A roster makeover wasn’t going to hold back McCutcheon volleyball’s success.
The Mavericks graduated seven seniors last year.
By the time the 2015 season started, McCutcheon had already hit the ground running.
On Tuesday, the Mavericks swept Clinton Prairie 25-14, 25-14, 25-11 at Resler Gymnasium for their third straight win and 12th victory in their last 16 matches.
The setup for a strong campaign began across the river in the heat of summer.
“It all started at team camp when we went to Purdue,” senior Lexi Humphrey said. “The first day was kind of rough, but after that, we all kind of clicked.”
Coach Sara Sutter saw a team of wide-eyed players who weren’t yet up to speed with how fast varsity volleyball programs played.
It lasted one day.
The Mavericks bounced back to win the Gold Division.
Now they’re in the midst of a 12-6 start, all six losses to respectable opponents, including 4A No. 3 Brownsburg and Class A No. 1 Central Catholic. The schedule doesn’t let up as 3A No. 1 Yorktown is on the docket when McCutcheon competes in a tournament in Muncie this weekend.
“We design our summer to be kind of hard,” Sutter said. “We go to Circle City in Indy and play a lot of tough schools. We use that to help us prepare for the season.”
Sutter did that knowing a roster heavy with juniors was going to reap the benefits. Humphrey and Carly Schneider will be the only two departures after this season on a team that also plays three sophomores.
“We do have a really young team, but all of them have a lot of skills,” Schneider said. “They all stepped up like they were on the varsity last year.
“I think (assistant coach) Anna (Iacobazzi) really helped with that. She coached them last year and got them to reach their potential.”
Displaying a deep and balanced roster, McCutcheon has managed to keep many opponents guessing.
“We don’t have one go-to person,” said Humphrey, who served seven aces against Clinton Prairie. “Every night, it’s a different person. If someone is having an off night, we can put in another who is having a great night. I think that is very difficult to defend.”
The stats prove Humphrey right.
Against the Gophers Tuesday, Adrienne Sowers led the offense with seven kills while Kara Ortiz and Jade Humphrey each had four, Lexi Humphrey, Schneider and Maddie Tracer each collected three.
Grace Balensiefer and Alli Jeffries combined for 27 assists.
Five different hitters have been set at least 100 times this season, six have double digit aces and seven have more than 60 digs.
There is no one dimensional aspect of the Mavericks, except the bond they developed while preparing for this moment.
“It comes back to that Purdue camp. The first day we are playing Hamilton Southeastern, Lawrence North, all these larger schools. …” Sutter said. “We had all the girls who had never played this speed. Wow this is a lot faster. After that, practices were more serious.
“It was all confidence.”