QA’s Blann, KI’s Mo­ran share top honor; Betts is top coach

Record Observer - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE

Stephanie Zeiler saw them com­ing four years in ad­vance.

“When they came in as fresh­men [in 2013], Coach Zeiler said to me, ‘This is go­ing to be our group,’” Queen Anne’s County High head vol­ley­ball coach Kim Betts said of a unit that be­came last sea­son’s se­nior core. “And I said, ‘Are you sure?’ She said, ‘Yes, most def­i­nitely be­cause of their work ethic and their heart, and their over­all ath­leti­cism.’”

It took four years, but Zeiler’s call proved spot on.

Led by a se­nior cast that in­cluded Kayla Blann, Emma Feaga, Kai­ley Boomer and Becca Clay, the Lions put to­gether their first un­beaten reg­u­lar sea­son in Betts’ 10 years as head coach, won their first North Bay­side Di­vi­sion ti­tle in 15 years, and their first con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship in 19 years be­fore their 16-1 sea­son ended one vic­tory shy of the school’s first re­gional crown.

“I think over­all their com­pet­i­tive na­ture,” Betts, the All-Mid-Shore Coach of the Year, said of what separated this team from her nine pre­vi­ous squads. “They never got down on them­selves even when they were be­hind.

“And I think this team prob­a­bly played the best de­fense out of all the squads that I’ve coached, which al­lowed us to get a lot more touches on the ball and ac­tu­ally run an at­tack from all dif­fer­ent an­gles,” Betts added. “I mean we were suc­cess­ful from the front-row at­tack and back-row at­tack. And in the past there’s a lot of balls in the cor­ners and even tips that we were un­able to get to be­cause we weren’t as ag­ile; we didn’t have as quick of de­fen­sive re­ac­tions.”

Betts and Zeiler had tal­ented play­ers and good teams in the 10 years they’d been to­gether as head coach and as­sis­tant. But this was their most com­plete team be­cause of its abil­ity to at­tack from mul­ti­ple spots on the court and make digs, hits and saves de­fen­sively that be­fore seemed out of reach. There was still an­other in­tan­gi­ble.

“They were all mo­ti­vated and goal-driven,” Betts said. “They all wanted the same thing. That made all the dif­fer­ence in the world.”

Just like Zeiler thought it would some day.

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