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She stands above, not apart


The comment was unsolicited, from someone in the stands sitting next to Evelyn Davidson.

"I don't think Elisa hits the ball," the woman said to Evelyn about Evelyn's daughter playing on Glenelg's volleyball court below. "I think the ball gets scared and goes."

If you've seen Elisa Davidson play, you know what the woman meant. Davidson doesn't just hit the ball, she crushes it. And her overall game? As good as her kill shot.

"Every year that I've seen her, she jumps a little higher and hits a little harder," said Atholton coach Sybil Kessinger after Davidson led Glenelg past her team. "She's matured to be one of the best players in the county. She rarely makes a mistake. She's the kind of player that every coach wants."

Davidson, a senior who plays hitter and setter, clearly stands out on her team. She shows it in her play, but not in her attitude.

"She's not a one-player team," Kessinger said. "She makes sure she's there for them. Sometimes you find great players aren't like that, but she is. That's credit to her and her coach."

Said Glenelg coach Marlene Janis: "Her teammates look up to her, but she doesn't separate herself from the team. She understands it's a team sport. She's taken on that leadership role and has done it well."

Sophomore setter Amber Rieg agreed. "She's really helpful to me," Rieg said of Davidson. "When I do something wrong, she tells me how I can do it better in a positive way. She knows we're trying."

Davidson was introduced to the sport by her mother, Evelyn, who played at the University of Maryland and continued playing into adulthood. Elisa started playing club volleyball in eighth grade. She made a good impression on Janis a year later.

"On the first day of practice I could see she had a lot of athletic ability," Janis said. "She was quick, smart and very aggressive. She out-hustled seniors. She definitely had a lot of potential."

Davidson also learned from older sister Marisa, an All-County and All-Metro player her senior season two years ago at Glenelg. In fact, Marisa, now playing at Villanova, told Elisa to be a setter for her on the 1993 team that captured the state Class 2A title.

Davidson enjoys playing both setter and hitter, and the Glenelg system allows her to do both. But on a college team, she might have to choose one over the other. Seton Hall, for instance, already has offered her a scholarship as a setter. Davidson, who has many colleges interested in her, is not close to making a decision.

"I'll decide on a college on how I like it, not by what position they want me to play," said Davidson, who has a 3.5 GPA and scored 1,220 on the SAT.

Davidson, a first-team All-County player last year with 195 kills and 149 assists, credits her club team coach, Fran DuVall, with making her a better player.

"I've never had a coach push me so hard," said Davidson, who plays for the Metro Volleyball Club out of Silver Spring.

"She's really come out this year," said Janis, whose No. 5 Gladiators (5-1) travel to No. 2 Centennial tomorrow. "Her experience, athletic ability and intelligence make her one of the top players in the state."

And with her leaping ability and devastating kill shot, she's a fun player to watch as well.

"The way she hits the ball, she can dominate the game," said Mount Hebron's Henry Dahlan.

"She's their weapon," Kessinger said. "Nobody hurts us like she hurts us."

But Davidson's favorite play is not a kill shot.

"My favorite thing is to get a really good dig," said Davidson, who was one of four princesses at Glenelg's homecoming dance Saturday night. "It's better than a kill. The dig is something you do all by yourself. It feels good stopping someone else from getting a kill shot."

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