Atholton is No. 1 in VSN Volleyball Top 20


After an unlikely run to the Class 3A state championship and the area’s No. 1 ranking in 2016, Atholton High has the top-ranking in the first VSN’s Volleyball Top 20 of 2017. The Columbia school is one of three Howard County programs in the Top 5.

Arundel is No. 2 followed by Howard, South River and Centennial. St. Paul’s School, defending IAAM A Conference champ Notre Dame Prep, Severna Park, Westminster and Rising Sun completes the Top 10.

After finishing the season unranked, Archbishop Spalding, Broadneck, Century, Dulaney and Liberty highlights the next 10. Seventeen public schools are featured in the preseason poll.

Pictured above: Atholton was all smiles after winning the Class 3A state volleyball title last fall at the University of Maryland. The Howard County school is VSN’s preseason No. 1 squad for 2017. 

Here is the entire 2017 Preseason VSN Volleyball Top 20:

VSN VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON TOP 20

1. ATHOLTON RAIDERS

Final 2016 rank: #1

2016 record: 18-4, Class 3A State Champ

Coach: Robert Moy

Players to watch: Lisa Zoch, Jr. outside hitter; Kelly Simons, Sr. middle hitter

Side-out: Raiders return enough experience to make another run at Class 3A state title.

2. ARUNDEL WILDCATS

Final 2016 rank: #2

2016 record: 15-3, Class 4A state semifinalist

Coach: Ashley Yuscavage

Players to watch: Alicia Eldredge, Sr., setter; Mackenzie Meehan, Sr. middle hitter

Side-out: Wildcats appear to be the team to beat in Class 4A.

3. HOWARD LIONS

Final 2016 rank: #3

2016 record: 14-3, Howard County champion, Class 4A North Semifinalist

Coach: Grant Scott

Players to watch: Madison Paige, Sr., outside hitter; Anna Jezerski, Sr., outside hitter

Side-out: Fire-power makes the defending Howard County co-champ Lions a 4A state title contender again.

4. SOUTH RIVER SEAHAWKS

Final 2016 rank: #3

2016 record: 17-1, Anne Arundel County champions, 4A East Region Finalist

Coach: Mo Carter

Players to watch: Savannah Doctor, Jr., outside hitter, Jr.; Erin Canter, Jr., outside hitter

Side-out: The Seahawks have been snakebitten the last couple of seasons, but hope to finally breakthrough in 4A East Region playoffs.

5. CENTENNIAL EAGLES

Final 2016 rank: #6

2016 record: 12-5, Class 3A Section finalist

Coach: Mike Bossom

Player to watch: Emily Przybla, Sr., setter

Side-out: Having a superb setter has been a trademark for Eagles coach Mike Bossom, and Przybla is special enough to lead the Eagles to big things in 2017.

6. SAINT PAUL’S SCHOOL GATORS

Final 2016 rank: #10

2016 record: 15-2, IAAM A Conference finalist

Coach: Kelly Wilkinson

Player to watch: Mone’t Peoples, Sr., middle hitter

Side-out: Gators will challenge Notre Dame Prep for the IAAM A Conference crown.

7. NOTRE DAME PREP BLAZERS

Final 2016 rank: #9

2016 record: 12-8, IAAM A Conference champions

Coach: Jim Isphording

Player to watch: Julia Franzoni, Jr., hitter

Side-out: The Blazers lack experience, but will challenge for another IAAM A Conference championship.

8. SEVERNA PARK FALCONS

Final 2016 rank: #13

2016 record: 10-6, Class 4A East Region semifinalist

Coach: Tim Dunbar

Player to watch: Ally Winship, Sr., outside hitter

Side-out: Falcons appear to be in a rebuilding mode, but their winning tradition will ignite them.

9. WESTMINSTER OWLS


Final 2016 rank:
 Not ranked

2016 record: 11-5, Class 3A West Region first round

Coach: Ed Benish

Player to watch: Jillene Widener, So., outside hitter

Side-out: With returning Carroll County Player of the Year Widener back, Owls are the team to beat in Carroll.

