Central Catholic Knights
Coach: Brad McCarter (104-39 in fifth season)
2011 results: 10-21; lost to Rossville 3-0 in sectional opener
Returning letterwinners: Alanna Roswarski, sr., MB (154 kills); Belle Dieterle, sr., DS/L; Emily Denhart, jr., MB (44 blocks); Sarah Roswarski, S (242 assists); Breanna Fickle, jr.. DS/S; Lucy Kendrick, jr., OH/DS
Newcomers: Carissa Hutchinson, sr., OH; Emily Burks, so., OH; Emily Tharp, jr., DS; Maddie Matson, jr., OH; Talley Olinger, jr., OH
Outlook: The Knights went from state champions to losing in their sectional opener. It was a shock to the Knights, who had become accustomed to winning sectional championships and beyond.
Faith Christian Eagles
Coach: Trent Herron (fourth season)
2011 results: 10-14
Returning letterwinners: Martha Toyra, sr., DS/L; Liz Harford, sr. OH; Hannah Harville, sr., MH; Lacy Deitrick, sr., S; Whitni Borgman, jr., OH; Brooke Hancock, jr., OH
Newcomers: Sarah Gardner, jr., MH; Kylie Campbell, so., DS; Lizzy Gardner, jr., DS
Outlook: The Eagles are anxious to play increased competition and get their first chance to compete in the IHSAA postseason tournament at the end of the season. Herron has a mix of talented seniors and underclassmen.
Coach: Lindsay Charles (first season)
2011 results: 23-8; lost to McCutcheon 3-0 in sectional opener
Returning letterwinners: Kayla Ostrom, sr., S/OH (209 kills, 666 assists, 233 digs); Kylie Hawks, sr., DS/L (124 digs); Ashley Francis, sr., MH (187 kills, 214 digs); Shannon Garner, sr., DS; Savannah Rider, sr., DS; Hayely Sinnott, sr., DS; Kassandra Williams, so., MH; Brynn Roy, so., OH; Elizabeth Coleman, jr., OH/S
Newcomers: Rachel Taylor, jr., OH; Grace Yahiro, jr., DS; Rebecca Dinkel, so., DS; Ariel Murawski, so., MH/OH; Ashlyn Dunwoody, so., OH
Outlook: Losing to rival McCutcheon in the sectional after a four-year run as champions didn’t sit well. With six seniors, including three-year starter Ostrom, the Raiders have the same expectations: to compete for conference and sectional titles.
Lafayette Jeff Bronchos
Coach: Scott Graves (15-18 in second season)
2011 results: 15-18; lost to Logansport 3-0 in sectional semifinals
Returning letterwinners: Connor Garrity, sr., S (506 assists, 197 digs); Megan Isbell, sr., MH (225 kills, 242 digs); Kate Halliwell, sr., OH (162 kills, 123 digs); Auna McGaughey, sr., MH (129 kills); Mekhila Treece, sr., OH; Jasmine Clark, sr., DS; Jessica Griggs, jr., OH; Carlie Hinkel, jr., MH; Kinnsey Pass, jr., S; Madison Flanagan, so., DS
Newcomers: Allie Aikerson-Russell, sr., MH; Karina Hernandez, jr., DS
Outlook: With four seniors who are three-year varsity starters, the Bronchos are hoping for a big year. After struggling in recent years, last year’s 15-18 mark came with constant improvement and the players hope that carries over to this season.
Coach: Travis Fuller (first season)
2011 results: 24-9; defeated Logansport 3-1 in sectional championship, lost to Westfield 3-0 in regional championship
Returning letterwinners: Sydney Tracer, so., S/MH (73 blocks); Taylor Baird, sr., S/OH; Mikayla Berning, jr., MH; Aimee Hahn, sr., OH; Katee Kurtz, so., OH
Newcomers: Payton Taylor, so., DS; Aleea Barnett, sr., OH
Outlook: With a predominantly new varsity lineup, the Mavericks expect improvement as the season progresses. Despite bringing up multiple players who didn’t see much varsity time last season, that bunch waited behind a talented senior class and now are hoping to fill the void of a group that led the Mavericks to a sectional title last year.
