Howard County


As dominant as Centennial has been in volleyball - the Eagles earned eight state titles in the 1990s - it has failed to win the Howard County championship the past two years.

The Eagles hope to change that this season.

Centennial has 11 county titles, including seven straight up to 1997.

But since 1998, when the county created two divisions and a title match, the Eagles never have advanced out of their division. Mount Hebron earned the title in 1998 and last year River Hill took the championship.

New divisions based on last year's county standings are in place this season.

River Hill (12-1), Mount Hebron (11-2), Atholton (7-6), Glenelg (4-9) and Hammond (2-11) are in one division, and Centennial (12-1), Long Reach (8-5), Oakland Mills (6-7), Wilde Lake (3-10) and Howard (0-13) in the other.

The Eagles return five of the eight players who coach Mike Bossom played regularly last season - seniors Jackie Case, Julija Sajauskas, Michelle LeDone and Carolyn Dougherty and junior Lindsay Feller - and are the team to beat.

Seniors Allison Pikounis, Norah Burdette and Lauren Abremski will lead Mount Hebron, which will have freshman Stacey Carroll at setter.

River Hill graduated two first-team all-county players, but senior second-team setter Sarah Albert returns to go along with 6-foot junior outsider hitter Krystal Jacobson and 6-1 freshman middle hitter Stephanie Jacobson.

Hammond will improve this season behind juniors Julie Bixler and Shannon Burton and sophomore Ashley Dickson.

Atholton graduated both setters, but returns hitters Julie Frostbutter, Jessica Poston and Sarah Costa, all seniors.

The Raiders also have many players from last season's unbeaten JV team, led by junior hitter Katie Zitnay.

Glenelg first-year coach Jennifer Beall is excited about her team's attitude and potential and will look to senior Lauren Culler, sophomore Sarah Tursell, junior Melanie Mills and freshman Tara Stradling for leadership.

Long Reach will be led by seniors Candice Washington and Cristan Williams and sophomore Amber Demme, but does not have the depth of last year's squad.

Senior middle hitters Rayna DuBose (second team all-county) and Carrie Sniffen will lead Oakland Mills.

Mike Dombkiewicz, who coached the Wilde Lake freshmen team last season, takes over the varsity squad that will be led by senior hitter Cathy James and sophomore setter Jessie Bagley.

Howard returns three starters, led by senior Kristen Johnson.

Chapelgate, which plays in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Division, will be led by Carly Fyfe.

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