TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute South’s volleyball team is led by 6-foot-5 left-handed force Kristen Seaton, a senior who will ink her name to a national letter-of-intent to play for Pepperdine during the fall signing period.
Seaton will anchor the Braves’ talented front row on offense as well as playing defense. But to say that Seaton is the only key that unlocks South’s championship aspirations would be foolish.
“[Seaton] has some versatility, she has the ability to move to different areas of the court, she can play middle, outside hitter, she’s willing to play defense and for a 6-5 person to be willing to play hard defense is a tribute to how badly they want to win,” Coach Steve Beeler said.
With the loss of last year’s second-leading scorer Mallory Kraly to graduation, Beeler needs other players to rise to the occasion. A 5-10 righthander, Lauren Gottardi, will play opposite Seaton. As evidenced by her team-leading nine kills in Saturday’s loss to No. 8 Bloomington North, Gottardi could have a big season for the Braves, who are 1-2 thus far in a traditionally difficult schedule.
“It’s nice when we have those two on opposite sides of the court front row,” Beeler said. “They can create some havoc on the other side and blocking for the other side. I can imagine Kristen creating a lot of committed double teams and that’s going to leave Lauren open to terminate ball after ball on the opposite side … and vice versa.”
Other offensive options at hand will be sophomores Morgan Rebeck and Erica Sell.
“We’re going to ask a little more of Kristen and a little more of Lauren [than last season],” Beeler said. “We’re going to ask the other three primary hitters to step up and score a little bit more than they’ve been asked to in the past, run a little bit more of a balanced offense where everybody’s creating opportunities for everybody.”
South’s defense should be improved after a solid season a year ago, led by libero Amy Telezyn and defensive specialist Heather Buell.
“We’re returning most of our defense so defensively we should be better than we were last year, just from experience,” Beeler said. “They’ve come in focused and working hard so the backcourt play, we should be very solid on.”
Another sophomore, Brittany Pugh, will start at setter. Other players battling for playing time are seniors Brooke Rowely and Lynsee Smith, junior Bayley Young, and freshmen Jessica Chichester, Shelby Crncic and Larina Coutinho.
The Braves have hopes of competing for a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference championship. The Braves went 17-17 overall last year, but took third place in the MIC. And South will also battle it out for the title in one of Class 4A’s toughest sectionals in the state.
“There are four teams that are vying for that sectional. Plainfield right now I’d have to put No. 1 with what they’re returning. They were a solid team last year. They pushed [defending state champion] Martinsville to five games in sectional last year,” Beeler said. “Martinsville will be back there. They’re always tough. Northview, they’re returning a great core of their starters from a 30-3 season last year. They’ve got a phenomenal group of athletes.
“We’ve got question marks to answer before I put us anything higher than fourth right now. We’ve got to find a little more offense right now. We’re definitely not the favorite right now, but at the same time I wouldn’t count us out right now. There’s a lot of volleyball to be played between now and then.”
I I I
A look at the other Vigo County squads and Northview:
n Terre Haute North — Coming off a 14-15 season, the Patriots are without five seniors that were a big part of North Coach Kris Painter’s program: Kylie Hutson, Carol Weatherford, Abby Dorsett, Mollly Stephens and Sarah McClintock.
“We lost 5 of top 7, so you know anytime you lose kids of that caliber, it’s going to take a little bit of time to get people to where they were so to speak,” Painter said.
Painter expects some of the Patriots that gained experience to step up into bigger roles this season. Among those players are 5-10 senior middle hitter Emily Maurer and 5-4 senior outside hitter Stephanie Hasbrouck. Hasbrouck suffered a season-ending injury last season.
Junior Casey Hayne will start at setter again this season, making her one of two returning starters with Maurer.
“She provides leadership,” Painter said. “She has a year of experience, that’s half your battle.”
North is off to an 0-2 start, with losses coming against Northview and Perry Meridian.
“Those two are tough games so that’s kind of a difficult way to start the season,” Painter said.
But there has been some bright spots. Multi-sport athlete (basketball, track) Lauren Todd, a 5-10 lefty that plays the right side, has played well.
“Look for her to do some things,” Painter said. “She’s been in on some big blocks so far already.”
