Local volleyball teams primed for 2022 season


The volleyball season for the Seymour, Crothersville and Trinity Lutheran teams will begin Saturday with the Owls at home and the Cougars and Tigers on the road.

Seymour will host Jeffersonville for a Hoosier Hills Conference match with the junior varsity beginning at 10 a.m.

Trinity Lutheran will travel to Providence for the Kickoff Classic beginning at 9 a.m., while Crothersville will play in the Scottsburg Invitational beginning at 10 a.m.

Brownstown Central will open its season Tuesday at Eastern (Pekin) for a Mid-Southern Conference match. Medora postponed its first three matches next week because of not having enough eligible players. The Hornets will open Aug. 23 at home against Pleasant View Christian.

Crothersville and Medora will be under the guidance of new coaches with Scott Sage coaching the Tigers and Becca Lucas in charge at Medora.


Angie Lucas is beginning her 28th season as head coach of the Owls and will be working with three seniors, Cali Cummings, Olivia Fish and Addie Lemon.

“We have a lot of players back from last year’s (26-5) squad, so it is very exciting for us,” Lucas said. “We lost three great seniors.”

Heading up the returnees is Fish, who has already committed to play volleyball at Wake Forest University.

She was named the 2021 Tribune Player of the Year and was an all-state and all-HHC player. She holds the SHS career kills record (1,053), and she received the digs award (289) was named most valuable player in 2021.

Seymour’s Olivia Fish communicates with her teammates during a match against Bloomington South last season.

Tribune file photo

Cummings also was named all-HHC and received the blocking (73) award, and Lemon received the serving (96.3%) and assists (844) awards.

“We have 6-foot-2 Journee Brown. She has had a great preseason,” Lucas said. “We have 6-2 Olivia Fish, who is our stud player. She has given us everything for four years, and also 6-2 Cali Cummings, and she has become a great volleyball player and has improved a great deal for us.

“We have height, but you’ve got to be able to move, too. It’s quickness and height. Those are two things you have to have, and we feel like we have that,” she said. “But more than having the height this year, the most important thing that I have seen is our passing. It has improved a great deal. We are going to be able to control the ball well enough to be able to run a little bit faster offense to get our hitters more involved in the speed of the game.”

Lemon begins her fourth season as the Owls’ setter.

“She is very good controlling the offense,” Lucas said.

Greer Henry was named the most improved player last fall, and she returns as the libero.

“Greer has improved so much over this past club season,” Lucas said. “She is probably the hardest-working kid I have in the gym right now. I think people are going to see that the ball is not going to hit the floor as much as it did last year with her as our libero.

“These girls have been together for a couple years now, so that makes it so much easier,” she said. “We have to play with the intensity level we played with last year. Teams are going to want to come in and beat us. We made a name for ourselves. Now, we have to defend it and keep working hard every day.”

Brownstown Central

Jennifer Shade, who has been coaching the Braves since 1998, has only one senior but has 19 freshmen.

Shade said this is one of the youngest teams she has had for a while, and she usually has a freshman on the varsity team. This year, there are four freshmen listed among the 12 varsity players.

Shade is looking to senior Kalee Borden to provide leadership skills.

“She has already done a great job,” Shade said. “When you’re the only senior, you have to take on that role by yourself, but sometimes, I think it’s even better because she has to do it.”

Brownstown Central’s Kalee Borden goes low for a dig during a home match against Seymour last season.

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Other players with varsity experience back are junior Kera Wischmeier and sophomores Kinzee Dean and Jaydynn Yeadon. Wischmeier will move to middle hitter, and Yeadon, who was a defensive specialist last fall, will probably play libero this season.

“We have one player playing in the position they played in last year. Everybody else, even though they may have seen time on the court, they’re not playing the same position they did the year before,” Shade said.

“We started in the summer teaching every single aspect,” she said. “It has been a fun year because I enjoy that. I enjoy the teaching part of it, and I like to see the growth. This team is enjoyable because they are soaking up so much information, and it’s neat to see them grow and get better.”

Shade’s goal is always to win state, which she did in 2019.

“Dropping to Class 2A, I think that’s very doable for our program,” she said. “Any time I walk into the gym, our goal is a state championship regardless of what we have. We just figure it out as the year goes on how we can win that state championship. We’re still playing in the tournaments and the big 4As, and we may take some hits because we are learning so much this year. All we have to do is play those games, play at that speed and then when we go into tournament time, it makes it easier.”

