North Hagerstown senior Autumn Fisher is a perfect example of how hard work pays off.
In 2008 as a freshman, Fisher earned a spot on the Hubs’ varsity volleyball team primarily because of her size and blocking ability. Over the last four years, she developed both her offensive and defensive game and became arguably the most well-rounded player in Washington County.
“I knew my freshman year I was battling for a spot on varsity,” Fisher said. “The first day of tryouts, I told myself, ‘I can do this,’ and Coach (Megan Crawford) has always told me what to work on. Stepping on the court my freshman year, I was a little intimidated. Coming from then to now, I feel like I improved a lot. I love playing back row now, it’s a rush and I love it. I’ve improved so much since my freshman year, not just to make myself better but to make my team better.”
The crowning achievement came last month, when Fisher led North to its first state championship in program history and the first Maryland Class 3A state title in Washington County history.
“Looking back on it now, it’s so unreal. I hang my plaque in my room and I look at it every morning and still can’t believe it’s ours,” said Fisher, the 2011 Herald-Mail Washington County Volleyball Player of the Year.
“I cried so much. I was so happy. I still couldn’t believe it. Everyone was hugging me, all the girls were jumping up and down. It was surreal that we actually won. We were down in Game 5 (of the state final against River Hill) and I was thinking of stuff to say to the girls if we lost, but I came off the court totally astonished. It’s the greatest feeling as a senior.”
Just like the Hubs had to turn back stiff competition to win their championship, so did Fisher to be named the county’s top player. Plenty of canidates — such as North teammates Peyton Wallech and Brynne Kirsch, Williamsport’s Stacey Christy and Sam Kelly, Smithsburg’s Danielle Harbaugh and Heritage Academy’s Kara Stamper — emerged this season, all with stellar credentials.
In a vote of the county’s MVAL Antietam coaches, Fisher finished with 11 points, followed by Christy (seven points), Harbaugh (six points), Kelly (five points), Wallech (four points) and Kirsch (two points).
Fisher finished the season averaging 3.77 kills, 1.05 blocks and 2.80 digs, displaying her overall talents.
“She knew this year she was going to be counted on a lot,” Crawford said. “We were always on her just because we expected so much out of her, but she rose to the occasion and was a huge part of our success this year.”
Fisher is joined on The Herald-Mail’s 2011 All-County Volleyball First Team by:
Callie Butts, Heritage Academy
Senior setter averaged 7.58 assists and 0.99 aces per set for the Eagles, who repeated as Mason Dixon Christian Conference and Maryland Christian Schools state champions before finishing second at the National Association of Christian Athletes Division I tournament.
Stacey Christy, Williamsport
Junior middle hitter — arguably the county’s most athletic player — helped the Wildcats finish the regular season undefeated and as MVAL Antietam champions, averaging 3.98 kills and 0.84 blocks per set.
Danielle Harbaugh, Smithsburg
Senior middle hitter was the county’s most improved player, leading public schools players in kills (5.15) and blocks (1.16) and adding 2.10 digs per set as the Leopards won their third straight Maryland Class 1A state title.
Samantha Kelly, Williamsport
Senior outside hitter was another fantastic two-way player, averaging 2.71 kills and 4.36 digs for the Wildcats.
Brynne Kirsch, North Hagerstown
Senior setter led the county in assists (10.69 per set) and was solid on defense (2.74 digs) for the Hubs. She earned MVAL Antietam first-team honors.
Tiffany Rohrer, Boonsboro
Senior defensive specialist earned MVAL Antietam first-team honors, averaging 4.84 digs and 0.56 aces for the Warriors.
Amanda Snowden, Smithsburg
Sophomore outside hitter gave Leopards solid play up front (2.33 kills) and in the back (3.30 digs).
Kara Stamper, Heritage Academy
Junior middle hitter earned All-American honors from the National Association of Christian Athletes after averaging 5.66 kills, 1.84 blocks, 2.61 digs and 0.78 aces for the Eagles.
Peyton Wallech, North Hagerstown
Junior middle hitter formed a formidable 1-2 punch with Fisher, averaging 3.42 kills and 0.80 blocks for the Hubs.
ALL-COUNTY SECOND TEAM
Haley Caudell Jr. MH Smithsburg
Rachel Clarke Sr. OH Heritage Academy
Ariah Giles Sr. MH Williamsport
Karah Knight Sr. DS Smithsburg
Kristen Mellott Fr. MH Clear Spring
Summer Neff Sr. S Williamsport
Sydney Parks Sr. MH Boonsboro
Sarah Shives Sr. S Smithsburg
Brooklyn Welch So. DS Williamsport
Emily Winters Sr. OH Clear Spring
ALL-COUNTY HONORABLE MENTION
Boonsboro — Skyler Casto, Shelby Griffith, Amber Myers, Shelby Wallace, Taylor Williams. Broadfording — Katie Connolly, Sarah Couch, Maria Pifer, Kierra White. Clear Spring — Sarah Blickenstaff, Sarah Elwood, Alexa Mills. Grace Academy — Heather Groves, Brooke Morgan, Camille Sprecher. Hancock — Lyndsay Himes, Alisa Shives, Tiffany Younker. Heritage Academy — Jessica Gaylor, Kathleen Kidd, Stephanie O’Brien. North Hagerstown — Mollie Johnson, Erika Lawrence, Michey Moody, Iman Scott, Lauren Serafini. Saint James — Jordan Wills. Smithsburg — Payton Belella. South Hagerstown — Regan Marshalleck, Victoria Pearl, Lexi Shaffer. St. Maria Goretti — Ellie Burke, Beth Eich, Mary Hackney, Jean Hogan, Jessica Swarner. Williamsport — Haley Wolff, Emily Taylor.