1998 record: 9-10 overall, 6-7 league
Coach: Bruce Lindblad
Top players: Lauren Mickley, Sr., OH; Jen Poston, Sr., S; Amanda Ramsey, Sr., S; Julie Frostbutter, Jr., MH; Jessica Poston, Jr., MH/OH.
Outlook: The Raiders won seven more matches last season than the year before, and Lindblad believes this year's team can better that success. The squad is more well-rounded this year, Lindblad said, and has a strong bench. "We have better athletes," Lindblad said. "They're hustling, they're talking better, and their attitude is better than last year." The Raiders have three solid hitters, Mickey and sisters Jen and Jessica Poston. Jen Poston and Ramsey will direct the 6-2 offense, and senior Tina Ellinger will contribute in the middle. Lindblad said last year's team had good passing and serving skills but expects improvement this season. Lindblad's wife, Dean, is a volunteer varsity assistant coach, and his daughter, Beth Mazanec, is a volunteer JV assistant. "I think it's going to be a fun season," Lindblad said. "I'm looking forward to it."
1998 record: 17-3 overall, 11-2 league
Coach: Mike Bossom
Top players: Kim Emrich, Sr., OH; Beth Stradling, Sr., OH; Amanda Olsen, Sr., MH; Lindsay Feller, Soph., MH.
Outlook: The Eagles have won 11 county titles -- they had won seven in a row before Mount Hebron derailed them last season -- and are favored again this year. For the first time in three seasons, Lisa Chapman, last year's Howard County and All-Metro Player of the Year, won't be setting for the Eagles. That's the most noticeable difference this season for the Eagles, who have four seniors, eight juniors and one sophomore. Bossom will start the season playing a 6-2 attack, with juniors Michelle LeDonne and Vanessa Neuworth doing the setting. "They are improving every day," Bossom said of LeDonne and Neuworth. "They are eager to learn and are working very hard. Their skills are very good. Right now they just need varsity experience." Emrich, a first-team All-County selection and Stradling are veterans with leadership skills. Olsen and the 6-foot Feller have shown good improvement over last year, said Bossom. Other players who will contribute include juniors Jackie Case (BCS), Becca Decesare (RH) and Katie Cothran (MH). Bossom said the team is fundamentally strong and "capable of doing what last year's team did [in the state playoffs]." The Eagles won a record eighth state title last season, the most by any Maryland school.
1998 record: 10-10 overall, 3-2 AIS
Coach: Chris Moxley
Classification: IAAM B1 Division
Top players: Laura Starsoneck, Sr., MH/S; Carly Fyfe, Soph., OH; Meghan Klein, Jr., BCS; Stephanie Litt, Jr., BCS
Outlook: Moxley is excited to be in the more competitive Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B1 Division. "It'll be much harder, but we'll have more league games and facing different teams," Moxley said. "It will be a good test for our players." Right now, Moxley is just trying to fit the players to the right position. "We're trying to rebuild positions with people that are not used to playing those positions," she said. "The individual skills are there, it's a matter of putting it together as a team." Other players that will contribute include juniors Hope Mesisinger (OH/S) and Amanda Hughes (OH) and sophomore Gillian Wrightson (MH). "It's going to be a tough but exciting season," Moxley said. "I expect us to be competitive and to hold our own."
1998 record: 10-6 overall, 8-5 league
Coach: Ciaran Lesikar
Top players: Nicole Barnoski, Sr., S; Melanie Mills, Soph., S/OH; Lauren Culler, Jr., OH.
Outlook: The Gladiators are a work-in-progress. "By the end of the year, I think we'll be able to play very good volleyball," said Lesikar, who's optimistic that things may turn around sooner than later. Barnoski and Mills are returning starters and will run the 6-2 offense. Culler will be one of the Gladiators' go-to hitters. Senior Tracey Hinton (OH/BCS) will share the captain duties with Barnoski, and sophomore backcourt specialist Bianca Marchany, who played at Wilde Lake last season, also will contribute. "We've got a number of new players, and it's going to take a little while to develop," said Lesikar, whose team includes two freshmen and two sophomores. "They'll real scrappy, and have a positive attitude. I'm enthusiastic."
