October 23, 2019
Though they lost multiple collegiate level talents, the Raiders are back for the 2019 sea-
son looking to have another good season. Although the Raiders lost two 1st team all-county players, in Elise Park and two time Howard County Player of the Year Lisa Zoch and half of their starting lineup, they also gained fresh new talent. They are headlined by senior Chanelle Smith, who went 1st team all-county last season. Smith is joined by Junior Ryan Rorls, who went 2nd team all-county last year as only a sophomore, and senior Jessica Humphries, who started and was a key factor in many games last year.
This year, Humphries has stepped into more of a leadership role. “I really learned a lot from [the previous seniors],” she said, adding that they “ “really taught me how to better prepare my teammates and have confidence and trust in them.”
However the team is not just gaining leadership, they are gaining chemistry, too. They have had multiple team-building sessions including going swimming before the season. Additionally, “being at practice every day really bonds everybody together,” said Humphries. As the athletes are working hard off the court to build chemistry, they are also working on the court. “We need to work on defense and getting good sets to the outside so we can hit and be aggressive,” Humphries said, adding that the strongest part of the team is the hitters. While the team seems to be taking steps in all the right directions the one thing they still have to deal with is pressure. In two out of the past three years, the Raiders have been
State Champions and in the one year where they didn’t win, they were State semi-finalists. “I do feel a sense of pressure, the previous seniors set the bar very high for us,” Junior Jackie Romo said. Humphries said that “this year there is a lot of pressure because we were state champs and we were undefeated, [so] everyone has a high expectation of us to do it again.” The Raiders do have extremely big shoes to fill, however, they seem to be more than capable of doing so. The Raiders have a record of 7-3 right now and hope to continue their push with a win over Hammond this Tuesday the 22nd.