Locals fill Hawks roster

September 08, 1999|By JACK HILL III

The Hagerstown Community College volleyball team is making a change this fall.

The question is: Will the change do the Hawks good?

Hagerstown will be placed on the Division II level for community college volleyball teams, instead of the normal Division I level that it has been on for every year in the past.

"We have elected to go down to Division II," Hagerstown coach Marlys Palmer said. "In Division II, the teams are on more of an even level. In this situation, you have a chance to not only compete for the national championship, but also win it."

Hagerstown will still be in Region XX and will still have most of the same opponents on its schedule.

Even though the Hawks only have 10 players on their roster, Palmer feels that all 10 can perform well.

The two returning sophomores from last year's team are hitter Katie Baker (Clear Spring) and Jennifer Johnson (Boonsboro), a setter and a defensive specialist.


Five of the eight freshmen come from two of the top high school teams in the Tri-State area last year.

Smithsburg, the 1998 Maryland Class 1A state championship, sends hitter Rachel Bachtell, utility player Casey Nogle and Kelli Martin, who is a setter and a defensive specialist.

Middle hitters Renee Baker and Lindsey Miller come from McConnellsburg, Pa., which chalked up a 22-2 record.

Holly Aleshire (Clear Spring), middle hitter Erica McCann (South Hagerstown) and utility player Jennifer Benedict (Waynesboro) round out the Hawks roster.

"I think the biggest strength that we have right now is team chemistry," Palmer said. "All of the players get along real well and they are enthusiastic for volleyball. I feel that all 10 of my players can contribute at any time. I do have a couple of players that can play a couple of different positions pretty well."

Palmer begins the season two wins short of her 600th win. Hagerstown opens up at home tonight against Penn State-Mont Alto, then hosts a tri-match Friday against Potomac State and LeHigh Carbon. Palmer's 600th career match victory could very well come in Friday's tri-match.

Hagerstown will then host a tournament on Saturday that will also include Garrett, Essex, Butler (Pa.), Central Pennsylvania, LeHigh Carbon and Nassau (N.Y.).

"It's a pretty nice team," Palmer said. "We have a lot of good athletes, so we can mix and match. We hit the ball pretty well. We are not real big, but we have got adequate size. We have a couple of pretty tough servers that are capable of scoring some points off of their serves."

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