When Tim Markland took over the Bel Air varsity volleyball team in 2008, he knew he had a challenge. Still, he saw the talent and potential at the school, and he vowed to work to build the program.
Markland's hard work paid off this year for the Bobcats, who compiled a 19-1 record and reached the Class 3A state semifinals before losing to eventual state champion North Hagerstown in three sets. The program won its first regional title in volleyball since 1998.
"When I started coaching, we had trouble getting girls to try out," Markland said. "This year, we had 40 girls who wanted to play. Each year it's gotten a little bigger, and a little better."
Last season, Markland led Bel Air to a 15-8 record, but the team lost to Towson in the Class 3A North regional final. The Bobcats vowed to go a step further this year, and that's exactly what happened when they defeated the Generals to win the regional crown and earn the trip to College Park.
"I knew we had the potential to do something good this year. There was a lot of talent here," Markland said. "The whole school got behind us. It was awesome."
Markland, who had a 47-43 record in his five years as the Bobcats' varsity volleyball coach, announced after the season that he is stepping down from the role to spend more time with his young children.