Trinity Lutheran

Faith Wilder-Newland, beginning her fifth year heading up the Trinity program, coached the Cougars to a record of 30-5 and a state runner-up finish in Class A last year.

Bailey Tabeling is the only senior on the roster.

“Bailey gives a lot of leadership on the court as far as setting an example about how she goes about it,” Wilder-Newland said. “She has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. She leads by doing, a very physical player. We would like for her to be more of a verbal leader. She’s got to grow into that.”

Tabeling led the team in kills last year with 400 and had more than 190 digs.

The coach said she looks for juniors Kiley Zabel and Drew Hubbard to fill bigger roles than they did last year.

Carson Bowling, Addison Darlage, Laura Roeder and Madison Keith all played more than 100 games last season. Bowling had 290 kills last fall, and Darlage had more than 1,120 assists.

Trinity Lutheran’s Addison Darlage sets the ball to Carson Bowling during a match last season.

Tribune file photo

Wilder-Newland said she also is expecting a lot from sophomores Darlage, Bowling, Keith, Roeder and Ava Blomenberg. Roeder will fill the libero position.

She also said Jordan Brewer and Maddy Adams could help the Cougars on defense and also Brewer at setter.

“The other positions are sort of up for grabs,” Wilder-Newland said. “We have to develop our back court. We have to especially develop our serve reception and defense. I think eventually, we’ll have balanced hitting. We’ve got excellent setting.”


Sage, who has coached at Crothersville, Seymour, Hauser, Jennings County and Scottsburg, is anxious to get his 21st season as a high school volleyball coach started.

“I try to keep things simple,” he said. “I’ve told our kids many times that we won’t judge our success on wins and losses only. If we can get our players to play hard, have a great attitude, give great effort, keep good body language, be a great teammate, then that’s going to be our goal. That’s going to be our success if we can get them to play hard all the time. Now, that’s easier said than done.”

Crothersville’s Makenna Newberry sets the ball during a sectional match last season.

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He said he has a lot of young players with six being freshmen. He worked with some of the freshmen in the past through club ball and said three or four of them will play intricate roles in varsity matches. He said it will take some time for the Tigers to mesh together.

Sage has only 11 players to play a varsity and JV schedule. Pearl Shirley and Carlee Walker are the only seniors on the team.

“I’m pretty happy with my seniors,” he said. “They’ve stepped up and shown some pretty good leadership skills. I think both of them have come a long way since their freshmen year and are solid volleyball players all the way around. One of the biggest things I’ve been trying to work with them on is mindset.”

Sage continued, “They just haven’t had a lot of success when it comes to wins and losses here, so that kind of culture is a big change for them, and I’ve talked about how difficult it is to have a negative player not win a lot and still stay positive and still give great effort. I talk to them about life lessons and leadership skills that they can apply not only in volleyball but also apply to life once they become older.”

Sage said the coaches will hold weekly meetings with the seniors to find out their feelings about how they think the season is going.


Lucas, who previously coached a club team in Seymour, has the smallest varsity roster in the county with just eight players and no seniors.

“I think we have a pretty good lineup. We’re getting our rotations down,” she said. “Last year, they ran a rotation with two setters. We’re changing that to a 5-1, so we’re seeing the improvements there.”

Two of the juniors Lucas is counting on are Jenna Bowers., who will play all-around, and Laykin Hinderlider, who will be the setter.

“We’re working on passing and getting everyone to the right spots,” she said. “We have eight girls, and we have some attacking from the back row. They’ll play all-around. Jenna will definitely be a hitter. Breelee (Underwood) will be a hitter. Everyone knows the concept of hitting. They can all do it.”

The Medora volleyball team huddles up before a match last season.

Tribune file photo

Lucas said the back row defense is a little rocky, but they are working on it.

“There are a couple girls here that have never played volleyball before, so they’re still working on it,” she said.

Lucas said she didn’t get hired as the Hornets’ coach until early July.

“We did have open gyms. We worked on the concept. I think it would be pretty awesome to be able to win the first match. I think it would boost all their confidence because they’re all a little doubtful, but I think we could be pretty competitive in the (Southern Roads) conference,” Lucas said.

She continued, “It just depends on how they want to play. I can coach them as much as I want, but it depends on where their heads are at. They’re talking a lot better. I want to see improvement and teamwork. That would be cool if they won, too. If they’re having fun out there, then I’m doing my job.”

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