Volleyball Player of the Year: Dangel's versatility helped Liberty capture county, region crowns

Volleyball Player of the Year: Dangel's versatility helped Liberty capture county, region crowns
Liberty's Caroline Dangel is the 2015 Carroll County Times Volleyball Player of the Year. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Before each season begins, Liberty volleyball coach Michael Rainbow gives each of his players video clips of a few players to watch, mostly from the college ranks.

He wants them to study them so they can then attempt to incorporate some new styles or methods in their own games.


For Lions setter Caroline Dangel, the players she was assigned to watch did more than just set. They added in other skillsets.

"The one thing that most of them have in common is not only their ability to take over the offense and contribute that way," Rainbow said, "but also in how they communicate with their teammates on and off the court."

Dangel became a leader for Liberty, contributed with assists, kills, digs and serving, and guided the Lions to a county championship and Class 2A West Region title before being named Times Player of the Year.

Going into the year, Dangel had several goals set for not only the team, but also herself.

Sure, she wanted the Lions to repeat as county champions and make a return to the state tournament. But in order to do so, Dangel knew a few things would have to happen.

"I wanted to improve on being a leader and being a strong, stable person on the court. We needed people to step in and create a sense of comfort for the underclassmen," Dangel said. "I set a goal for myself to jump-set and make our offense faster because i think our offense was the fastest offense in the county."

Not only did Dangel's jump-setting lead to the fast-paced offense she desired, but she also got in on the hitting action. The Liberty senior had 498 assists, most in the county, averaging 8.0 per set. She also had 82 kills, tied for third most on the Lions, 132 digs, and a team-best 50 aces.

Dangel helped Liberty go 9-1 in county play, capturing its second straight county title after besting Manchester Valley in the inaugural CCAL championship game. The Lions then won their first regional title since 2008, before falling 3-1 to Rising Sun in the state semifinals.

After losing a strong pair of senior captains in Nicole Venturelli and Cara Ventura from a year ago, Dangel said the early success Liberty had this year was a bit surprising to some.

"Going into this year, us seniors, we didn't want to set our expectations super high for the season," Dangel said. "We lost a lot of talent and we honestly didnt expect to be as good as we were this year."

But one expectation that was set, and then met, was Rainbow's for Dangel.

Dangel played all four years of her high-school career on the varsity squad, including the last three under Rainbow. So the Lions' coach knew what he would be getting from his setter in her senior season.

"She's been the sole responsibility for doling out our offense," Rainbow said. "That's been key to making our team very successful."

Dangel often set up the Lions' powerful hitters (seniors Elle Shatto and Hannah Lyons among others) with passes that put them in position to succeed. She also went on long serving streaks. Or sometimes, she even found the opposing floor herself, often using a quick turn hit that caught opponents off-guard.


"To have your setter sometime be your second or third best offensive weapon is something a lot of teams just don't have," Rainbow said. "I think that she did a lot of her homework. I just give them the tools, they have to put in a lot of effort."

Dangel doesn't know yet where she will be attending college next fall. She said she hasn't found the perfect fit yet, a school that she feels comfortable at where hopefully she can continue her volleyball career.

But for now, she'll play club volleyball for Rainbow with the Columbia Volleyballl Club U18 Comets, working with the coach that has helped her improve and keeping her future on her mind, too.

"Him instilling that belief and confidence made us grow," Dangel said. "That will be my last chance at geting recruited."


All-County Volleyball


Postion Name School Year

Hitter Kristen Bishop Westminster Senior

Hitter Meghan Crouse Winters Mill Senior

Hitter Hannah Lyons Liberty Senior

Hitter Victoria Prokic Century Senior

Hitter Elle Shatto Liberty Senior

Hitter Mary Underman Carroll Christian Senior

Setter Caroline Dangel Liberty Senior

Setter Jessie Karcz Westminster Senior

Libero Kasey Bost Liberty Senior


Century: Rachel Keffer, Shannon Lilly, Sarah Riggin. Francis Scott Key: Sam Compton. Liberty: Hanna Jascur. Manchester Valley: Emily Cheatwood, Hannah Chmielewski. Westminster: Jen Gavin. Winters Mill: Jessica Bollinger.