Friday, September 5, 2008

Catching up with Strasburg's Katie Baker over at Bridgewater College

The combined efforts of the Baker family and John Galle of the Shenandoah Valley Herald allowed to get some updates on the transition to College Volleyball for former Straburg star Katie Baker. Katie was one of the seven seniors that combined to lead the Strasburg Rams to a 28-0 perfect season and Class A State Championship in the fall of 2007. Larry and Jane Baker were there every step of the way for Katie and I always enjoyed visiting with them and the rest of the Ram faithful.

Our paths crossed again at Christopher Newport University when Katie was joined by fellow Ram Kaitlin Smoot for the Virginia All-Star festivities. Kaitlin headed down to Blacksburg to attend Virginia Tech while Katie signed on the attend Bridgewater College where she will play VB for the Eagles. I was quick to see when the Eagles would be playing at home so I could make the short drive over to the beautiful campus and see Ms. Baker compete at the next level.

Bridgewater is under the direction of a new head coach this season with Greg Spector taking over the top spot. Spector and his squad was ranked third in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) behind Washington & Lee and Randolph-Macon. The Eagles jumped out of the starting blocks with their opening tournament down at Emory & Henry College. BC swept through 4 matches to conclude play as the sole UN-defeated team (4-0).

How did young Katie fare in her first competition at the next level? Baker joined fellow Eagle Tricia Davis on the First Team All-Tournament squad. Davis was voted tourney MVP for her efforts as the junior looks to step up and help fill the leadership role on the team.

Katie Baker and the remainder of the Eagles are due to make their 2008 home debut next Tuesday night (6:30 PM) against Randolph but they have something special coming up between now and then. BC was originally scheduled to play in an event down at Christopher Newport this week-end but there has been a scheduling change.

The new opponent for Bridgewater is Juniata College (2004 & 2006 National Champions) whom just happens to be the #1 seeded team in all of D-III volleyball. Juniata is located in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania and compete in the Landmark Conference. The schedule change will allow the BC squad to test its game against one of the top teams in the country this week-end. The roster of BC includes another freshman I spent a little time covering during her final two years of high school. Blair Wampler was on of the team leaders for Coach Milton at James Wood High School up in Winchester.

Erica Dirnagl (Sherando) is a junior on the Bridgewater team, giving the Eagles a trio of players from the Greater Winchester Area. I hope to be able to follow Katie through the fall and maybe have her share her thoughts during the season as well. I am sure that Katie will continue to make Mom & Dad proud and I look forward to seeing her play next week! Good Luck to the Eagles on Saturday up at Juniata.

Mom did mention there was a bit of a difference in conditioning at the next level and I look forward to asking Katie about it when I can...

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