Senior staff writer
How far will any Southside volleyball team advance in the state tournament, which opens at most sites Thursday?
Last year 4A Center Grove and 1A Lutheran came within one game of reaching the state finals in Muncie, but this season has been a reloading year for most area teams.
Center Grove (23-9) goes into the tough 4A sectional at Greenwood as the favorite although previously ranked Franklin and senior-laden Franklin Central (27-3) could threaten. The Trojans seek their second title in a row and 28th overall.
Defending sectional champion Roncalli (9-17), coming off a rare losing season, met Ben Davis in the Perry Meridian Sectional opener Tuesday (result unavailable at press time) with the winner meeting the Falcons (14-14) at noon Saturday.
No. 12 Lutheran (14-15) is slightly favored to win a fifth straight sectional at home, where Greenwood Christian Academy (20-9) and Edinburgh threaten.
First-round winners advance to sectional semifinals Saturday at 10 a.m. and noon with championship matches at Perry Meridian, Greenwood, Ritter and Lutheran at 7 p.m.
Sectional champions advance to regionals Oct. 25, semistates Oct. 29 and the state finals at Ball State University Nov. 5.
4A at Perry Meridian
Wide open Sectional 11 … Southport (3-19) meets Brebeuf at 6 p.m. Thursday followed by Pike and Decatur Central … defending sectional champion Perry Meridian plays Saturday at 10 a.m. … Falcons 4-0 vs. sectional foes … led by 6-3 sophomore Caitie Baird, 426 assists, 293 kills … Roncalli has strong youth movement with seven juniors and five sophomores … Rebels 2-1 against sectional foes, played one of state’s toughest schedules … Southport suffered 13 straight losses … sectional champ could face No. 2 Avon or No. 14 Brownsburg in regional action.
4A at Greenwood
Sectional 13 opens Thursday … Woodmen (7-21) play Martinsville at 5:30 p.m., followed by favored Center Grove and Franklin Central … winners meet Saturday at 10 a.m. with Whiteland and Franklin at noon … Trojans defeated rival Franklin twice in straight sets this season … Trojans under first-year coach Maggie Harbison led by juniors Emma LeMasters (367 kills), Devynn Merriman (430 digs) and Taylor Dempewolf (112 blocks) … unranked Franklin Central (29-3) lost only to ranked Franklin, New Palestine and Lawrence North … Flashes led by seniors Haley Sobieralski, 783 assists, 324 digs; Madison Munger, 362 kills; and Corrie Rusk, 69 blocks … Martinsville swept mistake-prone Greenwood (7-21) last week … expect Woodmen to rebound, looked sharp Thursday on senior night against Edinburgh … Woodmen leaders are senior Camryn LaMonaca, 163 kills; and sophomores Alyssa Stilley, 159 kills, 63 blocks; and Lauren Battinau, 306 assists … junior varsity won Mid-State Conference … Thursday winners meet at 11 a.m., with Franklin vs. Whiteland at 12:30 p.m.
3A at Ritter
Beech Grove (7-16) meets No. 11 Indian Creek at 10 a.m. Saturday … No. 15 Ritter favored in Sectional 28 … lost junior setter Michelle Jennings to knee injury before first match of season … 1-8 in current tailspin … led by junior Katie Giller, 186 kills, 181 digs, and seniors Courtney Adamson, 334 assists, and Breanna Courtney, 182 digs … winner meets Danville-Ritter winner for title … sectional winner could face No. 7 New Palestine or No. 14 Bishop Chatard in regionals.
3A at Crispus Attucks
Manual in lower bracket bye matchup Saturday against Marshall at 12:30 p.m. … six-team Sectional 27 opens Thursday with No. 7 New Palestine and No. 14 Bishop Chatard heavily favored to advance to 11 a.m. semifinal showdown Saturday.
1A at Lutheran
Six-team Sectional 59 opens Thursday with twin bill … No. 12 Lutheran meets Arlington in second match at 7:30 p.m. … winner faces Central Christian-Morristown winner Saturday at 11 a.m. … lower bracket features big semifinal match Saturday between Greenwood Christian Academy and Edinburgh at 12:30 p.m. … Lutheran seeks 13th sectional crown … coach Kathy Anderson’s leaders: seniors Elise Sombke, 393 digs, 53 aces; and Kristen Simmons, 741 assists; juniors Erin Pasch, 242 kills; and Taylor Brown, 344 digs … GCA second season with 20 or more wins under coach Jeff Fishburn … 4-0 vs. sectional foes … juniors Sierra Gilson (135 kills), Aubrey Odgens (384 assists, 135 digs) and lone senior Katie Cruse (104 digs) are team leaders … sectional champ could face No. 3 Hauser in regional action.