Player of the Year Maddi Lee, River Hill
Simply overpowering, the 6-foot-2 senior hitter closed out a stellar career by leading the Hawks to the Class 2A state semifinals.
Lee, a three-year starter, led the county with 413 kills and also brought a fine all-around game as the focal point for the Hawks, who finished the season 15-5. Lee also had 179 digs, a .870 serve percentage and 49 aces in 69 games.
"Maddi was the kid every team adjusted for," said River Hill coach Sybil Modispacher. "She jumps high with a phenomenal arm swing. She can hit over just about everybody."
Lee was at her best in some of the Hawks' biggest matches, coming up with 28 kills, 10 digs and five aces in the team's 3-1 win over Patuxent to win the Class 2A South region. Despite the Hawks' four-game loss to North Hagerstown in the state semifinals, Lee contributed 33 kills. Lee will play volleyball at Maryland on a full scholarship.
Coach of the Year Carole Ferrante, Reservoir
After falling in the state title match last year, No. 1 Reservoir quickly regrouped and set the highest of standards this season. In going 20-0, the Gators captured Howard County and Class 3A South titles before winning the program's first state title with a three-game sweep of Huntingtown that typified their dominating season.
In practices, Ferrante continually emphasized defense and handling many of the different situations that may arise in a match, like having to come from behind late in a game.
"Defense is the first thing we always work on, and then we come back and work on it more at the end of practices. Players would ask why we had to go through all that stuff again and again, but they understood," Ferrante said. "Instead of just scrimmaging, we would put the kids in situations where they were down 21-17 and had to come back and win. It helped them come back in some of our games because they had that experience."
Ferrante, who took over the program in 2005, has a 52-6 record in three seasons.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS TEAM: Liana Farb, Centennial, senior, hitter; Jamie Huffman, Reservoir, senior, hitter; Tiffany Jacobson, Reservoir, junior, setter; Natasha Jensen, Wilde Lake, senior, hitter; Alex Kuper, Reservoir, senior, libero; Maddi Lee, River Hill, senior, hitter; Becky Pay nter, River Hill, sophomore, setter; Julie Posten, Reser voir, sophomore, hitter.
COUNTY PLAYERS ON IAAM TEAM: A Conference: Emily Welsh, Chapelgate; C Conference: Jackie Li, Glenelg Country School.
Note: The player and coach of the year were selected by Glenn Graham after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches. The public schools team was selected by Mike Frainie after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches. The IAAM team was selected through voting by the league's coaches.