Eastern Hancock

Head coach: Tom Huff

2016 finish: Eastern Hancock finished in fourth at the Hancock County meet and lost to Greenfield-Central in the semifinal round of the Mt. Vernon Sectional.

Key losses: Emiley Carlton, Channing Bearhope, Lexi McMahan, Olivia Scott

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Key returnees: Erin McKeeman (12), Kayla Huff (11), Taylor Kline (10), Cassandra Hannemann (10)

Newcomers: Valentina Brooks (9), Chelsi McMahan (9), Madison Hagan (9)

Quotable: “Erin McKeeman is our only senior back. This year we do have three freshmen that came up and are on varsity this year. Freshman Chelsi McMahan is going to be our No. 1 singles player this year, and Kayla Huff, a junior, is going to be No. 2. (Huff) helped me out this summer at some camps and worked during the offseason. I knew I had some pretty good talent moving up with the freshman, we are hoping to improve on last year. I am excited for the season and to get more wins this year. I told the girls, about midway through the season we will have some challenge matches. Basically each day we just need to stay focused and be aggressive out there on the court. We have been working on our serving, return serves and volleys at the net. If we know all that, we are going to be a decent team.”

-Tom Huff

New Palestine

Head coach: Des Evans

2016 finish: New Palestine finished in third at the Hancock County meet just behind Greenfield-Central, which took second, and lost to Mt. Vernon in its first-round sectional match.

Key losses: Lauren Hardebeck

Key returnees: Amelia Fleetwood (12), Katie Settergren (12), Cassie Willhelm (12), Lexi Miller (12), Ivey Simmons (11), Jose King (10)

Newcomers: Lauren Didelot (9)

Quotable: Not available

Mt. Vernon

Head coach: Gabe Muterspaugh

2016 finish: Mt. Vernon, ranked No. 28 last season, defeated Greenfield-Central 5-0 to win their third straight sectional championship and sixth in eight years. The Marauders also won their third consecutive Hancock County title. Mt. Vernon eventually lost to Lawrence North in the first round of the North Central Regional, 3-2.

Key losses: Cassie York, Bri Partin

Key returnees: Emily Annakin (12), Maeve McCafferty (12), Alana Nelson (11), Olivia Spicer (11), Sophie Williams (11), Maeve Laughlin (10)

Newcomers: Kayleigh Helm (10)

Quotable: “We have extremely high expectations this year at Mt. Vernon. We have a lot coming back. Right now we are starting out ranked No. 3 in District 4. Alaina Nelson, a junior, is moving from No. 2 to No. 1 singles. She had gotten taller, faster and stronger and was named honorable mention all-state last year. Olivia Spicer, which I say is kind of our No. 1-B, is also a junior. She put in a ton of time in the offseason. She is right there, talent wise, with Alaina. At No. 3 singles, it is a little different this year. Kayleigh Helm played No. 1 singles on the junior varsity last year. We kind of have a natural progression into our lineups. Kayleigh also put in a ton of time, I mean these girls work all year. It helps because we can get into strategy and less (mechanics) work. One thing I’ve always tried to have our teams have is strong doubles play. Emily Anakin has been honorable mention all-state with her partners the last two years at No. 1 doubles. She will play with Maeve Laughlin, a sophomore, who is the third member of the Laughlin family I have had. She is going to progress throughout the year. Sophie Williams and Maeve McCafferty are back and played No. 2 doubles last year. They went 20-2 last year. We have a lot of spark and a lot of experience.”

-Gabe Muterspaugh

Greenfield-Central

Head coach: Michael Turpin

2016 finish: Greenfield-Central finished in second behind Mt. Vernon at the Hancock County meet and topped Eastern Hancock 4-1 in the semifinal of the Mt. Vernon Sectional before losing to the host Marauders in the championship match.

Key losses: Kate Henderson, Emma Vail, Sara Hudson

Key returnees: Lindsey McCord (11), Haidyn Goodwin (11), Kaleigh Stephenson (10), Erin Wright (10), Aly Proper (10)

Newcomers: Avery Spencer (9), Grace Hall (9)

Quotable: “We only had eight players last season, so it was more of where would we be at the beginning of the season. I knew we had five girls returning, and the good thing is they all have varsity experience. I am pretty excited actually, because we have 11 new girls out. Some of them are freshman, and this isn’t their first time playing. We doubled our size. Some are trying it for the first time. It was a good surprise. We have Lindsey McCord coming back at No. 1 singles. She has more of an idea of what she is going to see and what to expect this year. Aly Proper, Erin Wright and Kaleigh Stephenson all played doubles last season. They will again this year. It was really good for them to get experience last year, but Lindsey and Haidyn Goodwin are really my seasoned varsity players. Haidyn is going to try singles this year. Avery Spencer, a freshman, managed the boys team, and I know she has been around the game and she played all in junior high. Grace Hall, another freshman, played in junior high too and will be up there (varsity). The good thing is we are setting two year goals. We will have everyone back next year. The thing that is going to help us get better is just playing. We need to make sure we are ready to play a full three sets. “

-Michael Turpin

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Kris Mills is a sports reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3230 or kmills@greenfieldreporter.com.