Junior outside hitter Brittany Cuthbertson and libero Jenny Joy also bring some varsity experience to the table.
“Three kids that split time on JV last year, Todd, Joy and Cuthbertson, have some varsity experience and provided some stability and some offense. They’re still learning,” Painter said.
Newcomers to the team are junior middle Micahlyn Allen, junior setter/libero Rachel Boweres, junior outside Clara Doti, junior right-side hitter Kace Swofford, and sophomore middle Brittany Farmer. Farmer, one of the state’s top varsity tennis players, is getting the bulk of her playing time on junior varsity.
“She’s getting there,” Painter said. “She came in about middle of second game [against Northview] and she had a couple kills. She’s just a gamer. When it comes to game time, she’s ready to play. She didn’t start playing volleyball until eighth grade. The varsity experience she brings from tennis is a positive. I’ll get her some time on JV and some time on varsity.”
Painter hopes to spread the playing time to evaluate the most depth she’s had in recent years.
“Right now, I’m giving some time to everybody just to kind of see,” Painter said. “Ability wise, they’re all kind of close. We’re going to be a little bit deeper. That is something we’ll see in the next few weeks.”
North went winless in the MIC last season, something Painter thinks can change with the right mindset.
“You always hope to improve in that conference,” she said. “If we can go in and play well, there are teams that can be beat. You can’t assume your beat when you go in.”
n West Vigo — The Vikings are off to a 1-2 start, but Coach Rayetta Minton looks to see contniued improvement as the season progresses.
Junior Josey Holscher is the team’s captain, playing mostly at outside hitter.
“She’s just an all-around positive role model for the girls,” Minton said. “She’s kind of the glue to the team. She can play pretty much any position.”
Six-footer Amber Gardner “gives us some pretty good net play,” Minton added.
Setting up for those players, along with junior right side Sara Tidd and sophomore Chelsea Calderone, will be senior Carley Wallace.
“At setter you have to run the floor. She’s had to be our only setter for the last couple games,” Minton said. “She shares the captain’s position as well.”
Newcomers to the varsity are junior outside hitter Amanda Walters, junior setter Megan Jackson and freshman Gina Furrey, who broke the growth plate in her foot during practice and will miss four to six weeks.
“The girls are very hard working and willing to learn,” Minton said. “They’re stepping up to the plate, taking the challenge and doing a good job. Excellent teamwork, that’s the goal for the year.”
The Western Indiana Conference season is already underway for the Vikings, with losses coming at home Saturday against Brown County and Edgewood.
“Northview looks great,” Minton said. “Everybody’s pretty solid in our conference. Sullivan’s still gotta couple key players.”
n Northview — First-year Coach Ali Pinkston takes over the helm after a solid four-year career playing for DePauw.
Pinkston plans to stay in the coaching business by building upon her degree in communications and earning her teaching certificate.
The Knights have high expectations after a successful season in 2005 and most of the players are back in 2006. Northview is off to a 4-0 start thus far.
The Knights’ top player is 6-1 junior middle hitter Lottie King.
“She’s just a great volleyball player,” Pinkston said. “She’ll go Division I somewhere. She’s our go-to player anytime we need a ball put away.”
Kyler Clark will takeover libero duties for the first time.
“She’s raw talent in the back row,” Pinkston said. “She’s not real experienced bback there, but she’s very reliable thus far.”
Junior Lindsay Thomas is back as the Knights’ setter.
“She’s doing a great job. I’ve worked a lot with her about being more vocal. She’s the most solid, all-around player.”
Another junior Kaley Huffman has done well so far this year, Pinkston said.
“She’s yet to have a bad game,” she said. “Her defense is what really stands out. All the players are good.”
Seniors Briannne Arvin, an outside hitter, and Chelsea Mershon provide different attributes for the Knights.
“[Arvin’s] a very quiet player. I’m trying to work on her killer instinct. She has great jumping ability and she’s strong,” Pinkston said.
Mershon will be one of the first off the Knights’ bench.
“I like her energy and she always has a positive attitude. You can’t put a price on that for a team.”
Freshman outside hitter Brittaney Long will get an occasional start, Pinkston said.
“She just floors me sometimes with her confidence,” said the first-year coach. “Her defense is great, and she can put the ball away. She’s very, very developed for just getting out of middle school. She’s miles ahead of any other freshman.”
