Here are The Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro volleyball teams for the 2021 season.
Player of the Year
Zaria Ragler, Arundel, middle blocker, senior
Volleyball may or may not be easy for Zaria Ragler, but she sure makes it look that way.
The senior was the dominant force that led Arundel to back-to-back Class 4A state titles. She controlled the net, both offensively and defensively, and opponents would game plan just to avoid her. This season, she contributed 227 kills, 77 blocks, 68 digs and 49 aces to a team that only had a loss to rival Broadneck on its 19-1 record. Her leadership was also a major factor in Arundel’s success.
Ragler really came alive in the state tournament. In the semifinal win over Sherwood, she contributed 18 kills and three blocks. In the state final against Leonardtown, the Raiders were able to limit her to nine kills, but she contributed seven blocks. Every time Leonardtown would get close, it seemed a kill or block by Ragler would end the rally.
Maybe the best testament to her dominance came from Leonardtown senior setter Kira Snyder. “There’s no shame in losing to a player like that,” Snyder said of Ragler. “She’s really, really good.”
Ragler will attend Ohio State University next year and play volleyball.
Coach of the Year
Carole Ferrante, Reservoir
Carole Ferrante had a feeling about her team at the start of the season. A really good one.
“It was our goal since day one this year to hang three banners in the gym this year [one for the county championship, one for the regional championship, and one for the state championship],” Ferrante said. “Luckily for me, we worked hard enough that we did it.”
Led by All-Metro first-teamers Samiha Foster and Gabby Allen, the No. 2 ranked Gators did just that. They compiled a record of 18-1, with an early-season loss to county rival Howard their only blemish.
Ferrante took over the Reservoir program in 2004, and three years later led the Gators to their first state title. After leaving the program in 2011, she returned in 2019. Three years later, the Gators are Class 3A champions again.
“I’m so fortunate that I had a dedicated group, and they all bought in to what we were doing,” said Ferrante, who has compiled a 144-30 record at the Fulton school. “It was the most difficult but exciting ride you could ask for. It was so hard, but so worth it.”
Gabby Allen, Reservoir, junior, libero
The leader of the Gators’ defense, Allen contributed 175 digs and 28 aces with a passer rating of 2.6 to lead Reservoir to the Class 3A title. She will play volleyball at Howard University after graduation.
Ashley Barnes, Arundel, senior, setter
A hybrid player who also contributed to the offense for the Class 4A champs, Barnes had 226 assists, 27 blocks, 64 kills, 35 aces and 144 digs.
Mackenzie Calhoun, Glenelg, sophomore, outside hitter
Calhoun had a huge state tournament in leading the Gladiators to the Class 2A title, finishing with 350 kills, 201 digs and 60 aces on the season.
Samiha Foster, Reservoir, senior, outside hitter
A transfer to Reservoir this year, Foster came alive for the Gators, delivering 328 kills, 29 aces, 121 digs and 10 blocks. She’ll attend West Virginia University next year and play volleyball.
Natalie Luscomb, Broadneck, senior, outside hitter
Luscomb had a standout year for the Bruins, recording 349 kills, 15 blocks, 53 digs and 167 digs. She’s committed to play volleyball at Lehigh University next season.
Caitlin Shaffrey, Maryvale Prep, senior, outside hitter
Shaffrey was the best player in the IAAM this year, playing on a team that never lost a set while contributing 175 kills, 74 aces and 175 digs. She will play volleyball at Division III Gettysburg College next year.
Cassi Shields, Westminster, senior, outside hitter
The Carroll County Player of the Year (as picked by the coaches), Shields contributed 295 kills, 66 aces, 74 digs and 26 blocks to lead an explosive offense. Next year, she will attend Division II Cedarville University and play volleyball.
Madeline Stewart, Broadneck, junior, setter
Maybe the best pure setter in the area, Stewart had 288 assists, 97 digs, 62 kills and 34 serving aces for a team that lost only to Class 4A champion Arundel and 4A runner-up Leonardtown.
Eva Brandt, Century, senior, outside hitter
Shreenitha Chikyala, River Hill, senior, middle hitter
Autumn Grimsley, Bel Air, senior, libero
Sarah Hart, Liberty, junior, outside hitter
Abby Niles, Arundel, senior, setter
Ayanna Pharoah, Howard, senior, setter
Jessica Rothermel, Reservoir, senior, setter
Maggie Sale, Severna Park, senior, outside hitter