Hammond Golden Bears
1998 record: 8-9 overall, 5-8
Coach: Ken McLaughlin
Top players: Julie Bixler, Soph., OH; Katie Wright, Soph., MH.
Outlook: "It's going to be a fun year," McLaughlin said. "It's a fun team. They want to learn." The Golden Bears are very young -- three seniors, one junior, seven sophomores and two freshmen. "We're shooting for not so much wins or losses but how well can we improve by the end of the season," McLaughlin said. "I'm looking for growth." Other players that will contribute include sophomores Shannon Burton (S) and Lindsay Smeltz (OH), senior Courtney Price (BCS) and freshman Ashley Dickson (RH). Bixler and Wright are the team's top hitters. McLaughlin said he plans "to play a lot of girls" because many of the players have different strengths. McLaughlin was optimistic after a recent scrimmage, saying: "I'm already seeing them get better."
1998 record: 5-9 overall, 5-8 league
Coach: Ellen Scott
Top players: Amy Bumiller, Sr., S; Katie Spanos, Sr., MH; Kristen Johnson, Jr., S; Tamara Jackson, Jr., MH.
Outlook: Scott, who played three years at Westminster High and a year at Allegheny (Pa.) College, takes over the varsity program; her husband, Grant, will coach the JV and freshman teams. "I think we'll be very competitive," Scott said. "They have a lot of good talent. I was happy to see their skill level as high as it was." Bumiller and Spanos will be captains. The 6-foot-1 Jackson played at Long Reach the last two years but left the tech-magnet program. Junior outside hitters Elisa Vasta and Lindsay Frank and junior setter Melanie Sucher will contribute. Scott said the Lions, who will have two seniors, eight juniors and one sophomore, are a cohesive group. "They're working together as a unit really effectively," she said. "Putting it all together is where they have to concentrate."
Long Reach Lightning
1998 record: 6-10 overall, 5-8 league
Coach: Tammy Goldeisen
Top players: Kristin Lundy, Sr., OH; Kathy Shahrokh, Sr., S; Candice Washington, Jr., MH; Cynthia Nicholls, Sr. OH.
Outlook: Goldeisen, a veteran of lacrosse and volleyball coaching at Wilde Lake, has high hopes as she begins her first year at Long Reach. "I feel very good about the season," Goldeisen said. "We're going to be stronger than people think we'll be. I think people will be surprised. I feel confident we'll be a contender." Adding to the mix will be contributions from seniors Aza Jahangiri (BCS) and Jessica Modeen (BCS), sophomore Sandy James (MH) and freshman Amber Demme, who can play a number of positions. Goldeisen said her offense looks good but that "we need to work on our defense." Still, she said, "I expect to be in every match." Goldeisen said the spirit on the team is high. "They want to play, they want to win, they want to be good," Goldeisen said. "I think they're going to do fine."
Mount Hebron Vikings
1998 record: 19-1 overall, 13-0 league
Coach: Betty Golibart
Top players: Allison Pikounis, Jr., OH; Jacque Armstead, Sr., S; Julie Kurtzman, Sr., MH; Pam Sneddon, Sr., BRS; Lisa Carroll, Sr., S.
Outlook: First-team All-County players Kristina Kaltreider and Samantha Crehan have graduated, but the rest of last year's county championship team return for first-year coach Golibart. "I'm real encouraged," said Golibart, who has coached in Baltimore County, Baltimore and last year was Seton Keough's JV coach. "We have some things to work on, like everyone, but they're a very cohesive group of kids, and the parents have been very supportive." Pikounis has the hardest shot on the team, but the Vikings won't center their attack around her. "My goal is for a well-rounded team effort," said Golibart. "I want all of them to be equal contributors in their own way." The Vikings will use a 6-2 formation, Golibart said, to use the talents of Armstead and Carroll and to give the offense more variety. Also contributing this season will be seniors Kim Burgess (OH) and Stephanie Mathe (OH) and juniors Libby Smith (BCS), Norah Burdette (MH) and Lauren Abremski (BCS). Golibart has been pleased with the players' "respect for each other's ability" and their attitude and cooperation. The Vikings were 19-0 last year before losing in Class 2A South region final to Centennial, a team they had beaten twice in the regular season. "The kids have a goal [to win states] and will work real hard to reach their goal," said Golibart.
