On top of her game

Marjorie Detres is a force at the net despite her 5-4 height and has the most complete game of any Digital Harbor player


September 20, 2006|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN REPORTER

When Marjorie Detres steps onto the volleyball court to warm up for a game, it would appear that she is Digital Harbor's defensive specialist.

At 5 feet 4, Detres is quick, agile and skilled. Teammate Tiffany White hits one ball after another at her and Detres passes or digs almost every one right back to her partner's hands.

As warm-ups progress to the net, however, Detres switches gears in a big way. She starts slamming the ball like a 6-footer.

The junior outside hitter has never listened to anyone who told her she might be better off playing away from the net - not even her first Rams volleyball coach, Beth Schwabenbauer.

"Miss Schwabenbauer told me: `You're too short to be a hitter. When you go to college, they're going to want you to be a setter or libero.' I'm like, `No. I'm going to be a hitter,' " said Detres, who turns 16 next week.

She can put the ball down with authority, finishing with five kills and just one hitting error in last week's 25-22, 25-23, 25-13 win at Mervo, which, like most other city teams, had little blocking.

"If she was 3 to 5 inches taller, she would probably be one of the most sought-after players as far as recruits go. Even with her height, she can be pretty much unstoppable," said Monica Dailey, the Rams' first-year coach.

In last season's match against Western, Detres' former club teammate Shatera Kimbrough said she wasn't sure she was seeing the same Detres.

"Her hitting improved so much. She can really get up. They were giving us a run for our money and she was getting most of their kills. I was like, `Where's Marjorie coming from? Is that her spiking?' I can't believe what I was seeing. I wish she had come to Western," said Kimbrough, an All-City setter.

Detres' hitting stats aren't often overwhelming because the Rams have a balanced attack, but her game is the most complete on the team. She has the polish of a club player, and it shows in her passing, digging and serving as well as her composure on the court.

Last week when Mervo rallied to tie the first game at 22, Detres served out the last three points.

"She doesn't get emotional," Dailey said. "If there's a flaw and if the other team gets a point, you can watch the faces of the other girls, they can get down. She stays in the game and gives everybody what they need to get back on track. She has a certain maturity that is rare."

Detres developed her poise and leadership as well as her skill in the Starlings Volleyball Club, which she joined in sixth grade.

By the time she got to Digital Harbor, she was good enough to be the Rams' Most Valuable Player as a freshman and again as a sophomore, when the honor was voted on by her teammates.

Schwabenbauer said her teammates appreciate her skill and leadership as well as her work ethic, unselfishness and outgoing, upbeat personality.

"She's very mature and dedicated to what she does. She's one of those kids you wish you had 1,000 of because she knows what she has to do and she gets it done. That has to come from her parents and the way they raised her," said Schwabenbauer, who also taught Detres in geometry class.

That maturity and dedication extends well beyond the volleyball court. Enrolled in the computer programming pathway at high-tech Digital Harbor, she wants to be a computer forensic scientist.

She wants to track criminals who commit their crimes via the Internet.

"You know how they have crimes on computers with credit cards and e-mailing and doing bad things on the Internet? You just break it down. You can go somewhere on the computer and write a plan and then think you deleted it, but you didn't delete it. It's actually still in the hard drive. Computer forensic scientists break into the computer and take all that information out," Detres said.

She's also intrigued by the way police officers can snare sexual predators by creating an online persona to reel them in. On a field trip to a Baltimore City Police precinct last year, she watched one officer pretend to be a 15-year-old girl chatting with men on line.

Detres has a 92.4 percent academic average, and that has helped her win acceptance to Building STEPS (Science, Technology, Education PartnershipS), a two-year program to expose minority students to careers in science and technology. She'll attend monthly seminars, receive mentoring and have a paid summer internship.

The program will almost assure a college scholarship, she said, but she wants to keep playing volleyball.

Her maturity and dedication will be tested when she heads to college in 2008, because her parents and her only sibling, 7-year-old Jose, plan to return to their native Puerto Rico. Detres is very close to her family, but she wants to stay here.

"I've lived here since I was 3. That's almost 13 years. You get used to it. You go back to Puerto Rico, and I know it's where I'm from, but I just can't picture myself living there," said Detres, whose family vacations in Puerto Rico every other year, most recently this past July.

She'll face the separation with the same resolve she brings to volleyball, her studies and a coming run for class president.

"It does bother me sometimes when I think about it, but you've got to grow up."


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