Hereford hosts Dulaney in volleyball

Dulaney's Sydney Cohee, left, attempts to hit a ball past Hereford's Kaja Bibaud and LeAnne Collins during the Bulls' three-set loss on Sept. 9. (Photo by Steve Ruark / September 9, 2013)

Hereford second-year volleyball coach Dave Schreiner made a couple of changes in his lineup after Dulaney's early-season sweep of the Bulls.

Schreiner moved senior Kaja Bibaud from middle hitter to outside, senior Hana Tankersley from the weakside to Bibaud's old position and freshman Erin Collins from strongside to weakside while also promoting senior middle hitter Nicole Viscuso from reserve to starter.

So far, those moves look good.

Since the setback to the Lions, the Bulls (9-1) have won eight matches in a row, including sweeps of Chesapeake, Eastern Tech, Owings Mills, Perry Hall, Lansdowne, Dundalk and Woodlawn.

With a favorable regular-season schedule remaining, the Bulls could make it 12 straight wins before the playoffs start.

"I think it has made us much stronger," Schreiner said of the lineup shakeup. "We are definitely playing a lot better than early in the season. We are getting more scoring opportunities."

With Hereford — which also starts Collins' sister LeAnne, a senior setter, and senior outside hitter Kelly Cavey — peaking at the right time, the Bulls appear primed to reach a Class 2A state semifinal in College Park in November, a feat the program has not accomplished since 2004.

Schreiner is confident his squad is capable of reaching that lofty goal.

"I have been part of the volleyball program for 14 years, and I would say this is probably the strongest all-around team we have had," said Schreiner, who coached the Hereford junior varsity for 12 seasons, leading the Bulls to four titles. "We have the best hitters and defensive players."

Schreiner knows an appearance in the county championship Oct. 31 is even more likely than a state semifinal appearance if the Bulls claim the rest of their matches.

"That would be the second year in a row we would have made it," Schreiner said. "That's a big deal. Everybody wants to see someone but Dulaney win the county championship. I would love to be the one that had that opportunity. I think it would be good for us going into regional playoffs."

Hereford's 25-11, 13-25, 25-23, 25-13 victory over county rival Towson is the highlight of the season.

Cavey (11 kills), Bibaud (11 kills), Erin Collins (11 kills), LeAnne Collins (10 kills) and senior defensive specialist Sarah Badawi (21 digs) and Caprice Roche (17 digs) powered the Bulls.

"I think we played as good as we could have against Towson," Schreiner said. "It gave us a chance to see where we really are as a team."

If Schreiner and assistant coach Debbie Shipley were to pick a team MVP, LeAnne Collins would get the nod.

The three-year starter leads the team in assists (218) and ranks second in aces (31).

"She was voted the best setter in the county last year," Schreiner said.

Shipley said LeAnn Collins' dedication and determination set her apart from other players.

"She hustles after every ball and never gives up," said Shipley, noting Collins plays for the Baltimore Elite Volleyball Club.

Erin Collins has also been shining on the court. She leads the team in aces (35) and ranks second in kills (36).

"She is an exceptional player," Schreiner said. "She is not what you call a freshman. She plays more like a senior, to be honest."