The Lady Vikings should again be a force not only locally, but statewide as well. Barr-Reeve fought through some mid-season injuries last season, and posted a 34-5 record that eventually resulted in a State Championship in 1A. Once again, the IHSAA ‘Success Factor’ has pushed the Lady Vikings to 2A, but with the bulk of their varsity regulars back, Coach Amber DeCoursey’s squad will be ready to compete.
“We have no control over the IHSAA, but we do look forward to competing in 2A. We have made a couple of schedule changes that we’re excited about that will test us, but the most important thing we have to worry about is us. If we can take care of what we know we can do well, I think we will have a good season,” said DeCoursey
Viking All-State junior standout Anna Ballengee returns to anchor the offense, and Addison Ainscough, also a junior, returns as her sidekick. Hannah Graber, who missed the first 15 games last season, will not only run the offense as the Vikings setter, but Graber is poised to get more swings as an outside hitter this season. Sarah Graber returns as both a setter and hitter after starting every game as a freshman, and Jasye Thompson returns for her junior season again at the libero position. Junior Makayla Graber also returns after starting every game last season as a middle hitter and blocker. Seniors Lexi Traylor and Kaylynn Wagler are also back to help in defensive and serving roles.
Injuries have again bit the Lady Vikes early in the season, but the news is still good. Senior Kara Hughes will return during the season’s first week from a wrist injury, and sophomore Hailey Raber is dealing with a back issue that will keep her out of action. Both Raber and Hughes played important roles for the Vikings last season.
DeCoursey says each season is new, and last season is now just a pleasant memory.
“We can’t be complacent because each season is a new challenge. We know the bullseye is now on us, and we will need to match the energy that teams will bring to play against us.”
The Vikings opened their season on Tuesday night at Forest Park.
Coach Brett Matteson returns a bulk of his underclassmen contributors from last season’s squad. The young Washington team from last year pushed eventual 3A Sectional Champion Vincennes Lincoln to four close games before bowing out of the tournament. This year’s version of the Hatchets want to go a step farther.
Madi McClure, Melida Ajradinoska and Makayla Sipes return as seniors, and each saw a large role last season as juniors, McClure and Sipes as attackers, and Ajradinoska as the team’s libero.
Jade Browning and Bella Thorne return to help anchor the offense in the front row, and both saw significant playing time there last season as sophomores. Alida Ajradinoska and Jena Roach return to lead a defense as juniors, and both started last season as sophomores also. Sophomores Alaina Thorne and Kencia Levasseur also return after seeing time last season in the front row, and Matteson expects them to play an even bigger role in 2019.
Matteson says the Hatchets are looking forward to what hope’s to be a winning season and more in 2019.
“We are looking for a big year and have set goals very high and feel this is our year to reach them. This team is loaded with talent and are going to be tough to beat.”
Washington opened their 2019 season on Tuesday at home against Southridge.
North Daviess has spent the last two seasons playing in the 2A state tournament, and this season will again be in much more familiar surroundings. The Lady Cougars drop back down to 1A, and will again compete in the 1A Sectional at Loogootee.
Gina Ingrahm will again lead the Lady Cougars, and does so with an experienced and winning resume. Ingrahm led the Eastern-Greene Thunderbirds to the 2A state title game in her time with the Lady Birds, and the Cougars hope her experience can help rebuild their program.
The biggest challenge the Lady Cougars face is the numbers game. As of press time, only seven girls are out for the team, so North Daviess will not play a junior varsity schedule in 2019.
Kaylan Craven and Jaryn Gingerich are the lone seniors on the squad, and both will be used as outside hitters. Juniors Dakota Mcnabb and Megan Marner will also be used in the front row, while Emily Kemp will be the setter, and Macey Wagler will be used as a defensive specialist. Emma Coney will help fill both offensive and defensive roles for the Cougars.
North Daviess opened their 2019 season with a home game against Shoals on Tuesday night.
The Lady Lions will have new leadership in the 2019 season. Shelly Lengacher returns to the helm as Tracy McAtee steps aside. Lengacher last coached the Lions during the 2006-07 season, and led Loogootee to two appearances in the 1A State Finals during her last tenure as head coach. Lengacher will welcome back the bulk of last season’s 23-8 team, and Loogootee will again have the added benefit of hosting both the Sectional and Regional rounds of the volleyball tournament.
From last season’s squad, seniors Calli and Olivia Wininger are the regulars who have graduated, but much of the offense and defense returns. The Lady Lions return senior Emily Wade, who started as a middle hitter and blocker. Juniors Asia Crim, Sara Street, Makenzie VanHoy and Jaelyn Walker each saw significant time in 2018, while sophomores Jocelyn Strange, Kylie VanHoy, and Abbey Fuhrman each saw valuable time as freshmen.
Lengacher was says both she and the Lady Lions are looking forward to the season. “We have a solid group of athletes returning this year. They have been working hard all summer and have a drive to succeed this season. We are looking forward to the season and to see how we stack up.”
Loogootee opened the season Monday against Jasper.