The Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association released its preseason volleyball poll on Tuesday and three Delaware County high school programs sit atop their respective classes.
Defending Class A state champion Wes-Del is ranked No. 1 in Class A. County rival Cowan is ranked sixth.
The underclass-laden Warriors lost a wealth of talent to graduation, but they still possess their share of talent. Wes-Del opened its season Tuesday by pulling out a five-set thriller against visiting Daleville (which is receiving votes in the Class A poll) 25-9, 21-25, 32-30, 22-25, 15-11.
“You win a state championship and a lot of times coaches do that without looking at rosters or anything,” Wes-Del coach Biff Wilson said of the No. 1 ranking. “It’s a sign of respect for what we accomplished last year and has absolutely nothing to do with this year.”
Defending 2A state champion Wapahani tops its class in the preseason poll. Burris is ranked fourth. This marks the first time since the implementation of the multi-class system that Burris opens anywhere but No. 1.
The Raiders lost two NCAA Division I talents in Sierra Reed (Eastern Michigan) and Taylor Richardson (Ball State), but they return their top two hitters in Lindi Thomas and Brittany Cline and add talented Delta transfer Aubreigh Applegate at outside hitter.
Three county programs crack the top five in 3A. Central opens at No. 1 in its second year playing 3A. Defending state champion Yorktown follows in second. Delta is ranked fifth behind No. 3 Bellmont and No. 4 Brebeuf.
“I’m surprised to some degree, but we have some players by position that are as good as there are in the area,” Central coach Wes Lyon said in reference to outside hitter Jaydn’ Pegues, setter Sarah Dale and libero Jessica Helms. “I think it’s going to be a real dogfight in 3A this year, and I think the top five is certainly indicative of it.”
Central opens its season Thursday at Yorktown in a showdown between No. 1 and No. 2.
“I think we both view it as a big match to be able to feel yourself out and see where you’re at,” Lyon said.
The Tigers played their opener Tuesday and beat Class 4A No. 7 Westfield 25-20, 25-23, 25-27, 25-21.
Yorktown is one of two teams from East Central Indiana ranked second in their respective polls. New Castle is second in 4A. State runner-up Avon sits at No. 1. Two-time defending state champion Penn is third.
New Castle beat visiting Blue River 25-10, 25-11, 25-7 in its opener Tuesday. The Trojans graduated only one player from their 30-win team of last season. New Castle junior outside hitter Lauryn Gillis is a prime candidate to win the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year award this season.