Carroll Christian Patriots

1993 record: 12-4. Coach: Judy Mied

Top players: Cheryl Beard, Sr., setter; Kelly Peterson, Jr., hitter/setter; Rachel Holdefer, Jr., Cathy Saylor, Soph., hitter

Outlook: The Patriots enjoyed their finest season last year, winning the regular-season Potomac Christian Athletic Conference title and claiming the runner-up spot in the state tournament. It all starting clicking at the end of the 1992 season when they won six straight matches to capture the state tournament. This year, they are aiming to make it a clean sweep dTC and claim both championships. It appears they have a good chance of doing just that with everyone back from last year's squad and the majority of the team having played together for three seasons. Beard was an All-PCAC setter last year, Peterson was chosen to the all-state tournament team and Saylor made the all-conference tournament team. Karen Stout and Kellie Kirk also return as starters, while Nicole Dean and Mary Ann Harbin add depth on the bench. All four are juniors.

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1993 record: 9-6. Coach: Leo Totten

Top players: Maureen Ritcey, Sr., hitter; Sherry Andrew, Sr., defense specialist; Keri Chewning, Sr., setter; Stephanie Stambaugh, Soph., hitter

Outlook: Every year it looks as if the Eagles are going to go through a rebuilding year, but instead just keep on winning. Coming off a school-record 11 wins in 1992, last year's squad replaced six quality players and finished with nine regular-season wins and a region title. This year looks to be no different. The Eagles are young with only three seniors returning, but Totten sees a lot of talent and optimism. Ritcey does everything well and is the team leader along with fellow co-captain Andrew, a defensive specialist and strong server. Chewning will do most of the setting for the Eagles and should put the ball up plenty for Stambaugh, who shined as a freshman and is a year better this season.

Liberty Lions

1993 record: 2-13. Coach: Helen Derwin

Top players: Pam Owens, Sr., back row; Kathleen Hadjuk, Sr., hitter; Lori Gallagher, Sr., hitter; Ashley Davis, Jr., hitter.

Outlook: It was an uncharacteristic 1993 season for 10th-year coach Derwin and her Lions, one they believe they've put behind them. A new season brings some fresh faces and renewed optimism. The Lions are carrying only 10 players on varsity, three of them seniors. Owens came into her own last year as a defense specialist in the back row and continues to improve. Hadjuk and Gallagher will take care of most of the hitting and blocking up front, along with versatile sophomore Sarah Oliver. Sophomore Candice Young will do most of the setting for the Lions, Derwin has been impressed with how well she moves to the ball. "Our strengths are going to be with our outside and strong-side hitting and we're working on our transition game," she said.

North Carroll Panthers

1993 record: 15-2. Coach: Don'a Martin

Top players: Kandi Lippy, Sr., hitter; Katy Wilhelm, Sr., hitter; Amy Baker, Sr., setter

Outlook: Martin, in her second season at North Carroll, was reminded by her players that most of this year's team played on the 1992 junior-varsity team that went 15-0. Martin is emphasizing to her players the difference in levels, but likes the team's confidence. It looks like a matter of reloading rather than rebuilding for a team that lost four major contributors, including Player of the Year Joy Huber, from last year's 15-2 squad. "It's not going to be one single player to replace a player of the caliber of Joy Huber. The six people on the court will each have to step up," Martin said. The Panthers have eight seniors with a handful of talented underclassmen also vying for playing time. -- Lippy and Wilhelm -- both entering their third year at the varsity level -- will do most of the hitting, while Baker returns to do the setting. Sophomore hitters Karen Carter and Carisa Kreichauf have Junior Olympic Volleyball experience and could make an immediate impact.

South Carroll Cavaliers

1993 record: 10-7. Coach: Debbie Eaton

Top players: Nicole Spencer, Sr., hitter; Melissa Gettemy, Sr., setter/hitter; Kelly Carter, Sr., setter; Amy Stephenson, Jr., back row; Jamey McGregor, Sr., back row

Outlook: The Cavaliers have the top returning hitter in Spencer ,, and arguably the county's best all-around player in Gettemy -- a pretty good start. Both were catalysts in helping the Cavaliers reach the region final last season and will have to do more for a return trip. Who will do the setting remains a question. Carter has shown a lot of improvement in the past year and appears to be ready to take on the task. Juniors Michelle Pickett and Danica Yerdon also can set. Eaton believes the setting will improve as the season progresses. Junior Kelly Johnson is a possible starter as a hitter and senior Amy Kable should see increased playing time with her solid play up front. "We have a good nucleus with Melissa and Nicole and are building on that," Eaton said. "The serving is looking pretty good and that's sometimes a problem early on. We have decent blockers and some quick players in the back row."

Westminster Owls

1993 record: 9-6. Coaches: Dana Falls, Michelle Salafia-Crouse

Top players: Beth Lister, Sr., setter/hitter; Tara Dorsey, Sr., hitter; Carissa Cook, Jr., setter/hitter; Tara Haney, Sr., hitter; Wendy Fritz, Sr., hitter

Outcome: First-year co-coaches Falls and Salafia-Crouse got off to a good start with a win over Annapolis in the Owls' opener last Thursday. Both coaches applied for the position, left vacant by longtime coach Karol Brown, found they shared some of the same philosophies and felt a merger would be beneficial to the program. The players have responded well. Lister and Cook will share the setting duties and both provide solid hitting as well. "The setting situation has worked out really well," Falls said. "They looked real smooth [last Thursday] and mixed the sets up well." Dorsey and Haney are two other hitters who return with varsity experience. Defense is a concern and something the Owls are working hard on to improve, particularly blocking and picking up free balls.

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