December 16, 2007

Player of the Year

Rachel Kuegler


Described by her coach, Nicole Hoover, as someone who brings "a center of light to everything about her," Kuegler contributed most of the offense to a team that finished 16-2, with its only loses coming to two eventual state champions (Class 3A's Reservoir and Class 2A's Rising Sun).

Kuegler, a hitter, finished her senior season with 252 kills, which provided most of Fallston's offense. She also contributed 180 service points, 34 aces, 112 digs and 16 blocks. She was also The Sun's Harford County Player of the Year last season.

Kuegler, who plays no other sport in high school than volleyball, would like to continue to play in college. She is undecided, however, as to which college she will attend.

"Obviously her game is what people notice, but they never see all the things she does off the court," Hoover said. "Her leadership on the team was contagious, and she is a student of the game. She always wants to get better."

Coach of the Year

Nicole Hoover


This was supposed to be a down year for Fallston, but Hoover responded by taking her young team all the way to the regional semifinals.

After taking the first game from No. 1 Reservoir, the Cougars dropped the next three to fall to the eventual Class 3A state champion.

Under her direction, the team has improved almost every year. The Cougars went 10-6 last season, and then responded with a 16-2 campaign this season, with the only loses coming to the top-ranked Gators and eventual Class 2A champion Rising Sun (a loss they later avenged).

Hoover took up volleyball coaching eight years ago when Fallston needed a junior varsity coach. She attended coaching clinics and learned the game before stepping up to the varsity level in 2002. Since then, she has compiled a 50-35 record while leading the Cougars.

"It's great to be recognized as one of the top programs in Harford County, but we want to be recognized as one of the top teams in the state," Hoover said. "Each year, my goal is to get further than the year before."

COUNTY PLAYER ON IAAM TEAM: A Conference: Katie Peusch, John Carroll.

Note: Player and Coach of the Year were selected by Mike Frainie after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches. The IAAM team was selected through voting by league coaches. The county public schools and the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference do not select all-league teams.

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