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Young Laurel volleyball squad gains experience

Laurel High's Paige Harris soars for a block in a match the Spartans lost in three sets against Bowie.
Laurel High's Paige Harris soars for a block in a match the Spartans lost in three sets against Bowie. (Staff photo by Brian Krista)

One of the basic, though important, decisions a volleyball coach has to make is whether or not to use one or two regular setters.

With one setter a team will run a 5-1 offense while with two setters that rotate for each other a team can run a 6-2 offense.

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There are advantages to both systems and some drawbacks. With two regular setters the hitters have to adapt to both playmakers — not unlike a football team that may use two quarterbacks or a basketball team that rotates two point guards during a game.

Laurel High varsity volleyball coach Jennifer Gobrail used mostly a 5-1 offense her first season with the Spartans in 2013.

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But for the second straight year, Gobrail, who took over for former coach Taren Gray after the 2012 campaign, has been using a 6-2 alignment with the Spartans.

The two main setters this season for the Spartans have been senior Lyric Osazuwa and junior Hilary Yau.

Gobrail said each players brings different attributes to the position.

"She has experience playing experience outside of school," Gobrail said of senior Osazuwa. "She is very energetic."

Yau's versatility is her strength.

"She is a very well-rounded athlete," Gobrail said. "She also plays basketball."
Laurel won three of its first six matches this season under the leadership of Paige Harris, a junior captain for the Spartans.

"It is a very young team. We have two returning seniors," Gobrail said.

The Spartans lost, 3-0, to Bowie on Oct. 1 and fell to 3-4 after getting swept by Parkdale on Oct. 5.

The third-year head coach said the inexperience of the Spartans is made up for with a willingness to improve.

"Definitely the strength is the desire to became as good as they can become," said the coach. "We need to focus on skills and team building."

Gobrail played high school volleyball near Lancaster, Pa. and came to Laurel High during the 2013-14 academic year to teach biology and coach volleyball.

She attended American University but injuries prevented her from playing in college.

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Laurel High graduate plays at North Carolina State

Laurel High graduate Teni Sopitan is a freshman middle blocker with the volleyball team at Division I North Carolina State. She played in five of the first 55 sets for the Wolfpack, which won 12 of their first 15 matches. Sopitan was born in Nigeria and was an all-county player at Laurel High. She played for the Maryland Juniors in club volleyball.

Pallotti volleyball falls

The St. Vincent Pallotti High volleyball team lost Sept. 29 at McDonogh, 3-0. The Panthers were slated to host Stone Ridge on Oct. 7 in Laurel.
Stone Ridge is a private school in Montgomery County and is where Pallotti head coach Scott Fifeld was a coach before he came to Pallotti.
Pallotti returns to action Oct. 19 by hosting Elizabeth Seton of Bladensburg in a non-league match.

Pallotti High graduate digs in at St. Mary's College

Pallotti High graduate Carissa Hill had seven digs for St. Mary's of Maryland in 3-0 loss to rival Salisbury on Sept. 30 in a Capital Athletic Conference opener for St. Mary's.

The Seahawks fell to 7-6 with the loss. Hill is junior from Lanham and she also played lacrosse at Pallotti.

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