Player of the Year: Darla Svoboda, Dulaney (click here for interview)
On a team built on versatlity, Svoboda was the epitome of consistency for the area’s No. 1 team. The senior outside hitter is Varsity Sports Network’s Volleyball Player of the Year.
Svoboda had 200 kills, 120 digs and 27 blocks for the Lions (21-0 overall), who won the Class 4A state championship. With fellow outside hitter Milan Amos out for the regular season recovering from ACL injury, Svoboda had to carry most of the hitting duties.
“I wasn’t sure at the beginning if we would be as good as last year because of Milan and her injury,” said Svoboda. “Our chemistry really click after first couple of days as the season progressed, everyone got on the same page.”
The Lions rolled through Baltimore County for a second straight title. Though Dulaney, which didn’t lose a set during the regular season, didn’t have the game-to-game grind like in the tough Anne Arundel and Howard leagues, Svoboda raised their level against elite competition.
In the season opener against Mount Hebron, Svoboda recorded 15 kills in a sweep. Against Howard in the Class 4A North Region finals, Svoboda finished with 30 kills as the Lions claimed a four-set decision.
She compiled 33 kills and 15 digs at the state 4A final four at Ritchie Coliseum, including a 16-kill performance against Severna Park, as Dulaney secured a 20th sweep on the season. It was the first state title for the Baltimore County school since 2000.
“She has this youthful excitement. She just wants the ball every time,” said Lions coach Cary Lyon. “She has that fire and confidence that she can come through. Darla wanted the ball.”
She said playing on Time Out 18-under squad, and CHRVA’s (Chesapeake Region Volleyball Association) 18-under squad that participated in the AAU Junior Olympics in Florida helped evolve her game. Svoboda believed being mentally tougher also helped.
A two-time consensus All-Baltimore County selection by the league’s coaches, Svoboda is considering a host of schools.
Coach of the Year: Cary Lyon, Dulaney (click here for interview)
A year after falling in the region finals, Lyon guided the Lions to a season of perfection in 2013. Lyon is Varsity Sports Network’s Volleyball Coach of the Year.
No. 1 Dulaney capped a perfect 21-0 season with sweep of second-ranked Severna Park in the Class 4A state finals at the University of Maryland, the program’s first crown since 2000. The Baltimore County school lost to eventual back-to-back state champ Sherwood from Montgomery County in the North Region finals in 2012.
“I knew we had to potential to be very good, but my worry was could we be selfless and play for each other,” said Lyon.
The Lions didn’t have junior outside hitter Milan Amos (ACL injury) during the regular season, but the Timonium school failed to drop a set. Dulaney dropped its only set of the season to Howard (won 3-1) in the North Region finals.
“Everybody can play defense, pass the ball and hustle,” said Lyon. “The ball didn’t hit the floor.”
In 10 seasons, Lyon has guided Dulaney to three state final fours (2005 and 2007) and five Baltimore County championships (2005-2007, 2012 and 2013). He reached back-to-back state final four with Loch Raven in 2002 and 2003 after starting the CHEN (County Home Education Network) program.