With a plethora of talented returners across Howard County, the league is expected to be one of the deepest and most competitive in the Greater Baltimore area.
Coming off last season’s Class 3A state championship, Reservoir is expected to be contending for a county title along with Centennial, Howard, River Hill and Glenelg, Class 2A state champions in 2021.
Here’s a look at the Howard county teams: (Editors note: Not all teams responded to requests for information)
Coach: Larry Schofield, sixth season
Last season: 4-12
Top returners: Senior Annie Zhou (DS/L); sophomore: Tatum Hall (RS/OH)
Newcomers to watch: Sophomore Alex Beer (MH), Riley Smialowicz; freshman Sydnee Peters (RS/S)
Coach’s outlook: We have eight underclassmen, so we’re a young team with talent. Expectations are to exceed last year’s record.
Coach: Michael Bossom, 24th season
Last season: 11-3
Top returners: Seniors Caleigh Kim (L), Skylar Brown (MH), Kaley MacLellan (MH), Jenny Dong (DS), Emma Booth (OH); junior Mailinh Godschall (OH)
Newcomer to watch: Junior Nicole Luo (OH)
On the court: Godschall headlines the Eagles’ returners posting 282 kills, 273 digs and 63 aces as a sophomore, earning first team All-County honors. Kim also posted a strong 2021 season with 279 digs and 28 aces, named a second-team All-County selection.
Coach’s outlook: With all starters returning, we have high expectations for this season.
Coach: Stephanie Smith
Last season: 10-6
Top returners: Juniors Amanda Morse (L), Chase Grant (MH); sophomores Grace Salveron (S) and Madi James (OH)
Newcomer to watch: Freshman Jada Virgin (OH)
On the court: Part of the IAAM C Conference, the Yellow Jackets will look to build on last season’s experience, as the outside and middle hitters should be a position of strength.
Coach’s outlook: Last year, we had a great record in league play with a loss in the semifinals. We are hoping that we can compete at the same level as we did last year and maybe go a step farther.
Coach: Jason Monjes, 10th season
Last season: 18-6, Class 2A state champion
Top returners: Seniors Lauren LaPointe (RS/MB), Nabi Bae (DS), Becca Korkosz (MB); juniors Lindsay Kelley (S), Liesl Walter (MB)
Newcomers to watch: Junior Lily Bae (DS); sophomore Olivia McDonough (DS); freshman Isard Bernardes (OH)
On the court: A first team All-County player in 2021, Kelley will play an integral role as one of the county’s leaders in assists (592), also adding 125 digs, 73 aces and 51 kills. LaPointe and Bae provide added experience as seniors, with several impactful newcomers.
Coach’s outlook: The team has the potential to make a deep playoff run if they can continue to serve tough, play defense, maintain strong ball control and rely on the veterans to lead the newer players on the team.
Coach: Shalom Omo-Osagie, third season
Last season: 10-3
Top returners: Senior Brogan Graham (MH); junior Tiffany Blakely (OH); sophomores Morgan Miller (L), Zinnia Pickett (S)
Newcomers to watch: Sophomores Nancy Gou (MH), Sherron Stanard (H), Ayla Walsh (H/DS)
On the court: As part of the IAAM C Conference, the Dragons will look to compete against some of the league’s top teams including, the Friends School which has won back-to-back championships.
Coach’s outlook: These girls are fired up. After such a strong season last year and losing five solid seniors, the girls have big shoes to fill. But that fire the seniors left for them has definitely trickled into this season because the girls are focused, driven and building amazing chemistry already. It’s gonna be one heck of a season.
Coach: Anne Corey, 10th season
Last season: 5-11
Top returners: Seniors Safi Hampton (OH), Jariah Nash (DS/L), Zahra Miknas (OH)
Newcomer to watch: Senior Chloe Williams (OH/MH)
On the court: Hampton, a North Carolina State commit was among the Howard County leader in kills (236) last year, as she also contributed in other areas with 29 blocks, 24 aces and nine assists. Both Nash and Miknas will provide added versatility, as Williams provides more depth after transferring in from Anne Arundel County.
Coach’s outlook: I am truly looking forward to the season with this varsity team. Our roster is stacked with seven experienced seniors and four excited juniors, and I see big things happening for us in the near future. One thing about this fall 2022 team is that these athletes all enjoy spending time together, which is not something easily coachable. They work hard through tough drills and practices, which will translate into fighting back from deficits on game days. This also is Safi Hampton’s last year at Hammond, and I am looking forward to watching her shine as she plays throughout her senior season.
Coach: Grant Scott, 19th total season
Last season: 15-2, Class 3A state quarterfinalist
Top returners: Seniors Corinne Chau (OH), Kelenna Onukwugha (OH)
Newcomers to watch: Senior Natalie Wheeler (RS/S), junior Morgan Harris (DS)
On the court: Scott returns to lead Howard after three years away from coaching. Offensively, Chau, a four-year varsity standout, is expected to lead the Lions. She’ll look to build on a strong junior season where she was named second team All-County. She’ll look to build a strong rapport with Wheeler, who will serve as the primary setter.
