Around The Area


September 02, 2004

Anne Arundel Co.

Arundel, Broadneck and Severna Park, the teams with the most club players, remain the contenders for the county championship match on Nov. 1.

A powerful front row of Tiffany Johnson (5 feet 11), Alex McGuire (5-9) and Meade transfer Jazman Ramsey (6-4) along with several other returning seniors make Arundel (12-4) the team to beat.

Known for its disciplined multi-defense, Broadneck (18-2) returns a superb setter in Stephanie Carey, who will have experienced hitters in Kanishia Sheppard and Allie Woods to feed.

Setter Caitlin Ware and hitters Ashlee Allen and Kendal Klein make Severna Park (13-4) a county contender.

Baltimore City

Poly and Western will continue their battle for supremacy under new coaches. Western graduate Monique Butler takes over the Doves from Cassandra Melton, and Kendall Peace replaces Tiffany Byrd at Poly.

The Engineers ended Western's six-year title run last fall, but will be rebuilding after graduating 12 players. Western returns three players. The teams are scheduled to meet Sept. 24 at Western.

Western will be the favorite in Division I, with City, W.E.B. DuBois, Dunbar, Edmondson, Forest Park, Lake Clifton, Mervo and Walbrook likely chasing. Poly will be in Division II.

Baltimore County

Coming off its third straight county title, Towson is again favored. The Generals defeated Owings Mills last season in four tight games, but the Eagles graduated every key player.

The Generals, who likely will face their toughest competition within the Class 4A-3A Division, return proven hitting and a solid setter - a double feature neither of their closest rivals has yet. Dulaney has solid hitting but needs to develop a setter, while Catonsville has an excellent setter but no consistent power hitters.

In 2A-1A, the door is ajar for Loch Raven, which has been to the state semifinals three straight years but has not enjoyed the same success on the county level.

Carroll County

Defending Class 2A state champion Liberty again returns a powerhouse team, led by first-team All-Metro hitters Meghan McConville and Stacey Krebs, the co-Carroll County Players of the Year. The Lions, 19-0 last season, return five of six starters and will rely heavily on six seniors, including all-county setter Lauren Locklear.

South Carroll could be Liberty's closest competition. Led by All-County hitters Melissa Axtell and Stephanie Scurci, the Cavaliers should be able to improve on last year's 9-7 mark.

Century, a .500 team last season, returns four key players, including standout hitters Dana Reeser and Katlyn Williard.

Harford County

C.M. Wright again will be the team to beat. The Mustangs (13-3 last year) have won the county title six of the past seven years, although there won't be one this year because of the formation of the Upper Chesapeake Bay Conference.

Despite having only one starter back, senior Samantha Dorsey (middle hitter), the Mustangs have a number of players who filled roles last year plus some who sparked the junior varsity.

Edgewood should make some noise. The Rams took second in the county last year, and Fallston also has some talent. Cecil County schools Perryville, North East, Rising Sun, Elkton and Bohemia Manor are members of the conference.

Howard County

Centennial last captured a county championship in 2000, which was the program's 12th crown in its history.

No. 13 could be on the way, as the Eagles return a wealth of experience. If they can offset a lack of height with their speed, the Eagles again could be ahead of the pack.

Glenelg, which won the past two county titles, must rely on its explosive attack to overcome the graduation of seven players from a squad that advanced to the Class 2A state final the past two years.

Mount Hebron and River Hill took some hits from graduation, but they usually find a way - and personnel - to replenish their hopes for a county crown.

Private schools

After winning the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference last season and going 33-3 over the past two years, St. Paul's has moved up to the A Conference to highlight some shuffling of teams.

John Carroll is the defending A Conference champion, but the Patriots took a graduation hit and are expected to be pushed by St. Paul's.

The strong hitting of Brooks Webster puts the Institute of Notre Dame in the mix of A contenders with Chapelgate, the runner-up to John Carroll, McDonogh and Seton Keough not to be counted out.

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