Volleyball: Player, Coach of the Year
St. Paul's Bailey Webster is the All-Metro Player of the Year for volleyball. (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / December 2, 2008)
St. Paul's, hitter
Webster's presence on the court was often enough to intimidate other teams before the ball was even struck. Perhaps the best volleyball player ever in the metro area, Webster simply took over matches. At times, she single-handedly kept her team in matches and rallied it when things got tough.
The most highly recruited player in the nation, the 6-foot-3 senior entertained offers from hundreds of Division I schools before deciding on the University of Texas. She will graduate early from St. Paul's and enroll at Texas at the end of January. She will also play in the Under Armour National High School All-Star Game in Omaha, Neb., on Dec. 21.
She followed up last season -- when she was named The Sun's All-Metro Player of the Year and the Gatorade Player of the Year for Maryland -- with 487 kills, 21 blocks and 89 digs this year en route to leading the Gators to a runner-up finish in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.
"The improvements she made from year to year were tremendous," said St. Paul's coach Kelli Wilkinson. "She could have stood on her laurels, but she continued to work on the nuances of the game and just got better and better."
During Webster's time at St. Paul's, the Gators compiled an 80-9 record in matches she played in and won IAAM conference championships in her freshman and junior years. They also won the MD/DC private schools title last year.
Coach of the Year
Mount de Sales
Under Mills' direction, the Sailors dethroned St. Paul's to win the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship.
The title was something Mills, who resigned as the Mount de Sales coach after the season because he is moving to Massachusetts, had been building toward during his six years as coach. Mills took over the team when it moved from the IAAM B Conference to the A Conference in 2003. His record at Mount de Sales is 139-33.
He began his coaching career at the school as the track coach, but he dropped that two years ago to concentrate on volleyball. Under his leadership, the team began to jell and the wins began to increase. The fact that two of his players (Katy Buck and Kasey Mercier) made All-Metro teams this season is a direct reflection of his coaching.
"At first, I was kind of in shock when we won the title, but it's something we've been working hard towards for three years," Mills said. "I'm just really excited for the girls that we were finally able to pull it off."
Mills said the decision to resign was difficult and that the championship and his time at Mount de Sales will always be special.
"I'm leaving something that's very important to me, so that's always hard," Mills said. "We've got the program where we want it, and I'm confident it will still be successful."