1994 record: 14-7. Coach: Sybil Kessinger.
Top players: Eileen McQueeney, Sr., S; Madigan Marth, Jr., OH; Jessica Edwards, Jr., OH.
Outlook: The Raiders' biggest hitters of a year ago, first-team All-County players Amanda Williams and Jennifer Ponzette, have graduated, so why is Kessinger smiling? "This year I have more true athletes on the court than ever before," said Kessinger, the county Coach of the Year in her first season last year. "But we're really going to have to work hard to do what we did last year." The Raiders finished the season No. 6 after losing to Loch Raven in four games in the Class 2A state final. This year, Atholton moves up to 3A. Marth and Edwards will take over the vacancies left by Williams and Ponzette. "Both are a little more knowledgeable about the whole game. They're just not hitters," Kessinger said. McQueeney, a second-team All-County selection last year, will captain the team -- "The players respect her so much," said Kessinger. Also expected to contribute are senior setter Chrissy Frentz, senior hitter Ariana Lowenbach, middle hitter Laura Kuckuda and sophomore outside hitter Beth Thomas.
1994 record: 23-1. Coach: Mike Bossom.
Top players: Jen West, Sr., OH; Meredith Price, Jr., MH; Heather Tolkach, Sr., OH; Jen Klimm, Sr., S; Katie McCulloch, Sr., S; Rija Bears, Sr., OH.
Outlook: Kathleen O'Connor, a 5-11 sophomore middle hitter, has heard all about how young the Eagles are and how their streak of four consecutive Class 3A state titles could be in jeopardy. "I hear that but I don't believe it," she said. "We'll be fine. I think we're really going to surprise a lot of people." O'Connor is one of six sophomores that are expected to play an important role. The others are: setters Robyn West and Susan Yi, backcourt specialists Briana Zolak and Marcy Cangiano and hitter Suzy McCulloch. "The starting rotation depends on the opponent and how the players are playing," Bossom said. "I have four different starting lineups." Bossom said the team is more balanced than last year, and that the "skills are high and the dedication is high."
Chapelgate Christian Flames
1994 record: 6-11. Coach: Matt Sanner.
Top players: Sara Sackville, Sr., S; Heather Davison, Jr., H; Jennie VanNess, Fresh., H; Liz Klien, D.
Outlook: "The attitude and spirit is a lot better than last year," said Sanner, a teacher at the school who begins his first year. "There's a lot more unity. They're very encouraging to each other." Sanner said the team has "good consistent ball control" and that it has to "become more hard-hitting and aggressive." The
I= Flames play in the Christian School Athletic Association.
1994 record: 13-4. Coach: Marlene Janis.
Top players: Elisa Davidson, Sr., S/H; Cara Franklin, Sr., OH; Andrea Marks, Jr., OH; Kara Laws, Sr., MH; Kim Laws, Soph., MH; Amber Rieg, Soph., S.
Outlook: Janis, in 11th season, thinks she has another contender. Two years ago the Gladiators won the state Class 2A championship and a year ago lost in the regional semifinals to Atholton. "I don't have a real big team this year," Janis said, "but they move a lot faster." Davidson made first-team All-County last year. Also contributing will be outside hitters Vicki Bennet (sophomore), Jamie Bullock (freshman), Pam Goldberg (sophomore), Michelle Miller (senior), middle hitter Carrie Fulton (junior) and backcourt specialist Bonnie Kessler (junior). "We have some talent, some kids with experience," Janis said. "We need to get the players used to playing with each other and jelling. But I can see that coming together nicely."
Hammond Golden Bears
1994 record: 3-13. Coach: Ken McLaughlin.
Top players: Tina Wilmer, Sr., OH; Marisha McLaughlin, Sr., S; Alison Pflugrad, Sr., MH.
Outlook: "We're looking for a winning season," said McLaughlin, who kept 13 players, nine of them seniors. "I think we're capable of that." The key for the Golden Bears will be their defense and limiting mistakes. "We're more of a defensive team," McLaughlin said. "We stress digs, to play in your area and hope the other team makes mistakes." Other players expected to contribute are senior backcourt specialists Jessica Garlick and Jennifer Voneiff, senior outside hitter Robin Palmatier and junior outside hitter Brandy Peaker. "I think we're a good team," McLaughlin said. "We're stronger than last year."
1994 record: 2-12. Coach: Craig O'Connell.
Top players: Kristie Dymond, Jr., OH; Trista Tindall, Jr., S; Rachael Grantham, Jr., D.
Outlook: "I think we're better than last year, but that doesn't mean we'll win more matches," said O'Connell, citing the toughness of the other county teams. Others expected to ZTC contribute are freshman outside hitter Ophelia Tindall, junior middle hitter/back Erin Pyne, junior middle hitter/back Chanelle Carter and junior hitter Coby Callahan. "This team has a lot of heart," said O'Connell. "If we can play together as a team, we should do well."
Mount Hebron Vikings
1994 record: 13-4. Coach: Henry Dahlan.
Top players: Kate Hannas, Sr., MH; Sylvia Kaltreider, Sr., S; Kerri Quinn, Jr., S; Amanda Smith, Sr., OH.
Outlook: Dahlan takes over for Jeannine McCrumb and makes it clear he expects a lot from this team. "If we play to our potential, we should be one of the teams to beat," he said. Dahlan called Kaltreider "probably the top setter in the county. She'll be controlling our offense." Smith will play "everywhere," Dahlan said. "I expect a big year from her." Although Mount Hebron graduated first-team All-County players Lia Kaltreider and Dani Vissers, Quinn returns after making last year's All-County second team. Other players expected to contribute are seniors Sarah Nichols (H), Sarah Eberhart (H), Mindi Pawloski (D), Heather Cole (D), Nicky Thomas (S/D), junior Katie Coker (MH) and freshman Kristina Kaltreider (OH).
Oakland Mills Scorpions
1994 record: 6-10. Coach: Kim Rosado.
Top players: Lisa Skaggs, Sr., OH; Jean Haverstick, Sr., H/S; Karolina Michniewicz, Sr., MH; Sarah Nguyen, Jr., S; Katie Graybeal, Jr., OH.
Outlook: "We'll hold our own," said Rosado, who starts her fourth season. "I think we'll give some of the top teams a run for their money. We're a very cohesive unit this year. It's a fun team. They enjoy playing together." Expected to see a lot of playing time are senior outside hitter Lauren Knott and junior outside hitter April Andrews. "We won't give up," Rosado said. "We'll play it the best we can every time we play."
Wilde Lake Wildecats
1994 record: 3-12. Coach: Robert Moy.
Top players: Alicia Bates, Soph., OH; Jessie Roy-Harrison, Soph., MH; Beth Lindblad, Sr., S; Mary Valverde, Jr., OH; Charissa Manolopoulos, Soph., MH.
Outlook: "The ability and the talent is here," Moy said. "It just depends if we can get them to work together. If we can get them to play as a team, we'll be competitive." Moy coached the junior varsity at Wilde Lake before taking over from Kelly Rosati. Lindblad returns to start her fourth season and Valverde will be the team captain. Moy called Valverde the "spark plug of the team." Moy also is excited about the play of the 5-foot-8 Bates and the 6-foot Roy-Harrison, both up from the junior varsity. "They've got a lot of talent," Moy said. "Their timing is incredible. They're the two I'm looking forward to in the future. If they continue to improve, they're going to be very, very good." Senior setter Annie McCormick played soccer last year but will play her first season of volleyball this year.