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All-County Volleyball 2010: Rishell now a Leopards legend

December 10, 2010|By DAN KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com

Now that the last of more than 1,100 kills has been put down in a high school career during which Sara Rishell led Smithsburg to back-to-back 19-0 records and Maryland Class 1A state championships, it’s time to consider her place in the Leopards’ storied volleyball history.

Rishell is The Herald-Mail’s 2010 Washington County Volleyball Player of the Year for the second straight year. In addition, she was named to the Under Armour High School All-America team as an honorable mention selection — one of 100 players across the nation to be recognized nationally.

“There’s been a lot of great players in this area the last 15 or 20 years. I don’t think any of them have been recognized nationally,” Smithsburg coach Rachel Brashear said. “It’s exciting for this area. She knows the players who have come through our program and our community — Michelle Feiser, Heather Ashley, Katy Powell, Carey Brennan, Alexa Robertson, Taylor Belella. Smithsburg has produced some great players and it’s an honor to have somebody on the All-America team.”

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It seemed almost impossible that Rishell could improve upon a junior season in which she averaged 6.10 kills and 1.46 blocks per set. But she did, finishing her senior season with averages of 6.92 kills and 1.58 blocks and breaking her own county records for kills per game in a season under rally scoring. She averaged 7.47 kills in the playoffs.

“I guess it’s just a reflection of how well I’ve been coached,” Rishell said. “I’ve been honored to have great coaches and I’m thankful for all of them. When I was younger, I went to games and I remember watching my cousin Michelle (Feiser). Being one of the best players to come through Smithsburg is a great thing. It’s a great program and a great community.”

“She never disappoints. She gets the big kill or the big block when you need it,” Brashear said. “She’s not only a talented player who has all the tools and skills, but she also has that killer instinct. She’s a never-say-die kind of kid. ... The example of a true leader is to elevate the level of those around them, and she really did that.”

Rishell's next challenge will come at American University, a Patriot League powerhouse in NCAA Division I. “She’s going to excel because she has that work ethic,” Brashear said. “I think she’s going to make an impact there.”

Joining Rishell on the All-County First Team are:

Danielle Beaver, Smithsburg

Senior outside hitter was second on the Leopards in kills per set (1.58) and first in digs per set (2.29).

Taylor Belella, Smithsburg

Senior setter earns her third straight All-County First Team nod after averaging 9.41 assists and 0.70 aces per set.

Autumn Fisher, North Hagerstown

Junior middle hitter averaged 2.07 kills, 0.67 blocks and 1.42 digs per set for the Hubs.

Sam Kelly, Williamsport

Junior outside hitter was second on the Wildcats in kills per set (2.28) and second in digs per set (3.33).

Maureen Leavy, Hancock

Senior middle hitter helped Panthers to their best record in several years (10-5), averaging 3.81 kills, 0.93 aces per set.

Trisha Leigh, Williamsport

Senior defensive specialist was everywhere on the court and led the county with 6.73 digs per set.

Akilah McCall, North Hagerstown

Senior outside hitter earns her second straight All-County First Team honor after averaging 3.45 kills and 2.02 digs per set.

Lily Pinkham, Clear Spring

Senior middle hitter averaged more than two kills and two digs per set to earn her second straight All-County First Team nod.

Tiffany Rohrer, Boonsboro

Junior defensive specialist anchored Warriors’ tough defense with 4.71 digs per set.

Kara Stamper, Heritage Academy

Sophomore middle hitter led Eagles to an undefeated season with 4.81 kills, 1.41 blocks and 0.77 aces per set.

Peyton Wallech, North Hagerstown

Sophomore middle hitter completed the Hubs’ talented attacking trio with 2.44 kills and 0.81 blocks per set.

All-County Second Team

Victoria Broadwater, Grace Academy, Senior Outside Hitter

Callie Butts, Heritage Academy, Junior Setter

Stacey Christy, Williamsport, Sophomore Middle Hitter

Rachel Clarke, Heritage Academy, Junior Outside Hitter

Sarah Elwood, Clear Spring, Sophomore Defense

Danielle Harbaugh, Smithsburg, Junior Middle Hitter

Brynne Kirsch, North Hagerstown, Junior Setter

Paige Kitchen, Williamsport, Senior Setter

Ariana Litten, Broadfording, Senior Outside Hitter

Megan Micco, Clear Spring, Senior Setter/Outside

Summer Neff, Williamsport, Junior Setter

Katie Sprecher, Smithsburg, Senior Outside/Defense

Honorable Mention

Boonsboro — Shelby Griffith, Sydney Parks, Andrea Pettyjohn, Gabrielle Smallwood, Amber Welch; Broadfording — Kelli Crider, Sarah Couch, Chelsea Foltz, Maria Pifer; Clear Spring — Alexa Mills, Morgan Purdham, Emily Winters; Grace Academy — Kelsey Koontz, Tori Aikens; Hancock — Cortney Golden, Lyndsay Himes, Tiffany Younker; Heritage Academy — Jessica Gaylor, Kathleen Kidd; North Hagerstown — Mollie Johnson, Rachel Ober, Sam Roberts; Saint James — Taylor Deveaux, Taylor Goodie, Carrie Spicher, Jordan Wills; Smithsburg — Danielle Hudson; South Hagerstown — Courtney Showe; St. Maria Goretti — Ellie Burke, Jean Hogan, Lauren Laskin; Williamsport — Ariah Giles.

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