Volleyball looks to make deep post-season run Lady Trojans plan to excel with experience, leadership

With most of the last year’s team returning to the court this year, the 2017 girls’ volleyball team is expected to compete in every match. Summer conditioning has prepared players both mentally and physically, and the team begins the season matching up against rivals who will provide early competition.

“(Summer conditioning) helped unify all levels of our program,” second year coach Maggie Harbison said. Practicing over the summer has allowed the team to grow closer and become more comfortable with one another on the court. The team reaps both mental and physical rewards from putting in extra hours before the school season.

Outside hitter Ellen LeMasters ’18 said, “Conditioning is getting me in shape for when we have a five set match during the season, so I don’t get tired the whole match.” Other players agreed: working hard during conditioning and practice makes the team stronger and more prepared for tough games to come throughout the season.

Taylor Dempelwolf and Anna Line go up for a block during Saturday's game against New Castle.

After falling to Columbus East in the regional round last year, the team has its sights set on advancing farther in the tournament this season. In order to make that happen, players know they have to stay focused during practice, be the best teammates that they can be and give their all to have a successful year.

“I think it’s going to be our work ethic, how close we become as a team, and definitely figuring out some of our trouble spots,” sophomore setter MJ Hammill said.

Sophomore Madison Hammill sets the ball for senior Emma Jones during the team's first game of the year against New Castle.

Hammill may only be a sophomore, but as the setter, she has taken on one of many leadership roles on the team. Another key to success is the team’s mindset throughout the season.

“Everyone needs to be on board and willing to get us to state,” senior Devynn Merriman said.

The team is also looking forward to taking on big rivals such as Avon, Cathedral, Carmel, and Zionsville: teams with strong reputations and talented players.

“I’m excited to play our rivals because they’re supposed to be really good this year,” defensive specialist Ashley Eck ’18 said. “I know we’re just as good, and playing good teams will help us get better.”

Players are looking forward to good battles against rivals and reclaiming bragging rights. “I’m excited to play Avon, Cathedral, and Columbus East because they all beat us last year,” LeMasters said.

Sophomore Anna Line looks for a kill in the match against New Castle.
Sophomore Madison Hammill and junior Santina Schembra have a little fun during the match against New Castle.

The team opened their season Saturday defeating New Castle 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-14, 25-23) and look to build on that this week against two perennial state powers, Avon (Tuesday at home at 6:30 p.m.) and Zionsville (Saturday at home at 11:15 p.m.).

The volleyball team goes through the line, wishing New Castle good luck before the first match of the season. Center Grove defeated New Castle 3-1.

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Emma Hughes | Photographer Emma Hughes | Writer Kylie Johnson | Contributor

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