10. RISING SUN TIGERS

Final 2016 rank: #7

2016 record: 18-1, UCBAC champions, Class 2A state finalist

Coach: Rich Wilson

Player to watch: Grace Webb, Sr., hitter

Side-out: The Cecil County power yearns for another chance at 2A state crown after heartbreaking five-set loss in 2016 state final.

11. BROADNECK BRUINS

Final 2016 rank: Not ranked

2016 record: 8-6, Class 4A East Region quarterfinalist

Coach: Tracey Regalbuto

Player to watch: Madison Chadwick, Sr., hitter

Side-out: Bruins looking to keep up with Arundel and South River in Anne Arundel and Class 4A East Region.

12. MOUNT HEBRON VIKINGS

Final 2016 rank: #4

2016 record: 15-2, Howard County co-champions, Class 3A Region finalist

Coach: Mike Moynihan

Player to watch: Alexa Welch, Sr., hitter

Side-out: The Vikings will again be in the mix in Howard County and their region.

13. DULANEY LIONS

Final 2016 rank: Not ranked

2016 record: 10-6, Class 4A North Region finalist

Coach: Cary Lion

Player to watch: Kathryn Parler, setter, Sr.

Side-out: The lions aim to regain status among area’s elite after a somewhat rare offseason in 2016.

 

14. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING CAVALIERS


Final 2016 rank: 
Not ranked

2016 record: 12-7, IAAM A Conference semifinalist

Coach: Scott Rombach

Player to watch: Sarah Crouse, setter, Sr.

Side-out: Veteran coach Scott Rombach (20th season) is counting on Crouse to guide the Cavs to contending success in the IAAM A Conference.

15. TOWSON GENERALS

Final 2016 rank: #8

2016 record: 18-3, Baltimore County champions, Class 3A semifinalist

Coach: Emily Berman

Player to watch: Sara Mandreja, outside hitter, Sr.

Side-out:  The young Generals hope to develop a strong cast around Mandreja as the season goes on.

16. CENTURY KNIGHTS

Final 2016 rank: Not ranked

2016 record: 9-10, Class 2A West finalist

Coach: Brian Trumbo

Player to watch: Melissa Bonzelet, Sr., outside hitter

Side-out: Bonzelet, a  four-year starter, looks to use her experience and talent to lead the Knights in Carroll County and possibly beyond.

17. HEREFORD BULLS

Final 2016 rank: #11

2016 record: 17-2, Class 2A state semifinalist

Coach: Dave Schreiner

Players to watch: McKenna May, Sr., middle hitter; Maggie May, Jr., outside hitter

Side-out: The May sisters “may’’ lead the Bulls on a serious run in Baltimore County and their region.

18. PERRYVILLE PANTHERS

Final 2016 rank: #14

2016 record: 15-3, Class 1A finalist

Coach: Matt Borrelii

Player to watch: Hailey Jones, Sr., libero

Side-out: Jones, an inspirational leader and her Panther mates hope to get back to the 1A final and their tough UCBAC schedule only enhances that chance.

19.RESERVOIR GATORS

Final 2016 rank: #16

2016 record: 11-6, Class 3A East Region semifinalist

Coach: Jamie Bullock

Players to watch: Pam Chukwujekwu, Sr., hitter/blocker; Enitan Omelewa, Sr., hitter/blocker

Side-out: With their twin towers in 6-foot-Chukwujekwu and 5-11 Omelewa storming the net, the Gators hope to be a force in Howard County and 3A East Region.

20. LIBERTY LIONS

Final 2016 rank: Not ranked

2016 record: 8-7, Class 2A West quarterfinalist

Coach: Mike Rainbow

Player to watch: Emily Eckels, Sr., middle blocker

Side-out: Mike Rainbow is back as Lions coach and will be counting on a solid nucleus, led by co-captains in Eckels and senior outside hitter Taylor Fowlkes.