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