The starting right-side hitter is 5-8 Cari Laue.
“Her improvement throughout the summer was just huge,” Pinkston said. “I Didn’t look at her as a starter, but she is now. She’s very strong now. Worked hard to get into the lineup.”
Ashley Hull, a junior is the last starter and a “very powerful hitter,” Pinkston said.
The Knights have the talent, Pinkston said, but they need to put teams away.
“What has held them back in the past is that we don’t have a tough schedule, then we get into sectionals and we play the big schools. It’s hard for us to adjust our level of play because we’re not used to having to do that.
“What I’m really working on this year is their mentality of having a killer instinct. They all get along, they all have fun. I’m starting to see it more and more each game, especially in the Rockville game.”
Pinkston expects the Knights to win the conference and contend for a sectional crown.
“I think we’ll definitely stand out in our conference. The one team we’ll focus on is Sullivan. Erika Huff, who I used to coach [for a Crossroads of America team], that’s who we’ll target. They do have a good squad this year. Every conference game will be important to us.”
Sullivan won the conference title in 2005.
“Not gonna happen this year,” Pinkston said.
Northview opens conference play Thursday at Edgewood.
Around the Wabash Valley
Sullivan is led by junior Erika Huff, the Golden Arrows’ outside hitter and defensive specialist. Alyssa Chagnon is Sullivan’s setter. Other returnees for the defending Western Indiana Conference champs include middle hitter Kelly Bell, outside hitter Lacey Whitlock, libero Courtney Majors, middle hitter Mackenzie Simmons and junior outside hitter Jacquie Exline Coach Jennifer Murdock will have to add some young players to the mix…South Vermillion is off to a 4-2 start, including winning the South Putnam Invitational…Coming offa 17-5 season, Clay City’s first-year Coach Lu Anne Anderson has everybody back including senior middle hitters Ashley McCullough and Sarah Kennedy, senior setter Chelsee Gerber, liberos Emily Reed and Mardi Steiner. Newcomer Kelly McCullough will also make an impact for the Eels…Linton is coming off a 29-5 season. Cami Miller and Bri Ward are the Miners’ top returnees…Traditionally one of the top Class A teams in the Wabash Valley, Union will be without current Indiana State player Stacey Secrest, but Coach Tammy Meurer has returnees to lead the team in experienced senior outside hitters Kelsie Manuel and Ashlee Lovelace…First-year Coach Jacob Cummings has an inexperienced squad. The Ladybirds won just one match last year.
TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute South’s volleyball team is led by 6-foot-5 left-handed force Kristen Seaton, a senior who will ink her name to a national letter-of-intent to play for Pepperdine during the fall signing period.
- High School
Paris rally falls short in Super Sectional
When Petersburg (PORTA) finally showed it was possible to hit a free throw on the west end of the Illinois-Springfield gym Tuesday night — after 12 misses in a row — it spelled the end of a high school comeback by Paris that looked for awhile like it would be one for the ages.
“I thought we had ‘em,” Tiger coach Shawn Nugent said after the Class 2A Super Sectional game won by the Bluejays 58-49.
Paris seeking finals berth tonight
The Paris Tigers may be the underdogs again tonight when they play at the Class 2A Springfield Super Sectional, or they may be the favorites. What’s already clear as the Illinois boys basketball tournaments for the smaller schools enter their final week is that rankings and reputation don’t matter, particularly to the Tigers.
Class 2A girls: Rick Risinger coaches Heritage to fifth state title
Rick Risinger spoke this past week about defense being the key to securing a win against a talented Fort Wayne Canterbury girls basketball squad in the Class 2A state championship game.
Coach Risinger’s Heritage Christian squad rose to the occasion Saturday in Hulman Center, holding the Cavaliers to 33-percent shooting to claim the school’s fifth state title since joining the IHSAA in 2003.
The Eagles won their first title since 2009 by a score of 64-61.
Class A girls: Oregon-Davis holds off Vincennes Rivet
Oregon-Davis jumped out to a 15-2 lead when senior Alicia McIntosh drilled a 3-pointer in Saturday’s Class A state championship for girls high school basketball.
The Bobcats stretched that lead to as large as 17 before halftime, and still led by double figures with three minutes remaining.
