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Middle schoolers ready to shine at next level

December 03, 2011|By DAN KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Washington County Public Schools volleyball teams have won 24 state championships since 1978, a tradition of excellence that North Hagerstown (Class 3A) and Smithsburg (Class 1A) continued last month.

The next wave of athletes who will write their own chapter in county volleyball history took South Hagerstown’s court on Saturday night for the Spikefest Eighth Grade All-Star game.

“This group is talented,” said Emily Crabtree, Williamsport High’s varsity coach who knows something about talented teams — she’s led the Wildcats to four of their 12 state titles, one in 1995 and three straight from 2003-05. “It’s neat to see the skill level. When they have the fundamentals under their belt, it makes our jobs a lot easier.”

Players from seven county middle schools participated at Spikefest, hosted by the Washington County Juniors volleyball club. Soon, they’ll be making an impact at the prep level.

“Middle school volleyball has been phenomenal,” said Stephanie Belella, the communications director for WACO Juniors. “It’s all run outside the school administration by volunteers. Our middle school programs could compete with high school JV teams from a lot of other areas of the state. Five years ago, that was not the case.”

Just as the high school coaches are eagerly waiting to work with the youngsters, so are the youngsters waiting for the chance to have their turn in the spotlight.

Smithsburg’s Alaina Black already knows what it’s all about. Her older sister Colleen was a two-time All-County First Team middle hitter who won a state title with the Leopards in 2009 as a senior.

“I’m really excited just because I know we have a good coach (Rachel Brashear) and hopefully we can win another state title and continue the tradition,” Alaina Black said. “I remember going to all of Colleen’s games .. and I’m looking forward to following in her footsteps.”

Black’s team — Team McKinsey, coached by Western Heights’ Tracy McKinsey — took two of three games from Team Malphurs, coached by Springfield’s Kim Malphurs. Team McKinsey won the first two games 25-15 and 25-16 before Team Malphurs won the last game 15-5.

Eighth Grade All-Stars

Team McKinsey 2, Team Malphurs 1

Team McKinsey: Alaina Black 6 aces, 3 kills, 2 blocks; Jennifer Yaraghi 4 kills; Katelyn Mehrling 4 assists; Abigail Shives 4 digs; Kiah Marshalleck 2 blocks.

Team Malphurs: Samantha Raidt 6 aces, 5 assists; Jaila Bell 4 kills; Jenna Smith 5 digs.

High School Senior All-Stars

Team Crabtree 2, Team Crawford 1

Team Crabtree: Autumn Fisher 15 kills, 3 blocks; Sam Kelly 7 kills, 5 digs; Abigail Hoosier 17 assists, 2 aces; Brynne Kirsch 7 assists, 4 aces; sarah Shives 4 kills, 4 digs; Erika Lawrence 5 digs; Karah Knight 4 digs.

Team Crawford: Iman Scott 10 kills, 2 blocks; Ariah Giles 7 kills, 4 aces; Mollie Johnson 10 digs, 7 aces, 6 kills; Callie Butts 11 assists, 3 kills; Summer Neff 15 assists; Rachel Yoder 6 digs, 2 aces; Tiffany Rohrer 6 digs.

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