be sorry to see the tournament go.
"My team in particular seemed to enjoy doing it," said Eaton, whose Cavaliers were second the past two years behind Liberty. "But we'll still see everyone in the county, plus we'll get to play in a good tournament."
Four of the county's six public schools are introducing new varsity basketball coaches.
With the retirement of South Carroll boys coach Jim Carnes, former Cavaliers player and JV coach Greg Mihalko has been elevated to varsity. The Cavaliers also hired former girls standout Nicole Freeman, a two-time county Player of the Year in the mid-1990s (as Nicole Spencer), to replace Steve Luette.
North Carroll also replaced both of its coaches, naming Craig Abercrombe as boys coach and John Brown to coach the girls. At Westminster, Brett Kanther takes over the boys team from Dave Herman, who left to become coach at Winters Mill, which is playing a JV schedule this season.
At first-year Century, George Wunder and Joel Beard are the first varsity boys and girls coaches in school history. Beard, a former boys coach at Randallstown in the late 1980s, could face daughter Courtney Beard, a player for North Carroll, as many as three times this season, with the first matchup slated for Dec. 17 in Hampstead.
Calhoun on Boone
Former South Carroll center Josh Boone may be spending this season at Cecil County's West Nottingham, but the 6-foot-9 center already is receiving high praise from his future coach, Connecticut's Jim Calhoun.
Boone, a first-team All-Metro selection and the county Player of the Year last season after averaging 20 points, 14.4 rebounds and seven blocks for the Cavaliers, signed his letter of intent to play for the Huskies next season on Nov. 14.
"Josh is an athletic shot-blocker who runs the court extremely well," said Calhoun, who expects Boone to see some playing time as a freshman. "He has very good hands and is a great passer. He was a dominant defensive player at the high school level, one of the best shot-blockers in the country."
Calhoun said that Boone has added 20 pounds since the end of his senior year, extra padding he'll need going up against the physical players of the Big East Conference.
Second-team All-County midfielder Kara Meekins signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at Hofstra University.