Volleyball: Top 15 preseason poll

August 28, 2012|By Mike Frainie | For The Baltimore Sun

1. Mount Hebron

Coach: Mike Moynihan

Last season: 8-7, unranked

Postseason: 3A East Region quarterfinalist

Outlook: The Vikings are loaded this year and how quickly they jell will tell a lot about the team. Moynihan said the team has the luxury of depth, with many players having club experience. Sisters Erin and Morgan Walter will lead the team.

2. Arundel

Coach: Ashley Yuscavage

Last season: 19-1, No. 2

Postseason: 4A state finalist

Outlook: The Wildcats lost twins Ashlyn and Lindsey Tapley, but they return a deep team that should again be the favorites in Anne Arundel County. Senior Ashley Felton and sisters Brittney and Allie Orr will provide an imposing front line.

3. Centennial

Coach: Larry Schofield

Last season: 13-5, No. 9

Postseason: 3A East Region semifinalist

Outlook: The 14-time state champions return a solid core of their lineup, including All-Metro first-team selection Trisha Mockapetris. Five of the six positions on the court are set for the Eagles. Setter Lexy White-Torruellas will be a key piece of the offense.

4. Seton Keough

Coach: S.J. Greenway

Last season: 5-9, unranked

Postseason: IAAM A Conference semifinalist

Outlook: The Gators had a lot of growing pains last season, but this year's team may be the most talented in school history. Led by All-IAAM performer Ijeoma Igwe, almost the entire squad returns. Rachael Robinson, a setter, and Jenny Ford, a libero, will also provide leadership.

5. Broadneck

Coach: Scott Graf

Last season: 13-3, No. 7

Postseason: 4A East Region finalist

Outlook: With only three seniors, the Bruins have a young squad, but they're a talented group. The team's best player last year -- Graf's daughter, Allison -- graduated, but her sister, Mimi, returns. Senior middle hitter Margaret Doody is also back.

6. Century

Coach: Becky Groves

Last season: 18-1, No. 3

Postseason: 2A state champion

Outlook: It would be hard for the Knights to improve on last year's performance, when they won the Class 2A state title, but they hope to do it again. Although Century lost a lot of height at the net, outside hitter Hailey Bordner and setter Hailey Thrift will lead the team.

7. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Scott Rombach

Last season: 20-0, No. 1

Postseason: IAAM A Conference champion

Outlook: The Cavaliers lost Jamie Rombach, an All-Metro first-team hitter, but they return second-team selection Kristen Seeba. Along with seniors Amanda Kudlawiec and Holly McDonnell, Seeba will need to provide offense if they hope to repeat as champs.

8. Severna Park

Coach: Tim Dunbar

Last season: 10-6, unranked

Postseason: 4A East Region quarterfinalist

Outlook: Dunbar -- who recently coached at Bryn Mawr -- returns as coach of a Falcons team that didn't graduate any seniors last year. Senior setter Kim Bell will be the leader, but sisters Abbie and Sophie Hoekstra will provide a good portion of the offense.

9. Glenelg

Coach: Don Beall

Last season: 12-3, No. 14

Postseason: 2A South Region semifinalist

Outlook: The Gladiators are an all-around solid team and will have some experience with five returning seniors. Outside hitter Morgan Perry will be the team leader, but sisters Sarah Girard, another outside hitter, and Rachael Girard, a libero, will anchor the defense.

10. Bel Air

Coach: Tim Markland

Last season: 10-6, unranked

Postseason: 3A North Region semifinalist

Outlook: The Bobcats return a deep team with eight returning seniors, and four of six starters are back. Setter Amanda Rodriguez, a junior, will be the squad's top player, but Bel Air also has a strong front row with seniors Kia Williams and Jackie DeLuise.

11. Dulaney

Coach: Cary Lyon

Last season: 15-3, No. 13

Postseason: 4A North Region finalist

Outlook: Senior Jessica Starr -- who Lyon describes as the heart and soul of the team -- will be the team's dominant player. The Lions return a deep lineup that will feature junior Darla Szoboda and sophomore Milan Amos on the front line.

12. River Hill

Coach: Lynn Paynter

Last season: 17-2, No. 4

Postseason: 3A state finalist

Outlook: A deep bench from last year, as well as five members from the junior varsity squad, will help the Hawks overcome a lot of losses to graduation. Cassidy Davis will be the only returnee on the front line, and Paynter said seniors Taylor Thomas and Keann Richard will provide a lot of offense.

13. Winters Mill

Coach: Michelle Crouse

Last season: 7-8, unranked

Postseason: 3A East Region semifinalist

Outlook: The Falcons return five of six starters from a team that played a tough schedule last season in Carroll County. The front line of Casey Bair and Laura Bell will be the strength of the team, with setter Sara Bollinger and libero Parker Chopin providing much of the defense.

14. C. Milton Wright

Coach: Dave Marzola

Last season: 14-3, unranked

Postseason: 3A North Region finalist

Outlook: The Mustangs move from the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference's lower division to the upper division, but they seem to be well armed to compete at the higher level. Junior Tori Smith will be the team leader for C. Milton Wright.

15. Reservoir

Coach: Carole Ferarnte

Last season: 13-5, unranked

Postseason: 3A East Region finalist

Outlook: The Gators always seem to be near the top of the Howard County league, and this year should be no different. Outside hitters Hannah Pinion and Caroline Winand, both juniors, will provide the team leadership. Libero Alexa Kelley, a senior, will captain the back line.

Others considered: Atholton (10-6, unranked), Fallston (16-3, No. 5), Hereford (12-3, unranked), Howard (6-10, unranked), St. Paul's (11-4, No. 11), Towson (15-2, No. 6)

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