Player of the Year: Tara Stradling, Glenelg
The Class 2A state champion Gladiators'unbeaten machine revolved around theirversatile 5-foot-9 junior setter.Stradling ran the show as Glenelg went20-0 to win its first state volleyball titlesince 1995 and its first Howard Countychampionship.
Stradling is also the first non-senior towin Player ofthe Year in at least 15 years.
Stradling had 467 assists, served 92 percent,was second on the team in aces (42),had 36 kills and 107 digs.
A two-time All-Howard County andthree-year varsity setter, Stradling, whoseattack jump is 8 feet 9, orchestrated theteam's multi-attack with deceptive and balanceddistribution, utilizing a deep frontline. Coach Jennifer Beall used five frontlineplayers each ofw hom averaged 6 feet.
"Tara's versatility allowed us to run anyoffense," said Beall, who started as headcoach Stradling's freshman year. "I'vewatched her grow, get stronger and moreaggressive on attack. Tara was a calming influenceon the rest of the girls."
Her floor leadership and instincts werenever more evident than in the 15-10, 15-13,15-12 state final over Towson. Stradling had27 assists, five kills and six aces.
Coach of the Year: Michael Moynihan, Mount Hebron
Moynihan nearly hit the jackpotin his first season as headvolleyball coachofthe fourthrankedVikingsand it's going tocost him.
Moynihan, who coachedWestern Tech inB a l t i m o r eCounty for fiveye a r s b e f o recoming to Mount Hebron, willlose his salt-and-pepper hair atthe team's upcoming postseasonparty.
"I'm getting my head buzzedthis week," said Moynihan, whoremade the 3-12 Vikings ofayear ago into a 16-4 Class 3Astate finalist.
"I told the girls if we won theregion or state championshipthat I would let them shave myhair off."
While he coached the school'sfreshman team last year, thevarsity struggled through a horrendousyear.
"I had no intention ofbeing ahead coach again when I cameto Mount Hebron, but I watchedthem and could see how goodthey could be," said Moynihan,who set out to build confidencethis year and got a boost whenhis team opened up by upsettingNo. 3 Broadneck, 3-1.
Broadneck would be the firstoff ive Top 10 teams Mount Hebronwould knock off.
"I told them to believe howgood they are and watchingthem come together was mostsatisfying," Moynihan said.
The Vikings stunned SevernaPark (14-5) in three games in the3A East final and defeated Liberty,3-1, in the state semifinalsafter losing the first game 15-12.
Mount Hebron dropped the3A state final in four games to amuch taller Patuxent ofCal vertCounty team.
With Moynihan, Mount Hebronhad the most wins sincethe 1998 team went 19-1 underKedre Fairley and the 1995 3Astate champion coached byHenry Dahlen that was 18-2.
Emily Berman, Towson
Hard work and dedication tothe game turned this 6-foot-1middle hitterinto a completeplayer her senioryear. Berman developedinto apowerful hitterwith a lethalserve for theNo. 2 Generals( 1 8 - 1 ) , whodidn't lose untilthe Class 2A state final. After ajunior year in which she averaged2.2 kills in the Generals'run to the 2A state championshipand earned All-BaltimoreCity/County honors, Berman averaged3.25 kills and 1.2 blocksthis season. In the state semifinals,Berman had 13 kills inTowson's three-game sweep ofBethesda-Chevy Chase and hadeight in the Generals' 3-0 loss toGlenelg in the final. Berman wasthe perfect complement toteammate Stephanie Kines.
Hallie Fuller, Broadneck
One of only two All-Metrofirst-team repeaters, Fuller finishedstrong and so did theNo. 3 Bruins in notching theirsecond straight Class 4A statetitle.
Fuller, a four-year starter andthree-time All-Anne ArundelCounty setter,averaged 6.3 assists,1.5 kills, 1.6blocks and putup a .940 servingpercentage. The5-8 Fuller wasthe key to thesuccess ofhisteam down thestretch. In theBruins' crucial 3-0 Class 4A Eastregion semifinal victory overArundel, Fuller tied her schoolrecord of48 assists. Fuller, theschool's career assists leader,also had five kills and fourblocks in the Arundel win. In the3-0 state tournament wins overGaithersburg and Perry Hall,Fuller had 31 assists, seven killsand was 22-for-23 serving withsix aces.
