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2019 Baltimore-area girls volleyball preseason Top 15 poll

Madison Chadwick, a sophomore defensive specialist on Broadneck varsity volleyball, waits to pass a serve during a match at Howard High School on Tuesday.
Madison Chadwick, a sophomore defensive specialist on Broadneck varsity volleyball, waits to pass a serve during a match at Howard High School on Tuesday. (Hannah Klarner / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Top 15 poll

1. Broadneck

Coach: Tracey Regalbuto

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Last season: 10-4, ranked No. 10

Postseason: Class 4A East finalist

Outlook: This offseason appears to have been the one in which everyone at Broadneck grew up. After fielding competitive teams for the past few seasons, the Bruins will have a powerful team with loads of senior depth. All-Metro senior setter Makena Smith returns, and Regalbuto says her leadership will be a major factor. After living in the shadows behind Arundel and South River, the Bruins enter this year as the favorites in the Anne Arundel County race. If things fall into place, they could easily find themselves in College Park in November.

2. Reservoir

Coach: Carole Ferrante

Last season: 9-7, not ranked

Postseason: Class 3A East semifinalist

Outlook: Ferrante, who led the Gators to the 2007 state title, returns to take over a program that is on the rise. Reservoir’s offense will be led by junior Kayla Browne, who can be dominate at the net. Ferrante also likes freshman libero Gabrielle Allen, who will lead the defense. This team has both height and depth, and it will probably need both in an improved Howard County. Although rivals Atholton and Glenelg will push them, this could be Reservoir’s year.

3. Atholton

Coach: Larry Schofield

Last Season: 19-0, No. 1

Postseason: Class 3A state champion

Outlook: The Raiders have been the dominant team in the area the past three years, winning two Class 3A state titles in that span. The team figures to be good this year, but must fill holes left by the departures of Lisa Zoch, the All-Metro Player of the Year last season, and Elise Park. Schofield will field a young team, but one that should push Reservoir and Glenelg for the county title. A tough early schedule will tell a lot about how the Raiders will do this season.

4. Mount de Sales

Coach: Gary Troy

Last season: 16-3, No. 2

Postseason: IAAM A Conference champion

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Outlook: Troy finds himself at the helm of a two-time A Conference championship team, and his charges look poised to make a run at a third. Junior’s Mary Grace Goyena and Chidinma Onukwugha, both returning first-team All-Metro selections, will lead a powerful offense. The Sailors are the clear favorites in the A Conference, but must adjust to their third coach in three years to be successful.

5. Westminster

Coach: Evan Frock

Last season: 16-2, No. 3

Postseason: Class 3A state semifinalist

Outlook: Frock, a former Westminster assistant, takes over for Ed Benish, who built the Westminster program into a state power. The good news for him is that he inherits senior Jilienne Widener, a three-time returning All-Metro performer. The Owls lost seven seniors, many of whom were starters, and will have to find a way to replace them if they are to be successful. Expect Century and Francis Scott Key to push Westminster in Carroll County.

6. Glenelg

Coach: Jason Monjes

Last season: 17-2, No. 4

Postseason: Class 2A state finalist

Outlook: The Gladiators return a lot from last year, led by senior first-team All-Metro performer Maddie Myers at outside hitter. Glenelg got a taste on the big stage last year at College Park, and Monjes says they are hungry for a return trip. If Glenelg can find a setter, the Gladiators could easily find themselves playing for the title again. A tough schedule, filled with Howard and Anne Arundel County teams, will help the Gladiators grow up fast.

7. Arundel

Coach: Ashley Yuscavage

Last season: 15-3, No. 7

Postseason: Class 4A East finalist

Outlook: The Wildcats will be looking to rebound from an early playoff exit (at least early for them) last season, and return a solid core. The hardest piece to replace will be all-around leader Mackenzie Meehan. Still, Yuscavage is high on her front line, featuring juniors Brooke Watts and Aaliyah Griffin. Junior Fiona Gonzalez-Medina will be the defensive specialist/libero. If Broadneck falters, the Wildcats could find themselves back in College Park again after a one-year absence.

