Senior staff writer
Southside high school volleyball fortunes are on the rise again.
In 4A, Center Grove’s experienced and hungry 4A Trojans expect to go deep into the playoffs. Roncalli, after a rare losing season, is primed for a much-improved season, but the Rebels are in the same sectional as Perry Meridian.
In Class A, upstart Greenwood Christian Academy and Lutheran are headed for another sectional showdown, which the Cougars won last year.
Greenwood Christian’s Kayla Back enters her first full season as head coach after taking over midseason last year and guiding the Cougars to their first sectional title.
Two new coaches have returned to the Southside.
Jennifer Gandolph Hawk, former coach at the University of New Orleans, is at Perry Meridian, and Chelsea Brothers Hoffman was named head coach at Southport after being a three-year assistant. Hawk was a standout player at state champion Center Grove in 2000 and at the University of Michigan, where she holds several career records. She was an assistant at Samford and the University of Georgia.
Two of the nation’s top volleyball players continue to roam the court at Perry Meridian: 6-3 junior Caitie Baird, a top-10 freshman, and sophomore MJ Hammill, a University of Wisconsin commit who had more than 1,100 assists as a freshman.
Most teams have played early season matches. Center Grove came from two sets down to defeat highly regarded Avon 3-2, and Greenwood Christian swept 4A Greenwood in three sets. The 2017 outlook with records and stats from last season.