Class 3A girls: Western over Evansville Mater Dei 38-35
Like Fort Wayne Canterbury in the Class 2A championship, two-time defending Class 2A champion Evansville Mater Dei found the going much more tough when moving up one class due to the IHSAA’s “Team Success Factor” legislation.
Mater Dei (26-2), which had an average margin of victory of 27 points throughout the season, struggled against Western’s 2-3 zone all night long in falling to the Panthers 38-35.
Class 4A girls: Bedford North Lawrence wins second straight title
Damon Bailey guided Bedford North Lawrence to a second straight state championship in his first year as head coach.
Bailey, an assistant on the Stars’ unbeaten Class 4A champions in 2013, watched his team hold off a scrappy Penn squad for a 51-41 victory Saturday night.
Central Catholic rallies to defeat Rockville
It was an old story in a new location Saturday for the boys basketball team from Lafayette Central Catholic High School.
Clay City wins third straight sectional
Clay City, the two-time defending champion of the IHSAA Class A Sectional No. 57, took the floor at White River Valley High School with a chip on its shoulder Saturday night.
Linton pulls away late to win at North Knox
Defending smartly and playing the offensive tempo like a finely tuned violin, Linton’s Miners dominated the fourth quarter of a previously air-tight high school basketball game to defeat South Knox 57-45 and repeat as Class 2A Sectional 47 champions.
Damon Bailey among coaches directing daughters at Hulman Center on Saturday
Father-daughter bonding was among the themes Saturday at Hulman Center as Terre Haute played host to the IHSAA girls basketball state finals for a third straight year.
Class 4A title favorite Bedford North Lawrence looked to repeat as champions late Saturday night. Former BNL state champion and Indiana Hoosier great Damon Bailey led his Stars into the game with a pair of daughters on the court. Junior Alexa Bailey, wearing No. 22 of course, is a Butler recruit and sophomore Loren is a reserve for the Stars.
Owen Valley, Edgewood in sectional final again
Things haven’t changed that much in the Class 3A boys basketball sectional. Northview was in the field for the first time and hosted the semifinals Friday night. But for the second year in a row, Edgewood and Owen Valley will play for the Sectional 28 championship tonight.
Temples’ 3-pointers help Paris advance
The prudent thing would have been to pull the basketball out, wait for an opponent to foul and run as much clock as possible in the final minute of the Illinois Class 2A Westville Sectional on Friday night. Audie Temples was thinking dagger.
Ailing Wilkey helps Rockville advance to title game
For part of Friday, doubt existed about whether flu-stricken Rockville standout Keiontre’ Wilkey would be able to play in the first semifinal game of the Class A North Vermillion Sectional for boys basketball. The junior guard gutted it out, however, and tallied 17 points to help lead the Rox over the host high school 61-53. That sent them into tonight’s sectional championship game against No. 7-ranked Lafayette Central Catholic.
Preps: Late free throws help Linton beat North Knox
Linton hit 4 of 5 free throws in the final minute and hung on to defeat streaking North Knox 47-46 in the semifinals of the Class 2A North Knox Sectional for boys high school basketball.
Former Terre Haute resident Rick Risinger looking for fifth state title in Hulman Center
An accomplished group of girls basketball coaches will make their way into Hulman Center on Saturday for the IHSAA state finals.
Damon Bailey, 1990 Mr. Basketball for state champion Bedford North Lawrence and former Indiana University great, is the most familiar name to Hoosier basketball fanatics. In his first year as a girls varsity coach, Bailey leads BNL into action in the 4A state championship game.
With 590 career wins, Fort Wayne Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger is already a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Behind senior Miss Basketball candidate Maura Muensterman, Steve Goans leads Evansville Mater Dei into the Class 3A title game on the heels of consecutive 2A titles.
No answer: Spears scores 30 as Martinsvlle ends TH South’s season
Terre Haute South ran into a championship performance Wednesday night in Game 2 of the Class 4A Avon Sectional for boys high school basketball. Martinsville’s Troy Spears scored 30 points while leading the Artesians to a 65-44 victory that ended South’s season.
North falls to No. 5 Brownsburg in Class 4A Avon Sectional
Terre Haute North did not bow out of the boys high school basketball tournament Tuesday night like a team on a seven-game losing streak.