Coach’s outlook: Should be a good mix of returning veteran players and incoming talent. Will hopefully be a competitive team in a very strong conference.
Coach: Erik Groch, fifth season
Last season: 3-12
Top Returners: Juniors: Hayley Norton (S), Allison Brown (OH), Sasha Koola (L)
Newcomer to watch: Sophomore Addy Van Oosten (OH)
On the court: Norton led the Lightning in assists (306) last season, while Brown will look to build on a sophomore season where she finished with 93 kills, 42 digs and 14 blocks.
Coach’s Outlook: Long Reach lost its libero and both outside hitters from last season to graduation. Long Reach will rely on Sasha Koola’s transition from defensive specialist, Allison Brown’s transition from opposite hitter and newcomer Addy Van Oosten to replace the lost production. Hayley Norton returns for her third season as varsity setter to run a young offense that expects to develop as the season progresses.
Coach: Jamie Bullock, fifth season
Last season: 10-6
Top returners: Seniors Rhisen Davis (OH), Leah Liu (OH), Vivian O’Brien (RS); sophomore: Eva Hull (S)
Newcomer to watch: Katy Harbaugh
On the court: Davis was first named first team All-County last season with 159 kills, 169 digs and 10 aces. O’Brien, committed to Catholic University, finished with 111 kills and 114 digs and 18 aces last season and will provide added depth alongside Liu who tallied 155 kills, 102 digs and 18 aces in 2021. Hull thrived as a freshman with a team-high in assists (425), also contributing 169 digs.
Coach’s outlook: The team returns a solid group of four players. The girls are in the gym and working hard every practice. Our goal is to stay focused each game and play our game.
Coach: Tina Catanach, fourth season
Last season: 7-7
Top returners: Seniors Juliana Guzman (L), Rachel Swigart (RS); juniors Caroline Zheng (L), Jillian Shoultz (M), Emerson Rose (S), Ava Bradley (OH)
On the court: Zheng and Bradley both excelled as sophomores, earning second-team All-County and honorable mention, respectively.
Coach’s Outlook: We are looking forward to a competitive season. We have multiple third-year returners to varsity who are hungry to compete and ready to work hard. I think our overall strength as a team will be our defense, led by Caroline Zheng, Juliana Guzman and Emerson Rose. I am excited for the level of competition we will face and seeing how our team rises to meet the challenge.
Coach: Carole Ferrante, fourth season
Last season: 18-1, Class 3A state champion
Top returners: Seniors Gabby Allen (L), Kelsey Holmes (RS/S), Madison Hill (MH), Maya Tucker (OH), Chaeli Flotides (DS), Destiny Olamide (RS)
Newcomers to watch: Hailey Ko (S); freshman Angela Lei (OH)
On the court: After winning the state 3A title last season, the Gators lost 2021 Howard County Times Player of the Year Samiha Foster to graduation. However, they bring back an abundance of talent headlined by Allen, a Howard University commit finished who with 175 digs and 28 aces in 2021. Holmes, a Providence College commit, also was named first team All-County as a junior with 91 kills, 41 blocks, 35 digs and 23 aces. Hill, Tucker, Flotides, a McDaniel College commit and Olamdide give Reservoir even further depth.
Coach’s outlook: What I really love about this team right now is how we’ve started off. It’s just been a really positive environment. They’re really excited about it. We’re really trying to work on keeping pace with what we were doing last year being that we have so many returning players. I feel very strong with our defense and our serve receive. I’m just really excited to see what we’re going to be doing, I feel like we’re going to be really competitive.
Coach: Lynn Paynter, 13th season
Last season: 11-4
Top returners: Seniors Paula Elguera (MH), Brooke Laumann (L); juniors Mackenzie Calhoun (S) and Grace Leska (OH)
Newcomers to watch: Sophomore Sofija Simendic; freshman Josie Calhoun
On the court: The Hawks welcome in a key transfer with Mackenzie Calhoun from Glenelg, who as a sophomore was the county leader in kills (404), also adding 218 digs, 66 aces and 22 assists. Calhoun’s adjustment to her new position will be key for River Hill this season, setting up both Elguera and Leska.
Coach’s outlook: We are a well-rounded team this year and have a lot of potential — time will tell, but I think we will be a very successful team this season!
Coach: Molly Werts, first season
Last season: 0-14
Top returners: Seniors Caitlin Rafferty, Gretchen Gunderson; sophomore Jasmine Nelson
Newcomers to watch: Freshmen Destiny Robinson and Sanaa Blake
On the court: The Wildecats are looking for a bounce back season in 2022 with Rafferty and Gunderson leading the way as seniors.
Coach’s outlook: The girls have already shown so much hard work and dedication in these first few weeks that has led to improvement already. We are ready for the conference to start up and get to work. We are ready to start fighting and competing — excited to be in game situations.