Francis Scott Key Eagles
1998 record: 13-4
Coach: Alice Smith
Top players: Kim Sheedy, Sr., 6-0, MH; Jen Sawyer, Sr., 5-7, OH; Carrie Ness, Jr., 5-6, S; Casey Henry, Sr., 5-7, utility; Samantha Stambaugh, Jr., 6-0, MH; Adria Stonesifer, Jr., 6-0, OH.
Outlook: The four-time defending county champions look to be in store for another standout season. Eight players, including seven regulars, return for the Eagles, who won 51 of 65 games last year, won their fourth straight county tournament and advanced to the regional finals before losing to eventual Class 2A state finalist North Hagerstown. Among the returners is Sheedy, a standout 6-foot hitter, last season named to The Sun's All-Carroll County volleyball first team. She leads a team expected to be strong on both sides of the net. The Eagles also feature Ness, a third-year starting setter, as well as a pair of defensive specialist, 5-5 junior April Caprarola and 5-5 senior Diene Bowers. Smith said that she's very excited about the prospects for this season, especially once the Eagles work smooth a number of rough edges in their game, especially on defense.
1998 record: 12-5
Coach: Dave Trumbo
Top players: Theresea Jason, Sr., 5-6, S; Stephanie Wilder, Sr., 5-10, MH; Lauryn Smith, Jr., 5-9, H.
Outlook: The Lions will have a solid one-two punch with Wilder and Smith. Wilder was a first team All-County pick a year ago, finishing with 133 kills and also contributing greatly with her passing and defense. Smith, who has a 24-inch vertical leap, led the county in rebounding last year as a sophomore on the basketball team. The two should get plenty of chances for kills with the honorable mention All-County Jason doing the setting. Four sophomores, all of whom played club ball during the off-season, will see meaningful playing time. Trumbo said his team will be quicker, though smaller. A year ago, the Lions lost in the regional finals to Thomas Johnson, dropping the fifth and deciding game by two points.
North Carroll Panthers
1998 record: 13-3
Coach: Lloyd Ford
Top players: Tiffany Langan, Sr., 5-7, H; Tiffany Shearer, Sr., 5-7, H; Ali Mullikin, Sr., 5-6, S; Lindsey Brothers, Jr., 6-0, MH.
Outlook: The defending county and Central Maryland Conference champions are loaded with seniors, including Langan and Shearer, a pair of third-year varsity standouts, as well as starting setter Mullikin, an honorable mention All-County selection. They also should get hitting help with the addition of Brothers, a 6-foot transfer from Westminster. "You can't teach height," said Ford of his talented newcomer, who attended camps and played club ball over the summer. "She gives us a presence at the net that we weren't going to have." The Panthers have a key match with Liberty on Sept. 28. Last year, they defeated the Lions for the county regular-season title before losing to them two weeks later in the regional semifinals.
South Carroll Cavaliers
1998 record: 8-6
Coach: Debbie Eaton
Top players: Brianna Schell, Sr., 5-4, S; Devin Caballero, Sr., 5-4, H; Emily Wolfing, Jr., 5-8, MH; Vicky Softy, 5-10, Sr., MH; Stacy Pittinger, Sr., 5-9, OH; Jennifer Altman, 5-10, Sr., OH; Minori Fukushima, Sr., 5-8; H-S.
Outlook: The Cavaliers, who beat Richard Montgomery in the first Caballero round of last year's regional playoffs before falling to Thomas Johnson, appear to be in good shape for another winning season. Eaton's squad returns nine, including eight seniors. Among them are hitter Caballero, a first team All-County selection a year ago, and Schell, an honorable mention setter. Fukushima, an exchange student from Japan, could contribute right away. The Cavaliers also feature a strong defense and a number of standout servers, both of which should help keep them in most matches. Though not a powerhouse on offense, Eaton feels her team will be a factor in the county.
1998 record: 5-9
Coach: Michele Crouse
Top players: Jody Van Doren, Sr., 5-6, OH; Carrie Myers, Sr., 5-6, OH; Jameson Cowan, Jr., 5-6, OH; Julie Garver, Jr., 5-4, S; Kara Weiland, Sr., 5-5, S.
Outlook: After failing to win a county match last season, the Owls pulled a major surprise by advancing to the regional finals, where they lost to perennial power Severna Park. It may be difficult for them to build off that late-season success, however, following the graduation of three seniors and the transfer of 6-foot middle hitter Lindsey Brothers to North Carroll. The team is also without another top player, middle hitter Courtney Johnson, who is due back in early September after a knee injury. Despite a lack of height, Crouse also sees positives, including better-than-average passing and defense. Still, she's looking for a hitter or two to step up and become the go-to girl. "I see decent potential," she said.
Pub Date: 9/02/99