West Lafayette Red Devils
Coach: Chad Marshall (47-21 in third season)
2011 results: 24-10; defeated Maconaquah 3-0 in sectional championship, lost to South Bend St. Joseph’s 3-0 in regional championship
Returning letterwinners: Katy Brose, sr., OH; Tasha Baker, sr., OH; Sarah Collicott, sr., MH; Becca Mimms, sr., OH; Grace Malone, jr., DS; Devin Hainje, so., S; Sophie Shinn, so., DS
Newcomers: Katie Shively, so., OH; Taylor Smith, so., MH/OH
Outlook: With a smaller lineup, the Red Devils rely on defense and ball control. It worked last year as West Side won a sectional title. With most of the roster returning, WL is motivated to put together another solid season.
Around the area
Multiple threat setter Aliah Larsen (49 blocks) helped Covington improve from zero wins in 2010 to a 6-15 record last season and leads a three-player senior class for the Trojans, along with Olivia Kagels and Rachel Kiger.
After a back injury kept her out of the lineup last season, senior outside hitter Cassidy Deno returns for Benton Central, which went 16-14 in her absence. Also back is All-Hoosier Conference selections Caitlyn Tolen (267 kills, 259 digs, 77 blocks) and Megan Marheine (444 assists). Seniors Alissa Brouillette, Alison Carroll and Jena Deno and junior Kendra Cox all return and sophomores Ally Best and Paige Geswein will supply defensive help.
Frankfort senior setter Kaitlyn Emery will have two strong options in standout juniors Ericka Ham (394 kills, 193 digs, 60 aces) and Mady Corrie (220 kills, 150 digs). The Hot Dogs went 22-12 last season but failed to win a sectional title for the first time in four years.
No team in the area last season had a better record than Frontier. The Falcons finished 28-5 with sectional and regional titles thanks in large part to returning seniors Kattie Lee (390 kills, 128 aces, 472 digs), Jenna Sullivan (324 kills, 177 blocks), Jesah Marlatt (146 kills, 220 digs) and Megan Doyle. Junior Brynleigh Jensen is back as the top returning passer.
North Montgomery had a non-traditional 12-20 record last season. With setter Kiersten Hayes leading a large group of returning talent that also includes seniors Brie Smith and Paytin Krutzsch, the Chargers hope to get back to their usual winning ways.
Four-year starter Morgan Lang surrenders her setting duties to freshman Bethany Bober and will be called upon to lead North Newton with her hitting.
The longest-tenured coach in the area is North White’s Teresa McIntire, who has six players back from last year’s team, led by All-Midwest Conference defensive specialist Lacey Hendress (367 digs). Seniors Nikki Maple and Whitney Quasebarth also return.
Rossville will be led by Christian Brothers University recruit Brinsley Cooper (421 kills, 102 aces, 193 digs, 132 blocks).
Seven seniors offer plenty of experience for Seeger, which also will lean on junior middle blocker Miranda Synesael.
South Newton has five players back, including seniors Julia Doyle, Sydney Swartz and Rachael Templin. Coach Laura Bossaer returns for a second season hoping five returning players help the Rebels begin to develop a stronger program after going 2-19 a year ago.
Expect Twin Lakes to build off last year’s 15-18 record with a large contingent of returning players, including kills leader Morgan Gutwein (206 kills, 333 digs), setter Chloe McAchren (558 assists), defensive specialist Courtney Bowsman and one of the top blockers in Brittany Connell.
New West Central coach Brandi Kappes will lean on returning starters Alivia Kruger (25 aces), Sarah Becker, Autumn Wireman and Mickayla Wenzel.