north volleyball

November 11, 1996

November 11, 1996


Staff Writer

It's hard to figure if North Hagerstown volleyball is a case of exceptional teamwork or a perfect marriage.

The Hubs are sports answer to The Odd Couple. They are successful, but they have no stars. North is playing in the Class 2A state semifinals against North East-Cecil tonight at 8 at Essex Community College, but managed only an 11-6 record along the way.

The pros and cons about the Hubs can be sliced and diced or mixed and matched from now until doomsday. The bottom line is: North Hagerstown's success is a 50-50 proposition.


"This is a great combination of kids," said North coach Tracy McKinsey, who has guided the Hubs to their second state tournament berth in three years. "We have an odd mix, but it works."

North has 14 players, seven seniors and seven juniors.

The seven seniors do all of passing and defense for McKinsey. The seven juniors? They do all the scoring and offense.

The seniors are back row players. The juniors are usually found in the front.

It's not exactly the way McKinsey would have planned to build her team. Some junior defenders and senior offensive players helps to keep the team successful in the future, but for now, she'll take it.

"We do a lot of substituting," McKinsey said. "It's kind of unusual. Using so many players can hurt the team's consistency early but it has made us stronger in the end because we have so many more weapons. They all go in and do their jobs."

But the jobs are delegated by class. Juniors Kristen Sherwood and Amanda Cunningham supply a major part of North Hagerstown's offense.

"Kristen is tall and has been our most consistent hitter all season," McKinsey said. "For Amanda, it took some time, but she has become a strong hitter and has been scoring a lot for us lately."

Meanwhile, seniors like Velvet Davis and Katie Hauver made sure there are plays for the offense to score.

"Velvet is our defensive specialist. She makes the outstanding plays to keep the ball alive that the others can't help but keep playing," McKinsey said. "Katie plays all around the floor for us and she is one of the top servers in the area."

Even with all the diverse parts, the Hubs made an early impression that they may be a team with a destiny.

"I could see that we could be a state contender during the preseason in a scrimmage we had with Chambersburg," McKinsey said. "A lot of good things happened. We saw a lot of good defense and we saw the team come together. Things were looking good, but we hit some ruts along the way."

North hit rough points in the season when the odd mixture didn't mix.

"We made it our goal to reach states, but there were certain points in the season where I didn't know if we were going to finish out the season," McKinsey said. "We didn't play that hot. The drive and the desire wasn't there anymore, especially when we lost to Boonsboro and Middletown near the end of the season."

But Maryland's open tournament format sparked new interest for the Hubs. The focus came back in the form of a five-game battle with Fort Hill and sweeps over Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Allegany. Now it will be Edgewood with the winner facing either North Caroline or Atholton in the finals.

"Edgewood is not undefeated, so that gives us some light," McKinsey said. "We know they have two six-foot players so they have some height.

"If we keep playing the way we have lately, we have a good chance to win. We've been getting on top early in the last three matches and that's good. The girls know they are at a different level now. They have another chance and they don't want it to end now."

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