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Domenico, HCC volleyball obey signs

December 13, 2007|By BOB PARASILITI

The musical greeting card Beth Domenico received on Wednesday was singing her tune.

The Hagerstown Community College volleyball coach was honored for being named Northeast Region coach of the year in a program honoring HCC's women's sports teams at Four Points Sheraton. For her appearance, she received a gift card and the greeting card, which played "Simply the Best" when it was opened.

"This it the third time I have been given this card," Domenico said, with a laugh. "It must be a sign."

Considering the 2007 season, it just might be.

The Hawks had their finest season, winning the Region XX title and finishing seventh at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II tournament to complete a 42-6 season. The journey was culminated when Domenico was named the region's top coach by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, while outside hitter Magda Tekiel earned All-American honors.

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Domenico's success - like Tekiel's - is a product of the entire process.

"There are a lot of people who aren't here who are part of this," Domenico said.

"Our team makeup this year was seven county players, three from out of the area and one international player - Magda from Poland. She was a huge part of our team, but we didn't have one time when one player made the difference. She scored a lot of points, but others had to dig and pass to her."

Domenico has succeeded as one of the next generation of coaches at HCC.

"We have 14 sports and every one of them have one coach who graduated from HCC," said athletic director Bo Myers.

Domenico was seated next to her mentor at the Rotary's head table. Marlys Palmer came to coach basketball at HCC in 1979 and later added the dual role of volleyball coach.

"She came on when volleyball was just volleyball," Myers said.

Palmer got the program started and took HCC to nationals a few times before turning it over to Domenico so she could concentrate solely on basketball. So far, the HCC women are enjoying one of their best seasons with a 10-0 record and a No. 7 ranking in the national poll.

"The strength of our schedule has helped us get to No. 7," Palmer said. "It's an honor, but the players want to take it to be ready so we play well in February. It's nice for the college. ... This puts the name out there, not only in the community, but nationally."

The national angle is the part that Domenico is adjusting to. She said that she sits with her husband James, who is one of her assistant coaches, dissecting the successes and failure of the teams.

"Now the big thing is recruiting," Domenico said. "We are working hard because we have a good group graduating in the area, but we are looking to land more international players. We have to get our name out there for four-year schools to recognize us."

That recognition came with a good show at nationals. Now it's a matter of if Domenico wants to keep her greeting card as her theme.

"I was talking with (former HCC basketball coach) Jim Brown and he said to me, 'You have a decision to make. Do you want to stay on the same level, go higher or fall back,'" Domenico said. "I guess that's why I coach. It was great to go to nationals, but I always want more."

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