8. Century

Coach: Bryan Trumbo

Last season: 10-6, not ranked

Postseason: Class 2A West quarterfinalist

Outlook: Trumbo got an early gift when setter Ali Whitworth, who was an All-Metro first-team pick two years ago at Liberty, transferred to his program. Her presence, plus a great core group from last year, make Century a formidable opponent. The Knights will be led on offense by Caroline Mastria, a senior outside hitter, and a more-than-capable supporting cast. Senior libero Ally Everton will captain the defense.

9. Bel Air

Coach: David Simon

Last season: 17-3, No. 6

Postseason: Class 3A state finalist

Outlook: The Bobcats had a magical season last year, and might be just as good this season. Simon, an assistant last year under Elizabeth McCourt, the All-Metro Coach of the Year last season, will take over the program. Simon used the word “scrappy” to define his team, and said he is blessed with several self-motivated players. Senior All-Metro first-team pick Olivia Simon, the coach’s daughter, returns, as does Hartford-bound McKenna Reiswig, so Bel Air will be a tough out at playoff time.

10. Hereford

Coach: Dave Scheiner

Last season: 16-4, No. 8

Postseason: Class 2A state semifinalist

Outlook: Aside from the loss of All-Metro second-team performer Maggie May, the Bulls return most of their core players from last season. The Baltimore County champions are loaded with depth and a good mix of seniors and underclassman performers. Scheiner will rely on the leadership of seniors Emma Clark (setter), Lily Gaffney (outside hitter) and Autumn Welsh (libero). Hereford has won eight straight regional titles, and lost in the state semifinals all eight times. This team might have what it takes to change that.

11. Towson

Coach: Sarah Nugent

Last season: 11-7, not ranked

Postseason: Class 3A North finalist

Outlook: After a down year last year, the Generals appear ready to return to the spotlight. Nugent is very high on her two outside hitters, senior Jenny Mandreja, who didn’t play last season, and junior Bria Kahnert. While the team still has a lot to prove, the foundation is strong enough for a big season. Towson is very young, and the Generals will have to grow up fast if they are to push Hereford for the county title and win a trip to the state quarterfinals.

12. Poly

Coach: Kendall Peace

Last season: 17-1, No. 12

Postseason: Class 3A West finalist

Outlook: The Engineers showed mettle last year when they almost pulled a huge upset over Huntingtown, losing 3-2 in the regional finals. Peace returns a good portion of that team. Poly will be led by sophomore Courtney Roundtree in the middle, and juniors Jamehl Homer and Tenea Robinson will anchor a formidable front line. The Engineers will also be able to pull from a team that has won the city junior varsity title the past few years. Under Peace’s leadership, the Poly program is improving and it’s not hard to see them in College Park in November.

13. St. Paul’s

Coach: Steven Fix

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Last season: 15-4, No. 15

Postseason: IAAM A Conference finalist

Outlook: Fix, an assistant last year, takes over the program from long-time coach Kelli Wilkinson. St. Paul’s only graduated two seniors, and Fix has a good group of club players. Seniors Abby Snyder (setter) and Jalen Dickerson (outside hitter) will be key players and leaders, and Fix will try to run a ball-control offense. The Gators have lost in the league title game each of the past three seasons, and this team should again push Mount de Sales for the top spot.

14. Western Tech

Coach: Eric Jett

Last season: 16-3, No. 13

Postseason: Class 1A state finalist

Outlook: The Wolverines don’t get a lot of credit, but Jett led the team to the Class 1A state finals last year, and Western Tech returns a lot from that team. Jett has done a great job building the program into one of the strongest in Baltimore County. Seniors Avaion Barry, and outside hitter, and Rachael Durham will provide the power, while senior setter Beatrice Daudelin will run the offense. This team has a lot of firepower and might challenge Hereford and Towson for the Baltimore County title.

15. Severna Park

Coach: Tim Dunbar

Last season: 10-10, unranked

Postseason: Lost to Arundel in State Class 4A, East sectional finals

Outlook: Severna Park will field a young team this year, but one that Dunbar is still excited about. The Falcons will be led by senior outside hitter Skyler Sale, with her sister, sophomore Maggie Sale, playing the other outside spot. Junior Siena DeCicco will do most of the setting. Even though they are young, Dunbar said most of the team has played together for a while and he likes the chemistry. The Falcons will have to get off to a fast start, however, to compete in the tough Anne Arundel County race.

Other teams considered: Centennial, Francis Scott Key, River Hill, St. Mary’s, South River

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