ANDERSON — Four area volleyball teams will begin their postseason journey Tuesday, with six more set to get started Thursday and another waiting until Saturday. All area teams find themselves in difficult sectionals and most with highly ranked teams to contend with before they can hoist a championship trophy Saturday evening. Here is a glance at the five sectional sites involving area teams and who the key players are.
All championship games will be played Saturday evening at 7 p.m.
Sectional 9 at New Castle
Both Anderson (2-20) and Pendleton Heights (26-5) will play first-round games Tuesday. The Tribe face No. 7 Mount Vernon at 6 p.m. followed by the Arabians’ matchup with Greenfield-Central (18-12), with the winners set to face off Saturday at 11 a.m.
The second half of the bracket to be played Thursday sees No. 2 Yorktown (27-1) vs. Muncie Central (9-13) at 6 p.m., followed by No. 1 New Castle (28-1) taking on Richmond (14-13).
An area player to watch: PH sophomore Avery Ross, who leads the Arabians with 354 kills and is second with 215 digs.
Sectional 39 at Madison-Grant
The Argylls limped to the finish, dropping matches at Elwood and Mississinewa, with the latter coming in the Grant 4 championship. Madison-Grant (17-10) has plenty of time to sort out the struggles as it drew a bye and will not play until Saturday at 1 p.m. versus the winner of Thursday’s first-round game between Tipton (17-14) and Blackford (5-22). The Argylls defeated both potential opponents during the regular season.
The first semifinal Saturday at 11 a.m. pits Taylor (1-20) against Eastbrook (5-20).
Area player to watch: M-G freshman Daya Greene has been consistent as the team’s libero, leading the squad with over 300 digs.
Sectional 40 at Lapel
Tuesday’s first-round match features Winchester (4-17) against Monroe Central (17-13) at 7 p.m., with the winner set to face Lapel (16-11) in Saturday’s 11 a.m. semifinal.
Thursday, things heat up when Elwood (13-14) takes on Class 2A No. 2 Wapahani (23-4) at 6 p.m. followed by a third meeting of the year between Alexandria (18-12) and No. 6 Frankton (27-2). The two teams split their earlier season meetings. The winners of these two matches will play in the second semifinal Saturday.
Area players to watch: Plenty of area big hitters here, Frankton’s Kate Sperry has 355 kills and 64 aces, Elwood’s Jaleigh Crawford checks in with 323 kills and 53 total blocks, Alexandria’s Kaitlyn Bair has 275 kills and 48 total blocks and Lapel’s Zoe Freer has 143 kills and 29 blocks.
Sectional 41 at Northeastern
Shenandoah (24-9) enters the tournament ranked No. 7 in Class 2A and will begin play Tuesday against Eastern Hancock (11-20) in a 6 p.m. first-round game. The winner will face third ranked Hagerstown (26-3) in a semifinal game Saturday at 11 a.m.
Thursday night’s first-round games feature Knightstown (20-10) against Union County (17-12) at 6 p.m., followed by Centerville (11-11) versus Northeastern (3-13).
Area player to watch: Shenandoah junior Erikka Hill has 347 kills and 35 blocks this season.
Sectional 55 at Cowan
Tuesday’s lone first-round game will feature two area teams as Daleville (8-16) takes on Anderson Prep (4-18) in a 7 p.m. start. The winner will face Tri-Central (2-22) at 11 a.m. Saturday in the first semifinal.
A pair of first-round games are scheduled for Thursday as Wes-Del (16-13) will play Liberty Christian (4-13) at 6 p.m. with Southern Wells (1-19) against Class 1A No. 2 Cowan (23-4) set to follow. The winners of these matches will play the second semifinal Saturday.
Area players to watch: Daleville senior Sky Yoder has 44 aces this year, APA’s Samantha Cox is among the area’s best defensive players and LC’s Elena Tufts can dominate at the net for the Lions.