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Arundel middle blocker Zaria Ragler named Player of the Year to headline 2021 Baltimore Sun volleyball All-Metro teams

Arundel senior middle blocker Zaria Ragler led the Wildcats to their second straight Class 4A state title and finished her All-Metro Player of the Year campaign with 227 kills, 77 blocks, 68 digs and 49 aces.
Arundel senior middle blocker Zaria Ragler led the Wildcats to their second straight Class 4A state title and finished her All-Metro Player of the Year campaign with 227 kills, 77 blocks, 68 digs and 49 aces. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun)

Here are The Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro volleyball teams for the 2021 season.

Player of the Year

Zaria Ragler, Arundel, middle blocker, senior

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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.

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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.

Senior middle blocker Zaria Ragler was the dominant force that led Arundel to back-to-back Class 4A state titles.
Senior middle blocker Zaria Ragler was the dominant force that led Arundel to back-to-back Class 4A state titles. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun)

Coach of the Year

Carole Ferrante, Reservoir

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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.”

After leading Reservoir to its first state title in 2007, coach Carole Ferrante returned in 2019 and led the Gators to the Class 3A state championship this fall.
After leading Reservoir to its first state title in 2007, coach Carole Ferrante returned in 2019 and led the Gators to the Class 3A state championship this fall. (Jeffrey F. Bill/Baltimore Sun Media)

First team

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.

Sophomore outside hitter Mackenzie 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.
Sophomore outside hitter Mackenzie 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. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media)

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.

Broadneck senior outside hitter Natalie Luscomb finished the season with 349 kills, 15 blocks, 53 digs and 167 digs.
Broadneck senior outside hitter Natalie Luscomb finished the season with 349 kills, 15 blocks, 53 digs and 167 digs. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

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.

Westminster senior outside hitter Cassi Shields had 295 kills 66 aces, 74 digs and 26 blocks to lead an explosive offense this season.
Westminster senior outside hitter Cassi Shields had 295 kills 66 aces, 74 digs and 26 blocks to lead an explosive offense this season. (Dylan Slagle)

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.

Second team

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

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