A team that had dropped off the county’s volleyball radar last season made a complete turnaround in 2003. Another team that had been but a blip on the screen last year surged into contention. And one of the county’s powers advanced to the state semifinals again, but for the second straight year couldn’t take the next step into the state finals.
Elizabeth Seton High lived the worst-to-first dream, winning the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title. Laurel, with a roster loaded top to bottom with seniors, rose from the middle of the pack to challenge for the County 4A title. And Bowie returned to the state semifinals, led by a powerful pair of hitters.
Here is the Star/Gazette 2003 All-County Volleyball Team:
Player of the Year
Kristin Buter, Bowie, junior, outside hitter — In her third varsity season, Buter ascended to the head of the class among county outside hitters. Blessed with a powerful swing and overt tenacity on the front row, Buter amassed 200 kills for the 4A South Region champs in 18 matches, including 38 during their region playoff victories against Largo, Oxon Hill and Laurel. Buter also helped the Bulldogs by collecting 59 aces among 125 service winners and by improving her defensive and passing skills considerably this fall. She will return to the floor next fall for Bowie to drive further kills — and fear — into opposing defenses.
Coach of the Year
Terri Kerley, Seton — With virtually every player returning from a team that went 1-15 in 2002 — minus outside hitter Terri Ford who transferred to Douglass — Kerley guided the Roadrunners to a 16-3 mark and the WCAC championship. Kerley had guided previous Seton squads to the WCAC title match, but those teams often ran into buzzsaws from Paul VI. This year’s team, comprised primarily of players with club volleyball experience, finally shed its bridesmaid status and WCAC foes should be aware that four of the Roadrunners’ starters return next fall. Kerley has a career coaching mark of 193-80.
Kim Dormer, Bowie, junior, outside hitter — One of the county’s best defensive players, Dormer gave teams trouble with her sharp, overhand serves, superb passing skills and strong play at the net. A Star/Gazette second-team selection last fall, Dormer ascended to the first team primarily on her serving and passing abilities. She rattled off 16 consecutive service winners in the second game of Bowie’s three-game sweep against Largo in the region semifinals and led the Bulldogs with eight service points against Broadneck in the state semifinals. She had team highs of 76 service aces and 194 service winners and added 49 kills.
Ashley Craig, Laurel, senior, setter — In her third varsity season, Craig played a key role in guiding the Spartans to an 11-5 mark and an appearance in the 4A South final. Craig led the Spartans with 272 assists, was second on the squad with 48 service aces, and added 24 kills, 21 digs and 20 blocks. In the region semifinals against Flowers, Craig had a season-high 37 assists as Laurel won the match in three games. A versatile all-around player, she plans to attend Villanova University next fall.
Alex Vandermeys, Eleanor Roosevelt, senior, middle hitter — Despite playing with both of her wrists heavily wrapped, Vandermeys overcame the injuries to have a superb senior season for the 9-6 Raiders. Vandermeys gave opponents trouble with her height and reach at the net and she passed the ball well when rotated to the back row. She had 60 kills, 57 blocks and 22 aces among 117 service winners in 2003.
Kamisha Kellam, McNamara, junior, middle blocker — Throughout the season Kellam proved to be a tremendous force at the net for the Mustangs, amassing 141 kills and 112 blocks. She also hustled her way for 189 digs and helped McNamara with her serves, totaling 29 aces. Kellam was named to the WCAC first team and should return next season to help the Mustangs move up the conference ladder.
Meghan Yapana, Oxon Hill, senior, setter — Considered by the school’s long-time head coach Christine Johnson as the best setter in the county, Yapana guided the Clippers to a 12-3 mark and the top seed in the 4A South Region tournament. Yapana did an admirable job lofting sets to the outside hitters, amassing 216 assists, adding 155 digs, 128 service winners and 63 aces to help the Clippers reach the region semifinals, where they lost in four games to eventual region champion Bowie. Yapana played four years on the Oxon Hill varsity team and hopes to play in college.
Terri Ford, Douglass, junior, outside hitter — After transferring from Seton shortly before the season started, Ford had an immediate impact for the Eagles. Ford established a new team record with 209 kills, added 65 aces among her 163 service winners and made frequent blocks for the 13-3 Eagles. Ford is the only Douglass starter set to return next fall for the Eagles, who reached the 3A East Region semifinal for the first time in school history.
Megan Philbrick, Seton, junior, outside hitter — Among the most prolific outside hitters in the WCAC, Philbrick was an instrumental figure in the Roadrunners’ title run. She led Seton with 156 kills, added 112 digs, 56 service aces and 40 solo blocks to enable the Roadrunners to win the conference championship. Philbrick, a conference first team choice, along with three other Seton starters, will return to the court again next fall for the Roadrunners making them a solid candidate to repeat in the WCAC.
Sarah Curran, Seton, junior, setter — Another key player in the Roadrunners’ WCAC title effort, Curran led Seton with 569 assists while delivering the ball to outside hitters Megan Philbrick, Aly Philbrick and Stephanie Hall. Curran also added 102 digs, 40 kills, 23 service aces and 10 solo blocks in 70 games played. Like Philbrick and two other Seton starters, Curran will return to the floor next fall for the Roadrunners.
Second team selections
Amanda Brosch, Roosevelt; Janelle Bettis, Laurel; Iliana Kiourkas, Laurel; Toneka Scharff, Laurel; Stephanie Hall, Seton; Jodi Antenor, High Point; Mandi Phillips, Parkdale; Chris Lakin, Roosevelt; Brittney Dildy, High Point; Pam Stanfield, Riverdale Baptist; Kadeen Eccleston, DuVal; Nicole Smith, Douglass; Lauren Brittingham, Potomac; HeatherMcDaniel, Bowie; Nakia Williams, Bowie; Whitney Staiger, McNamara; Amanda Lawson, Flowers; Lizelle Macabulos, Oxon Hill; Cortney Powell, Flowers.
E-mail Ted Black at email@example.com.