Player of the Year: Lindsay Lawson, Dulaney
Lawson, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter, has been a main reason why the second-ranked Lions have won 40 straight matches, including back-to-back Baltimore County, region and Class 4A state titles. A second- team All-Metro pick as a junior last year, Lawson led Dulaney with three kills a game and had many of her best performances in key matches. "The impact of what she did was just tremendous," said Dulaney coach Ian Blanchard. "She doubled everybody else in hits in the state final. She's got a complete game. She can hit. She can set. She served aggressively. She plays great defense. And I credit her with being able to step up in crucial situations." In the state final sweep of Broadneck, Lawson had 12 kills. She contributed 17 kills to the semifinal victory over Bowie. Lawson also had 72 assists in the first five matches of the season when she was primarily used as a setter. She has verbally committed to Elon College, where she is expected to be a setter. Lawson served at 97 percent with 24 aces and had 96 digs.
Coach of the year: Romonzo Beans, Broadneck
After going 7-8 in his first season as coach in 1997, Broadneck has posted a 39-9 record the last three years, in´cluding a school-best 19-2 this season. The Bruins beat perennial champion Severna Park twice, the first time in the Anne Arundel County champion´ship that stopped the Falcons' 78-match winning streak against county teams and again in the re´gional championship. Beans, who coaches the team with his wife, Beth, has a steady and confident demeanor that played an impor´tant role in the team's success. He said this year's team knew it had the talent, but needed an attitude change. "The attitude change was that we were going to have fun," Beans said. Beans and Beth grad´uated in 1986 from Broadneck, where he played football (he's in the Bruins' Hall of Fame) and she played volleyball. Romonzo credits Beth and his sister, Angela Beans, a former volleyball player at Se´verna Park and George Mason University, for helping him with technical aspects of the game and his mother, Cassandra Beans, for her unwavering support. Beans plays club volleyball and coaches at the Chesapeake Volleyball Club.
Nicole Barr, Broadneck
A four-year varsity player and three-year starter, Barr played both hitter and setter equally as well as the sixth-ranked Bruins (19-2) advanced to the state final for the first time. The fourth of five sisters to play volleyball at Broadneck, the 5-foot-11 Barr is an "aggressive player who makes good decisions," according to Broadneck coach Romonzo Beans. "She mixes it up very well." Barr, named Anne Arundel County's Player of the Year, had a service percentage of .890 to go with 47 aces, 136 kills, 61 blocks and 229 assists. "Nicole is determination, and she sets an example for everyone else by demanding they push the way she does," said Beans.
Ericka Butler, Western
The 5-foot-8 senior has exceptional leaping ability and power, and led an inexperienced Doves team to its fourth straight Baltimore City crown. "She hits extremely hard," said Western coach Shirley Williams. "The angle and velocity of her spike is second to none." Butler averaged 2.8 kills per game, and in the city title victory over Poly had 16 kills, seven blocks, seven aces and four assists. Butler, who signed a volleyball scholarship to Morgan State, played "wherever she was needed and never complained," Williams said. "She did what she could to help the team and the younger players. She was one of the most coachable, hard- working kids in 30 years of coach ing. She was a delight."
Lindsay Feller, Centennial
The 6-foot junior outside hitter led top-ranked Centennial (19-1) with 177 kills and 20 point blocks. Although she mainly played the front row, Feller served at 89 percent and had 17 aces for the Class 2A state champions, who earned their fifth straight state title. "Lindsay is just an overpowering hitter and blocker," said Centennial coach Mike Bossom. "Her net play is one of the best in the state. She can dominate a game from start to finish." At the Howard County championship, Feller had an errorless match, landing 16 of 19 attempts for kills. "As a front-row player, she is ... unbelievable," Bossom said. "She is able to put the ball anywhere on the court at anytime from almost anywhere."
Michelle LeDonne, Centennial
Centennial coach Mike Bossom said LeDonne's best attribute is finding the "hot hitter" and "putting the ball in a hittable location no matter where she is on the court." LeDonne, a senior setter and Howard County Player of the Year, had 385 assists (6.1 a game), made 91 percent of her serves, including 47 aces, and had 87 digs. Centennial runs a complicated and quick offense that demands a skilled, athletic and intelligent setter. "Michelle has really learned the game," said Bossom. "She sees things faster than I do. She's able to make adjustments and call different plays to try to get certain hitters open. She has a good feeling for the game and the tempo it needs to be played in."
Carrie Ness, Francis Scott Key
The Carroll County Player of the Year directed third-ranked Francis Scott Key (16-3) to the Class 2A state final for the second straight year. Ness, a setter and repeat first-team All-Metro selection, averaged 7.8 assists per game and had a 93.1 serving percentage. The 5-foot-7 senior, who ranked third on the Eagles in blocks, is a smart and effective leader whose precise sets gave hitters a good chance to score points. "She made our offense work," said Francis Scott Key coach Alice Rau. "She called the plays and made our hitters successful. She's very consis||ýPage=000 Loose,0007.05þ|| tent and puts the ball in the place where each player can put it away."
Samantha Stambaugh, Francis Scott Key
Despite never having played club volleyball, the 6-foot Stambaugh became one of the top hitters in the area. "She's a tremendously hard worker," said Francis Scott Key coach Alice Rau. "She gives 100 percent all the time and it shows. She made tremendous improvement this year and dominated in everything she did." A middle hitter, Stambaugh, who hopes to play volleyball and basketball next year at Western Maryland, led the Eagles with 3.8 kills and 1.5 blocks a game. She had seven blocks in one game against Fort Hill in the playoffs. "She really picked up her play in the back row this season," said Rau. "And in the front row she was unstoppable. She has a lot of power and really dominated."
Kallie Wasserman, Owings Mills
The 5-foot-91/2 Wasserman averaged 3.25 kills a game and led an inexperienced Eagles team to a 15-3 record and the final No. 8 ranking. "She has a really good all- around game," said Owings Mills coach Lisa Meyer. "She's always where she needs to be and has the ability to take over the game, whether from the net or the back row." In the regional tournament, Wasserman had 21 kills in a three- game sweep of Loch Raven and 15 in a loss to Towson.