Warriors dominate all-state team
December 18, 2003
By Jared Green
Tribune staff writer
The Whittell High girls’ volleyball team capped its dominant 2003 season this week as five Warriors were named to the all-state teams.
Setter Jackie Marino took the highest honor, being named the state’s Most Valuable Player. The junior was the leader of a team that didn’t lose a game in the zone and state tournaments and will return all but one player next season.
“I’m really surprised (to be MVP) because the setter doesn’t usually get the glory,” Marino said. “It’s nice to finally get some recognition.”
Marino said the overall talent of the team makes it hard to single out any one player.
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“The whole team really should have gotten MVP,” she said. “This is easily that best team I’ve ever played on.”
Junior Tina Hordzwick and freshman Jessica Woods were named to the all-state first team, while junior Whitney Gielow and freshman Kelly Karmann made the second team. Gielow’s selection was unusual because she’s a defensive specialist, the only back-row player selected among the 13 honorees.
“Whitney is the first defensive specialist I can remember making an all-state team,” Whittell head coach Dan McLaughlin said. “That should tell you just how good she is at what she does.”
McLaughlin got in on the honors as well, picking up his first statewide Coach of the Year award. His team will be the heavy favorite to repeat its championship run next season and he doesn’t downplay that expectation.
“I really think boredom will be our biggest enemy,” McLaughlin said, pointing out that two of this season’s 2A semifinalists will move up to 3A next season, while the third will have a new coach. “We’ll have a much tougher schedule, because larger schools want to play us now.”
Marino will do her best to keep her teammates from getting complacent.
“I think we’ll be able to take our offense to another level next year if we work hard,” she said. “Instead of just winning, we can blow everyone out.”