Amanda Hernandez, Arundel
The 5-9 senior setter led Arundelto its first unbeaten regularseason and was named theAnne Arundel County Player ofthe Year. A two-time All-AnneArundel choice, Hernandez wasclearly the catalyst as the No. 7Wildcats (15-2) went 11-0 in theregular season and did not loseuntil the county championshipand the 4A East semifinals.
She had 28 assists and eightblocks in the Wildcats' first victoryover No. 6Severna Park inat least 25 yearsand 28 more assistsin a regularseasonwin over4A state championBroadneck.In the Wildcats'3-0 loss toBroadneck inthe 4A East semis, Hernandezhad 25 assists. After setting aschool season record for assistswith 507 last year, Hernandezcame back with 428 this season.
Stephanie Kines, Towson
Baltimore County's Player ofthe Year, Kines is the other repeatAll-Metrofirst-teamer. The5-10 senior is apowerful hitterwith exceptionalhang time thatallows her tocrush the ball ortip it into theopen space atthe last second.A three-time All-Baltimore CityFCounty selection, Kines averaged3.2 kills and 1.1 blocks forthe 2A state runner-up and repeatcounty champion. In theGenerals' 3-1 victory over No. 5Dulaney (17-3) in the countychampionship match, Kinespumped and tapped 27 kills despitethe Lions' triple-block.Kines also led the Generals to arepeat 2A North region title andinto the state final four whereshe had 15 kills in a 3-0 sweep ofBethesda-Chevy Chase in thesemifinals and 11 kills in the 3-0loss to Glenelg in the final.
Sarah Tursell, Glenelg
A second-team All-Metro hitteras a junior last year, Tursellwas a four-yearvarsity starterfor the Class 2Astate championG l a d i a t o r s(20-0). The 6-1middle hitter ledGlenelg in kills(3.2), blocks (1.0)and aces with 55,and had 105 digs.Extremely mobile with poweraround the net, Tursell can hitmiddle or outside and alsoserves well. Her versatilityplayed a major role in the Gladiatorsgoing undefeated (14-0)with all 3-0 sweeps in HowardCounty league play and takingtheir first county title by 3-1 overNo. 4 Mount Hebron. Tursellhad 20 kills, four blocks andthree aces in the county final.Glenelg swept the state tournamentwith 3-0 wins over J.M.Bennett and then-No. 1 Towson,with Tursell contributing 20kills.
Cristin Van Dyke, Broadneck
The Bruins' repeat Class 4Astate title was very special to the6-2 Van Dyke. The lanky andathletic middle hitter did notplay in last year's state championshipvictory for personal reasons.She made sure the No. 3Bruins (16-3) got back to thegrand finale by leading her teamin kills (235) and blocks (120).
To return to the state finalfour meant defeating No. 7Arundel (15-2), a team that hadswept the Bruins, 3-0, in the regularseason.
Van Dyke had 11 kills andseven blocks as the Bruins returnedthe 3-0 favorto the 'Catsin the 4A Eastsemifinals. Shehad 17 kills and13 blocks in the3-1 region finalover ThomasJohnson andaided 3-0 statetournament victoriesover Gaithersburg andPerry Hall.
Jen Wylie, Dulaney
A second-team All-Metro hitteras a sophomore, Wylie foughtthrough an injury-plagued juniorseason lastyear that wasculminated by abroken ankle.The 5-11 outsidehitter came backstrong this season,averaging4.5 kills and 1.0service aces for the No. 5 Lions(17-3). Wylie, a former gymnastwho is very deceptive and powerfulat the net, led the Lions totheir fifth consecutive region titleand berth in the state tournament.She sparkled with 14kills in a tough 3-0 loss by scoresof1 5-10, 15-11 and 15-12 to eventual3A state champion Patuxent(17-1) ofCal vert County. TheLions also came up short in theBaltimore County championshipmatch, losing 3-1 to Towsondespite the strong hitting ofW ylie,who had 27 kills to match herfoe Stephanie Kines.