The Patriots executed their gameplan, battled back from a double-digit deficit and forced Class 4A No. 5-ranked Brownsburg to hit free throws to win the opener of the Class 4A Avon Sectional.
Brownsburg (19-2) hit six straight free throws in the final 1 minute, 15 seconds to hold off the Patriots 51-47.
Two sets of Eels win at WRV Sectional
There’ll be no Cinderella story in Dugger to end this boys high school basketball season, and a spirited upset bid also fell short Tuesday night at the Class A White River Valley Sectional.
Defensive pressure and depth made the difference in both games, as Eminence ended the Union season — perhaps its last, at least as a public school — by a 59-46 score and Clay City pulled away in the second half for a 53-44 win over Shakamak.
Paris knocks off 23-2 Clinton Central in overtime sectional thriller
Paris’ boys basketball team has learned a lot in a late-season run of success, but the one thing that set the Tigers apart on Tuesday in Class 2A Westville Sectional semifinal game was composure.
The Tigers never got rattled, never flinched and got the ultimate reward.
BOYS SECTIONAL ROUNDUP: Linton holds off Sullivan at North Knox
Linton and Eastern posted victories in the opening round of the North Knox Class 2A Sectional on Tuesday.
Linton led most of the way to defeat Sullivan 51-43 in the first game. Eastern Greene bested North Central 62-42 in the nightcap.
Linton is 16-6 and will take on North Knox and Eastern Greene faces South Knox in the semifinals on Friday. North Knox takes an 11-game winning streak into the action.
Tough roads ahead: Terre Haute North faces big challenges in its sectional
With the hope that the obligatory snow is already on the ground, high school boys basketball sectionals begin today in Indiana, and for one Wabash Valley team in Illinois.
South swimmers fall short of lofty goals at state finals
Sometimes the journey is more rewarding than the destination.
That would best describe Terre Haute South’s performances Saturday in the 77th annual IHSAA boys swimming and diving state championships at the IU Natatorium.
Center Grove deals Terre Haute North 7th loss in row
Terre Haute North and Center Grove – two teams that haven’t won much lately – struggled to put the finishing touch against the other on Friday at North.
Prep roundup: Casey falls at Robinson Regional; Paris posts upset win at home
Teutopolis finished strong Friday night to defeat Casey 47-36 and win the Robinson Class 2A Regional for boys basketball teams.
Casey, Paris to play in regional title games
Championships of Illinois regional boys high school basketball tournaments will be decided tonight.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Bringing you the Amey Teams for girls basketball
Our Wabash Valley teams won’t be represented when the Indiana girls state basketball finals return again to Hulman Center on March 8 (even though the Class 4A title will probably be decided this weekend when Lawrence North plays Bedford North Lawrence in a semistate game).
I wish some of our girls teams had been able to play longer for a purely selfish reason: that might have given me an opportunity to see one or two of their games.
South boys fall to Southport, finish regular season 8-14
Terre Haute South got an up-close look Thursday night at what a Conference Indiana championship boys basketball team looks like. And Southport is big and quick.
Southport, led by 6-foot-10 sophomore Joey Brunk and junior guard Malik Bennett overpowered South’s Braves 61-49 at Southport Fieldhouse. Brunk had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Bennett scored 21 points.
VIDEO: Wilhelm leads South swimmers into state finals
Christian Wilhelm plans to compete in the distance freestyle when he gets to the University of Illinois-Chicago’s downtown campus.
Wilhelm emerged as a state qualifier in the 500-yard freestyle and 200 freestyle as a junior for Terre Haute South. But his senior season took a different turn and he’s hoping to make a big splash in a new event.
Casey advances to regional title game
Casey will be in the championship game of the Class 2A Robinson Regional for boys high school basketball teams Friday night. The Warriors gained their spot in the title tilt with a 55-42 victory over Marshall on Wednesday.
Cloverdale joins Pizza Hut Classic field
The Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic has a new team, but the newcomer for the 2014 tournament is led by a familiar name to Terre Haute basketball. Pat Rady’s Cloverdale Clovers, currently 19-1 this season, will join the field as a likely contender.
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- Paris rally falls short in Super Sectional