No Prince George’s County volleyball teams were able to play their way to a state championship this fall, but a number of players distinguished themselves and earned a spot on the Star/Gazette All-County team.
Player of the year: Stephanie Critchfield, Bowie, senior In her three previous seasons on the Bowie High varsity volleyball team, Critchfield had been moderately overshadowed by teammates Embrey Minor and Jessica DeWaters, both of whom graduated last spring. But this fall Critchfield emerged as a genuine leader of a young Bulldogs’ squad and she did so after being moved from outside hitter, where she earned 2001 Star/Gazette first-team status, to setter.
Critchfield lofted sets for outside hitters Kristin Buter and Kim Dormer, tallying more than 300 assists this fall, including 17 in the state semifinal setback against Perry Hall and 18 assists in the region final against Oxon Hill. But Critchfield’s serving skills were clearly superior among the county ranks. She also had nearly 100 service aces this season, including 10 against the Clippers in the region final and she served 15 straight points in a victory against High Point.
Coach of the year: NicoleSilver, Pallotti In her first season as head coach of the Pallotti volleyball team, Silver quickly restored order to chaos. After the Panthers suffered through a dismal 3-16 season in 2001, Silver guided them to a 17-4 mark and a berth in the International Athletic Association of Maryland B conference championship. A former player for 3A state champion Northern High in Calvert County, Silver instilled confidence and desire into the Panthers this fall.
2002 All-County First Team
Ranielle Castillo, McNamara, senior One of the primary reasons the Mustangs finished 16-4 and earned a berth in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinal, Castillo was the team’s go-to player this fall. She led the Mustangs with 487 kills, 246 digs and 156 aces in 71 games. She was also second on the team with 311 blocks and added 63 assists and developed into a superb all-around player for second-year head coach Scott Christopher. She was also named to the WCAC first team this fall.
Kristin Buter, Bowie,sophomore One of the ‘‘Baby Bulldogs” who will likely be an impact player for two more years, Buter emerged as one of the most promising outside hitters in the county this fall. In only her second season on the varsity squad, Buter was Bowie’s go-to player in crucial situations and more times than not she delivered powerful spikes. Buter tallied more than 200 kills added 80 blocks and nearly 40 aces. Despite being average defensively, Buter will likely be the Bulldogs’ center of attention for the next two years under head coach and older sister Jen Buter.
Diana Hines, Oxon Hill, senior An imposing outside hitter who was largely responsible for the Clippers’ emergence as a county 4A power this fall, Hines drove fear into the opposition with her fierce spikes. A member of last year’s second team, Hines developed into one of the county’s most prolific outside hitters. She served and passed well and developed into a solid all-around player for head coach Christine Johnson. Hines led the top-seeded Clippers (10-2) to playoff victories against Flowers and Eleanor Roosevelt and played well in the team’s four-game setback against Bowie in the region final.
Carly Silver, Pallotti, senior — One of the primary reasons the Panthers went from 3-16 in 2001 to 17-4 this season. Silver developed into one of the best outside hitters in the county by practicing early and late to improve her techniques. She led the Panthers with 163 kills, had 306 digs, 52 service aces and 14 blocks. Silver was named to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference all-star team and she was the Most Valuable Player at the Fragile X Tournament in Washington, D.C.
Stephanie Braxton, Douglass, senior In 33 games this season Braxton and her sister Kim truly represented the ‘‘twin towers” of their squad. Stephanie led the Eagles with 132 aces and 120 assists and was second to her sister with 132 kills and 66 blocks. Possessed with tremendous leadership skills, Stephanie played every minute of every match the last two seasons. She was a four-year varsity player for the Eagles and had a 4.38 GPA with straight A’s. She and her sister have helped coach Jim Woods to a 23-4 record in his two seasons.
Amanda Greechan, Pallotti, senior Another reason the Panthers emerged from poverty to prosperity in the IAAM B conference, Greechan lofted sets for outside hitters Carly Silver and Carissa Taylor superbly in her first year as a setter. Greechan was a three-year varsity starter for the Panthers. Greechan led the team with 164 assists, added 107 digs, 25 aces and 13 kills.
Kim Braxton, Douglass, senior In 33 games this season for the Eagles Braxton formed the other half of the ‘‘twin towers” along with Stephanie. She led the team with 135 kills and 68 blocks, was second to her sister with 125 service aces and with 99 assists. Despite a severely bruised her knee in a midseason tournament at Gwynn Park, Braxton played every minute of every match in both her senior and junior years. She was a four-year varsity player and ended her senior year with a 4.22 GPA.
Ashli Evans, McNamara,senior — Another reason the Mustangs were one of the best team’s in the WCAC this fall, Evans was second on the team with 284 kills, had 106 assists, 104 blocks, 93 service aces and 59 digs. She and Castillo were a formidable front-row tandem and both capped their high school careers in grand fashion for the Mustangs. Evans also was named to the was all-WCAC first team this fall.
Amy Haddad, Parkdale; Mandi Phillips, Parkdale; Vivan Ebhojaye, Parkdale; Flavia Amareie, High Point; Kim Dormer, Bowie; Fallyn Reeves, Bowie; Ashley Craig, Laurel; Elyse Steiner, Laurel; Toneka Scharff, Laurel; Brenda Fortin, Douglass; Tae Courtney, Gwynn Park; Rebecca Hoyle, Gwynn Park; Meghan Yapana, Oxon Hill; Rayven Simms, Oxon Hill; Kim Ratliff, Pallotti; Amy Gromen, Pallotti; Sumiko Carter, Roosevelt; Sony Thomas, Roosevelt; Kamisha Kellam, McNamara.