> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
The Bulldogs (22-12 in 2012) welcome back several starters from last year’s squad. Those starters include senior middle hitter Kelsey Guess, senior right-side hitter Olivia Balmer, junior middle hitter Alexis Lete and junior left-side hitters Audrey Donastorg and Brook McCoy.
Other New Albany players who return are junior setter Lindsey Harper, junior defensive specialists Madison Dibble, Madison Almon and Cory Schamore and sophomore right-side hitter Emma Balmer. Freshmen Sadie Meyer and Parker Andres also are expected to play key roles for the Bulldogs.
“I’m really looking forward to coaching this group,” coach John Breeding said. “I like their work ethic and their attitude. But I’m concerned about their varsity experience. I think this group will get better as the year goes on.”
Breeding says Floyd Central, Columbus East and Seymour will be tough to beat in the HHC. New Albany’s schedule also includes Providence, Brownstown and a new tournament at Heritage Hills.
The Mustangs (20-10 in 2012) have a solid nucleus with five seniors. They are middle blockers Caroline Ricks and Ashley Johnson, setter Courtney Amick, outside hitter Kaitlyn Schindler and opposite blocker Tara Edens.
Coach Michelle McCutcheon expects freshman middle blocker Brianne Cochran to be productive this year. McCutcheon says the Madison Tournament is always a challenge for her team and thinks the SAC and Class A sectional will both be very competitive.
“I expect our team to have a winning season. We should win some games that we are not expected to, and I want to compete to the highest level every time out,” McCutcheon said. “Our schedule will be balanced. Some teams should be easy, some right on our level and some far above our level.”
ROCK CREEK ACADEMY
Coach Jennifer Brown expects the Lions (8-14 in 2012) to be much improved after going through a rebuilding season in 2012.
Senior right-side hitter Marissa Weedin and senior middle hitter Susan McCoy are expected to provide leadership. Several juniors are back for Rock Creek in right-side hitter Kylie Tincher, middle hitter Brittney Page, setter Katie Clapp, left-side hitter Holly Whitworth and libero Ahyenday Thornton.
“This will be a challenging season, but the girls are better prepared and ready to meet the challenge,” Brown said. “The girls have been working hard, they had a great camp this summer and their skills are in place. The challenge will be keeping them focused and mentally prepared. They are a wonderful group of young ladies, and I look forward to the upcoming season.”