Lister, Owls come out of the shadows


Beth Lister is striking back.

After playing for two years in the shadows of Joy Huber and North Carroll, this gifted Westminster volleyball player is proving she and the Owls also know how to win.

Lister has led Westminster to the top of the Carroll County and Central Maryland Conference standings, and she helped the Owls capture first place in the Carroll County tournament last Saturday at Francis Scott Key.

Also, Westminster has vaulted into the No. 10 ranking in the Baltimore metro top 15 poll after not being ranked at all in the preseason.

The 5-foot-11 senior was little short of spectacular eight days ago in an emotional victory in five games at North Carroll.

She had 15 kills in easily her top performance of the season, giving Westminster its first win over North Carroll since 1989.

The last time the Owls defeated the Panthers in volleyball, it was another Lister (Cindy) who played a major role in the outcome. Westminster went 15-0 in the regular season in 1989 before losing in the 4A regionals.

Cindy Lister and Jennifer Lister, both older sisters of Beth, were known as power players in their Westminster careers. Beth not only has the power of her sisters but she is taller, has longer arms and exceptional leaping ability.

"Volleyball runs in our family," said Beth. "Cindy played four years on the varsity and Jennifer played two years. Obviously I wanted to beat North Carroll badly since it had been so long and Cindy was on the 1989 team that did it. We've been after them for years."

Beth Lister said she loves volleyball because the play gets so intense at the net, especially if she is matched up against a big hitter from the other team, such as Huber the past two seasons.

However, there is another love in her life -- basketball -- and that is forcing her to make some tough decisions.

Lister was good enough as a junior to make the All-Carroll County girls basketball first team.

"I love both sports equally," she said. "I have no idea which one I'll play in college. It would be tough to play both of them because the seasons are close together. It's all kind of confusing for me."

The situation would be cleared up if Lister should receive an athletic scholarship for one of them.

"If I don't get a scholarship, I'll try to make it as a walk-on," said Lister, who has been considering Towson State.

Westminster co-coach Dana Falls said he believes Lister has what it takes to play Division I volleyball.

"Besides being gifted physically, Beth has the determination and proper attitude to play her best," said Falls.

With the Owls (8-1 overall, 6-1 in the Central Maryland Conference, 3-0 in the county) now establishing themselves as the team to beat in Carroll and the CMC, Lister and her teammates are hoping to finish the job and make it through the regionals to the state 4A tournament.

"We could go to the states if we play smart, keep our intensity at a high level and follow the strategy of our coaches [Falls and Michelle Salafia-Crouse]," said Lister.

Westminster won its first eight matches before losing to CMC foe Thomas Johnson last Tuesday in five games in Frederick. The Owls had beaten the Patriots earlier.

"We learned a lot in that loss," said Lister. "We learned not to underestimate anybody. When we got there, we heard they didn't have their top hitter and we let up."

Another factor in Westminster's success is that players on the team are closer than they were last season, said Lister.

"We're closer than we've ever been and we have to stay that way, even when things go wrong," she said.

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