Five days after Urbana’s tight four-set loss to Montgomery County’s Thomas S. Wootton in the Class 4A West Region II final on Nov. 6, senior setter/outside hitter Trinity Burge was honored as Maryland’s Player of the Week by MaxPreps/American Volleyball Coaches Association the week of Nov. 4-10. Burge led the team this fall with 173 kills and 59 aces, and it was her work in tandem with sophomore setter Tatiana Johnson (team-high 342 assists), that set the tone for the Hawks’ success.
Though Urbana fell short of making its second consecutive state tournament appearance—the team reached the state final for the first time a year ago—nothing can take away from everything the Hawks still accomplished in 2019. This year’s Central Maryland Conference champion, Urbana (19-3) finished the season undefeated against Frederick County and conference opponents. That run included a win over Smithsburg (Class 1A), which just won its ninth state title in 11 years, and 13th overall.
“Going undefeated is not easy to do; beating Oakdale twice is not easy to do, and beating Smithsburg at Smithsburg, on their senior night, is not easy to do,” Hawks coach Jerry Burge said. “These are all positives that we can take away from this season. It was disappointing to lose in the region final, but we have to give credit where credit is due. Wootton is a very good team.”
The beauty of volleyball, Coach Burge said, is that when played at the highest level, it’s like a dance. The precision needed to get from pass, to set, to hit, to dig takes a tremendous amount of coordination among teammates, because the ball never comes to a rest. Urbana’s superior setting and passing ability made it a contender from the start of the season. There was no area of weakness for opponents to exploit. The Hawks benefited from two of the area’s best setters, who not only worked well with each other, but always seemed to place the ball exactly where it needed to be, at just the right time for the Hawks’ talented hitters. Johnson was second on the team with kills, followed by Makayla Thomason (77) and Kayla Tarigo (72).
Penelope Hiepler led the team’s defense with 258 digs, followed by Sophia Bongiorno (149) and Catherine Diaz (141).
The Hawks’ recent success has garnered much-deserved attention from the community, Coach Burge said, and has encouraged girls to pick up the sport at a younger age. And in the cyclical world of high school sports, such a pipeline of players is vital to the growth of a program.
“I think we’re just going to keep getting better,” Coach Burge said. “I think we’ll consistently be at the top of the county, region and hopefully, the state. We’re just going to keep grinding.”