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By Al Stilley
Senior staff writer
Center Grove, ranked No. 5 in 4A, and Class A No. 4 Lutheran are favored to win volleyball sectional titles next week.
The Trojans host Southside sectional newcomer Martinsville at 7 p.m., Oct. 22, with the winner advancing to the title match at 10 a.m. Oct. 24. Greenwood opens the 4A Center Grove Sectional against Whiteland at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, with No. 11 Franklin facing Franklin Central at 7 p.m.
Class A Sectional host Lutheran meets Morristown at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The winner advances to semifinals Oct. 24.
Beech Grove meets Danville at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 3A Northwest Sectional.
Here’s a capsule look at the nine Southside teams (won-lost records through Monday):
Beech Grove (12-12) – Entered Cowan Invitational field winless and snared tourney prize … in slight 2-6 tailspin … leaders are underclassmen Katie Giller, 197 kills; Alyssa Walsh, 387 assists; Michele Jennings 301 digs; and Abbe Ferrer, 35 blocks … Mount Vernon visits tonight and Hornets go to Covenant Christian Thursday … meet Danville in 3A Northwest Sectional Thursday … BG fell to Warriors 25-13, 25-18, 25-17 in early September.
Center Grove (25-6) - Defending 4A sectional champs … undefeated in Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference … won Johnson County tourney … on 16-1 run … team leaders: Ohio State recruit 6-3 Madison Smeathers has 435 kills (fifth in the state), backed by 5-11 Malea Howie (198 kills) and 5-10 Ellen LeMasters (192 kills) … 5-9 Macy Carrabine leads with 293 digs and 5-11 Taylor Hammill, an Auburn recruit, has 709 assists … close at home Thursday against Bishop Chatard … face Martinsville in bye sectional match … 4A No. 11 Franklin in opposite bracket … Trojans have defeated Grizzly Cubs twice this season.
Franklin Central (13-13) – Opened 4-0 with new coach Sandra Moore … went through midseason four-game skid … lost three times to Perry Meridian … juniors Madison Munger (193 kills) and Haley Sobieralski (171 kills) lead at the net … senior Harper Wright has 368 digs … Elleanne Moore leads with 372 assists … finish at New Castle Thursday …face 4A No. 11 Franklin in Center Grove Sectional at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Greenwood (16-11) – Most wins since 2008 … won five of last seven matches … finished 11-3 at home … 6-foot senior Olivia Stilley leads with 233 kills. 51 aces and 35 blocks … freshman sister Alyssa Stilley has 34 blocks … sophomore Hanna Anderson has 509 assists … five Woodmen have more than 100 digs, topped by Emily Struewing’s 177 … wrap up at scrappy Edinburgh Thursday in tough tourney warm-up … open Center Grove Sectional against Whiteland Tuesday.
Greenwood Christian Academy (20-9) – Savvy and rangy team … three losses to ranked teams … best streak of eight straight wins … first-year coach Jeff Fishburn has Cougars sharing the wealth … team leaders are Hannah Peters, 216 kills; Sierra Gilson, 103 aces (No. 3 in the state); 6-3 Delanie Kent, 51 blocks; Grace Peters, 227 digs; and Katie Cruse, 203 digs; Alexandra Hooten, 449 assists … finish Thursday at Morristown … definite Class A Lutheran Sectional dark horse, face Arlington in bye match Oct. 24 at 12:30 p.m.
Lutheran (19-9) – Came within one win of reaching state finals in 2013 … play tough schedule every year … team leaders are 6-2 Whitney Hoover, 462 kills, third in the state, 63 blocks; 6-0 senior Alex Engler has 40; junior libero Elise Sombke has 401 digs, No. 2 Emma McIntosh has 247 digs; senior setter Julia Simons leads with 626 assists, 88.4 percent of team’s total; at home Thursday against Ritter in season finale … hosts Morristown in Lutheran Sectional at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Manual (8-9) – Jumped to a 4-2 start … defeated Howe, Northwest and Shortridge … Shelby Skaggs leads in kills, blocks and aces; Jyah Taylor in digs and Destinee Harden in assists … drew Bishop Chatard, toughest opponent of 2015, in 2A Crispus Attucks Sectional, 12:30 p.m., Oct. 24 … tourney favorite New Palestine is in opposite bracket.
Perry Meridian (17-11) – Impressive 6-1 road record … reached finals of Marion County tourney … solid 11.2 kills per set, 15.1 digs per set … 6-3 freshman sensation Caitie Baird leads in kills (392, 11th in the state) and aces (48), soph Sadie Hill and senior Jenni Castoe one-two in blocks with 65 and 46, respectively … Heather Corbin has 449 digs, 13th in the state … 6-1 senior Riley Taylor has phenomenal 832 assists, seventh in the state … face Decatur Central in 4A Brebeuf Sectional, where title run is possible.
Roncalli (17-14) – Rugged schedule has Rebels ready for playoffs … reached semifinals of Marion County tourney … 7-1 against county teams … average 18.9 digs per set … leaders are 5-9 seniors Kayln Schreiber, 197 digs; and McKenna Lundy, 150 digs; 6-0 Anne Strevels, 176 blocks; and sophomores Hannah Irmer, 296 digs; and Amelia Banister, 319 assists … close out against Southport Thursday … benefit in move from far Southside sectional to Brebeuf Sectional … meet Ben Davis at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at Brebeuf.
Southport (6-21) – Young Cardinals under first-year coach Lyndsey Weller have seven sophomores … impressive wins over Beech Grove and Connersville … dropped last six matches … team leaders are soph Tiana Wright, 92 kills and 80 digs; junior Bailey Fields, 19 blocks; junior Emily Patrick, 210 assists. Patrick, 73 digs, and soph Kierston Whitlock, 71 digs, are effective in back row … meet Perry Meridian-Decatur Central winner in Brebeuf Sectional at 11 a.m. Oct. 24.