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Westminster's volleyball team listens to head coach Evan Frock in a timeout in a 3A semifinal match against and Northern-Calvert during the MPSSAA State Volleyball Tournament at University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum on Nov. 14, 2019.
Westminster's volleyball team listens to head coach Evan Frock in a timeout in a 3A semifinal match against and Northern-Calvert during the MPSSAA State Volleyball Tournament at University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum on Nov. 14, 2019. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

Westminster continued its recent stretch of dominance against county competition by finishing 8-0 during the abbreviated spring season, stretching its county winning streak to 29 straight matches.

This fall, the Owls will be gunning for their fifth straight county crown and fourth straight appearance in the state tournament’s final four.

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Century, state champions in 2019, went 7-1 during the spring and will be one of the top challengers to the Owls’ streak.

The regional playoffs for volleyball begins with the quarterfinals on Nov. 4 or Nov. 5.

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Manchester Valley and Westminster will play in Class 3A East Region I. Century, Liberty and Winters Mill will play in Class 2A West Region I. Francis Scott Key and South Carroll will play in Class 1A South Region I.

The state tournament is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 15-18 at Harford Community College.

Following the state tournament, Westminster High will host the inaugural Carroll County Volleyball All-Star Game on Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. The game will consist ofsenior players from all seven Carroll County Public Schools teams.

“The goals of the game are to showcase the top talent in Carroll County, give those top athletes a resume builder for colleges, and allow younger girls and the wider community to see what Carroll County volleyball has to offer,” Westminster coach Evan Frock said.

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Three new coaches — Brad Kutzler (South Carroll), Sheri Hagen (Liberty) and Eric Zak (Gerstell Academy) — take over varsity squads this fall.

Gerstell Academy started its volleyball program last season, but the IAAM canceled its conference schedule.

This will be Gerstell’s first year competing in the IAAM C conference.

Senior Eva Brandt returns for her senior season at Century. The Knights won a Class 2A state championship in 2019.
Senior Eva Brandt returns for her senior season at Century. The Knights won a Class 2A state championship in 2019. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

Century

Coach: Bryan Trumbo (10th season)

Record last season: 7-1

Players to watch: Seniors Maggie Abramson (S), Eva Brandt (H) and Hannah Zabik (H, L); junior Jasmine Stanton (H).

Side out: The Knights open the season at home against Dulaney on Friday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. They will try to overcome the loss of key players Maria Acaron, Eden Harrison, and Kate Grimsley. The Knights will look to four-year varsity starters Brandt and Zabik to lead the way.

Francis Scott Key

Coach: Serra Berry (fifth season)

Record last season: 2-6

Players to watch: Senior Elizabeth Bertrand (OH); juniors Kelsey Holman (MH) and Payton Zepp (S); freshman Dylan Andrews (S).

Side out: “We are coming in with a very new, very young team. I have one senior, one freshman and seven juniors,” coach Berry said. The team has been practicing at a nearby church since tryouts began because construction on the school’s gymnasium floor has not been completed. Coach Berry hopes the floor is ready for the team’s home opener on Sept. 9 against Winters Mill.

Liberty

Coach: Sheri Hagen (1st season)

Record last season: 4-4

Players to watch: Senior Alise Shotwell; juniors Paige Coulson, Sarah Hart and Sarah Zentner; sophomore Grace Maerten.

Side out: Hagen previously coach the Liberty JV squad and she is looking forward to big games against Westminster (Sept. 30 and Oct. 26) and Century (Oct. 5 and Oct. 28).

Manchester Valley

Coach: Victoria Howell (2nd season)

Record last season: 1-7

Players to watch: Juniors Sarah Brisson and Libby Burkhouse; freshman Emma Shaffer.

Side out: Howell is in her second varsity season along with assistant Jenn Kanjorski and they are both in their fourth year with the program. Assistant Teri Leatherwood is in her 10th season with the program.

South Carroll

Coach: Brad Kutzler (1st season)

Record last season: 2-6

Players to watch: Senior Ava Fogle (MH); junior Cali Kalishek (L).

Side out: “As the new head coach for the South Carroll volleyball program, I plan to focus on the positivity that this team exudes even after last year’s unorthodox season. I see the excitement and passion to have a more normal season from these players. This is shaping up to be a strong year for South Carroll High’s entire volleyball program. I’m looking forward to seeing the growth of the teams over the next few years,” coach Kutzler said.

Westminster

Coach: Evan Frock (3rd season)

Record last season: 8-0

Players to Watch: Senior Cassi Shields (OH); sophomores Faith Mohr (S) and Emma Reaves (MB).

Side out: Not only were the Owls unbeaten in the spring, they didn’t lose a set while going 24-0. The biggest matches on the schedule will be at home against Century on Sept. 28 and at Century on Oct. 21.

Winters Mill

Coach: Kari Totten, (8th season)

Record last season: 4-4

Players to watch: Seniors Sarah Buckingham (S), Alea Hegg (OH), Staci Kutzler (L) and Allison Louque (MH).

Side out: Winters Mill opens the season at home on Friday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. against Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference foe McDonogh.

Gerstell Academy

Coach: Eric Zak (1st season)

Record last season: N/A (first year of program)

Players to watch: Seniors Emma Leonard and Delaney Maul; juniors Sophia DiMaggio and Adrienne Martin.

Side out: Although they had no IAAM season last year because of the pandemic, Gerstell did get a chance to play some matches as part of an open schedule. Gerstell added a JV team this year that will be coached by Lauren Toscheff. Rox Cannaday will be an assistant for both teams.

“We have two seniors — Delaney Maul and Emma Leonard — as well several club players that we have high expectations for,” coach Zak said.

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