Oakland Mills Scorpions
1998 record: 6-10, 5-8
Coach: Kim Rosado
Top players: Nicki Haverstick, Sr., OH; Rayna DuBose, Jr., MH; Holly St. Clair, Sr., OH; Jenny Skaggs, Sr., OH/RH.
Outlook: "This team has the cohesiveness," said Rosado. "I just have to make them want it a little more." In other words, she hopes the Scorpions will be more aggressive and, as Rosado said, "Let it rip." Rosado places defense as a priority, and this season is no exception. "They're a gritty team. They'll definitely go after the ball," said Rosado, whose team will carry seven seniors. Haverstick, DuBose and St. Clair will serve as captains. Others that will contribute include juniors Carrie Sniffen (MH) and Courtney Bruner (OH) and seniors Sarah Seeley (S), Kristen Sinclair (S), Dalton Cramer (RH) and Crisi Suarez (OH), who missed most of last season with an injury. "I'm really looking forward to working with this team," said Rosado. "They're a wonderful bunch." Rosado believes the Scorpions will be competitive within the county, then its off to the regions. "Hopefully, we can get past the regions," she said.
River Hill Hawks
1998 record: 10-7 overall, 7-6 league
Coach: Sybil Modispacher
Top players: Shannon Patrick, Sr., OH/MH; Krystal Jacobson, Soph., MH; Lisa Humphrey, Sr., OH; Carrie Kelehan, Sr., OH.
Outlook: If the Hawks' lineup looks familiar this season, its because six players who started last season return. But the similarities end there. Modispacher said the Hawks are a much better team. "They're a year older, they have more confidence -- another year of playing with each other -- and have more club experience," Modispacher said. "We've got a returning corps of kids that we expect a great deal from." Four players -- Patrick, Humphrey, Kelehan and Kristin Dahlen -- are four-year varsity players. Their leadership and experience will be important, but also a key for the Hawks will be the improved play of junior setter Sarah Albert and 6-foot-1 middle hitter Keiko Miller. Another factor will be its improved depth, led by sophomore defensive specialist Megan Mitchell. "We've got the flexibility to move kids around," Modispacher said. "They're well-versed in every position." Patrick, an first-team All-County performer, is a perfect example. "She played some right-side for her Metro club team," Modispacher said. "She's just rounded her game out to where she can play any position."
Wilde Lake Wildecats
1998 record: 1-15 overall, 0-13 league
Coach: Regan Hall
Top players: Lindsay Smardon, Sr., OH; Nicole Kellogg, Sr., S; Meredith Zaslow, Sr., BCS; Camille Vilian, Jr., MH.
Outlook: Although it didn't show up on the scoreboard, Hall said last year's team did make progress. "To me it's not the wins and losses, it's whether they improve. And last year they improved in so many skills," Hall said. Hall hopes that continues this season, and hopefully with some victories as well. "I think we can be competitive," she said. "It depends on how badly the girls want it. Right now, they seem to want it bad. They're very coachable and are working very hard." Hall praised the leadership of her three senior captains -- Smardon, Kellogg and Zaslow. "They're really helping the other girls on the court," Hall said. Other players who will contribute include juniors Cathy James (OH/MH) and Michelle Marucci (OH/BCS) and freshmen Stacey Marucci (BCS) and Jessie Bagley (S).
Volleyball is the only varsity sport in Howard County with teams split into two divisions. Each team plays the others in its division twice and teams from the other division once. A division champion is determined by its won-loss record only against division teams. Division winners meet Nov. 3 for the county title.
Here are the two divisions:
Centennial, Hammond, Oakland Mills, River Hill, Wilde Lake.
Atholton, Glenelg, Howard, Long Reach, Mount Hebron.
Pub Date: 9/02/99