PLAYER OF THE YEAR
* Shannon Towner, Loch Raven, junior -- At 5 feet 10, Towner is not your average setter. Though she does everything asked of a standout setter, dishing out just under 23 assists per match and ably directing the team's high-powered offense, her 20-inch vertical leap takes her a step above. She had 56 kills, 43 aces and a 92.1-percent serving accuracy for the 15-2 Raiders, and had 13 saving digs in the team's regional-final loss to Glenelg. "She's tall, athletic and bright," said coach Carol McPherson. "She's the best setter we've ever had at Loch Raven."
COACH OF THE YEAR
* Jason Dykstra, Lansdowne -- In just his second year as varsity coach, Dykstra helped turn a .500 team into a state semifinalist. The 14-3 Vikings weren't tall (their tallest player was 5-8) and lacked a true middle hitter, but used teamwork and a precise passing attack to dominate county competition. The 25-year-old Dykstra, a former setter for the club team at Indiana University, relied on players he helped groom in 1991 as coach of the 10-2 junior varsity. "A lot of teams may have had better hitters or setters than us," said the Wisconsin native, "but we played very smart and won as a team."
THE FIRST TEAM
* Christie Anderson, Catonsville, senior, hitter -- She was the best hitter for the eighth-ranked Comets, averaging 2.15 kills and serving to a 94-percent accuracy rate. For the season, the 5-10 athlete had 238 successful hits, including several in a five-game win against Loch Raven in which she racked up 17 kills.
* Donna Crough, Lansdowne, senior, hitter -- Only 5-5, she was the best hitter and setter for the 14-3 Vikings, who advanced to the Class 3A state semifinals. Crough used her 18-inch vertical leap to average 7.3 kills. She also averaged 7.1 aces with a 93-percent serving accuracy.
* Jamie Jansen, Perry Hall, senior, hitter -- The best hitter and server for the No. 9 Gators, the 6-0 Jansen averaged 3.0 kills and an area-leading 2.1 aces per game, while serving to a 90.5-percent accuracy rate.
* Kim Osbourne, Western, senior, setter -- She used her soft hands and great court sense to lead the inexperienced Doves to a regional championship. At 5-7, she averaged 4.4 aces, two kills and upward of 20 assists while serving at a 91-percent clip. This was only her second year as a setter.
* Tiffani Tucker, Loch Raven, senior, hitter -- With a 24-inch vertical leap, the 5-9 middle hitter was always a big threat around the net. Though good all season (75 kills, 51 blocks, 44 aces), the Raiders' captain became a terror in the postseason, where she had 10 kills, five blocks and a 96-percent serving accuracy against Glenelg.
* Tricia Uttenreither, Catonsville, junior, setter -- The best setter in Baltimore County, the 5-6 Uttenreither had 214 assists, 27 aces and a 96.5-percent serving average. She's smart, quick and always gets to the ball.
* Jen Ziomek, Owings Mills, senior, hitter -- At 5-9, she averaged 3.5 kills and 1.2 aces per game for the 13-4 Golden Eagles. Perhaps the most telling stat, however, was that well over 60 percent of her serves results in Owings Mills points. Seventh-year coach Lisa Meyer calls her "the most powerful hitter I've ever coached."
HOW THE TEAM WAS PICKED
The Baltimore Sun All-Baltimore City/County Volleyball Team was selected by Rich Scherr after consultation with city and county coaches.