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County stars lead HCC into volleyball season

August 29, 2013|By JACK HILL III | Staff Correspondent

HAGERSTOWN — This year’s Hagerstown Community College volleyball team has the look of a Washington County all-star squad.

All eight players — four sophomores and four freshmen — played for and graduated from county high schools. It’s a well-balanced mix of experience and youth, as well as hitters, setters and defensive specialists — and it has Hawks coach Ann Reynolds anxious to get the season under way.

“It looks great,” Reynolds said. “I am really excited about the season. We have a good group of kids. They are athletic kids and they can play. We should have a great season.”

The four returning sophomores are setter/outside hitter Callie Butts (Heritage Academy), middle hitter Kelsey Koontz (Grace Academy), libero Tiffany Rohrer (Boonsboro) and setter Summer Neff (Williamsport).

The freshmen include Peyton Wallech (North Hagerstown), the 2012 Herald-Mail Washington County Player of the Year, who’s moving from middle hitter to outside hitter. Other freshmen are outside hitter Haley Wolff (Williamsport), setter/hitter Sarah Elwood (Clear Spring) and setter/defensive specialist Shelby Griffith (Boonsboro).

HCC finished 23-5 overall and 10-1 in the Maryland JuCo Conference regular season in 2012, finishing second in the conference to Howard (11-0). The Hawks won their 10th straight Region XX Tournament to once again advance to the NJCAA Division II nationals.

As the Hawks are preparing to open up the season, Reynolds is impressed with what she sees.

“We always focus a lot on defense,” Reynolds said. “But we have more strong hitters this year, so we are going to be a little bit more offensive-minded. Things are going really well in preseason practice. The girls are getting to know each other well. They work hard and they really hustle. I don’t have to get after them to pick up the intensity. I definitely expect us to compete for another championship.”

The Hawks will start their season at the Owens Invitational this weekend at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio. Their home opener is Wednesday against Northern Virginia.

The schedule provides an early test on Sept. 9 when HCC faces Howard at 6 p.m.

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