Unglorified sports: Volleyball and field hockey on track for state titles


Neal Shleimer

Senior Karin Shleimer sets senior Taylor Lohneis for a kill at the Linganore vs. Oakdale game on Thursday, September 19th. Lancers won in four games with winning scores of 25-22, 25-17, and 25-17.

Last year, the volleyball team made it to the regional finals with a record of 10 and 4 and the field hockey team made it to semi-finals with a record of 8 and 2.

As of October 1st, the varsity volleyball team standings are 5-2, beating Westminster, FSK, Frederick, Oakdale, and Urbana but losing a close match to North Hagerstown and an intense battle pushed to five games with Tuscarora. The volleyball team couldn’t have brought home their wins without their core leading defensive players Hannah Laughter and Melissa Kolick and their group of strong offensive hitters Leeanna Barnes, Brooke Hayden, Taylor Lohneis, and Abby Graham, with the team’s setter Karin Shleimer.

As of October 1st, the varsity field hockey team standings are 5-2, beating Walkersville, Tuscarora, North Carroll, Middletown, and Catoctin, but losing to Century and Westminster. The leading defensive players for the team are Alayna Segwick and Hannah Belski along with mid-fielders McKenzie Ridgley, Tanner Ridgley, and Casey Golombieski. The team’s solid starting front line includes Bailey Tregoning, Caely O’Donnell, Sydney Cline, and Mackenzie Nalepa.

“You can do anything you set your mind to and I think about that almost every single day,” said Kate Russo, Frederick County field hockey defensive player of 2012. Kate was the goalie for the varsity field hockey team last year.

“Certainly we want to go [as far as last year] and we’ve set goals to even go beyond that,” said Barbara Ferguson, head coach of the volleyball team, who believes in a relationship between teamwork and succeeding.

So far this season, it looks like both the field hockey and the volleyball teams are doing just that.

“Take your most talented player on any field hockey team; she is worthless without people playing with her and for her,” said Coach Tony Miller. Miller was the assistant coach of the field hockey team last year and was head coach earlier this season, but due to health complications that prohibited him from coaching, he has been replaced with his assistant coach, Stefanie Roberts, who is a former Linganore field hockey player.

“It’s been stressful…just trying to learn everything that he was doing,” said Roberts. “But it’s a lot of fun, especially hanging out with [the girls].”

The players’ talent and hard work are not the only things that have allowed them to come so far. Both the field hockey and the volleyball teams have core groups of dedicated fans who are always cheering them on.

“I like to go [to the volleyball games] because a lot of my close friends are on the team and it’s fun to watch the games and support the school,” said junior Kyle Thompson who has attended almost every game these past two years.

“My favorite parts are cheering on my friends, hanging out with people in the stands, and watching us score,” said senior Andy Kirk who attends field hockey home games.

Both Kirk and Thompson expect the field hockey and volleyball teams to go to states this year.

Surely, it is up to the dedicated athletes to fulfill this goal, but when it comes to living up to the precedent set by last year’s teams, the girls are not discouraged.

“We [come] in with a different mentality and we all [have] the same goal,” said senior volleyball setter Karin Shleimer.

Senior field hockey mid-fielder McKenzie Ridgley says this year the team is “more focused and prepared” and she expects “nothing less” than a state title.

Ferguson and Shleimer agree that the toughest competition in volleyball this season is North Hagerstown, Tuscarora, Williamsport, and Smithsburg. Russo and Ridgley agree that Century, Westminster, Middletown, and Urbana are always tough field hockey competitors.

“I don’t compare this team to last year, and my only expectation is, game-in, game-out…it won’t matter what the score is…we will win,” said Miller.

Though there is no sure way of telling how the seasons will conclude for the field hockey and volleyball teams, their success is a result of the strong binding and relationship between the girls and, in the words of Coach Ferguson, their “intrinsic passion to do the things they love.”

“We were kind of like a family,” said Gracie Ruble, senior libero for the varsity volleyball team last year.