Coach: Kim Wildman, 2nd season
2013: 23-11, 1-5 Hoosier Heritage Conference. Hancock County Tournament champions. Lost to Yorktown in 4A Sectional 9 semifinal.
Key Players (with grade/position):
Outlook: The Cougars return three All-Hancock County Players from a 23-win 2013 squad, and the spikers might very well be even better than last year. The improvement, however, might not show up in the win-loss total. In order to compete in one of the state’s toughest conferences and one of the most difficult Class 4A sectionals, G-C second-year coach Kim Wildman beefed up the regular season schedule. Gone is the year-end Union County tourney and a tourney at West Lafayette. In their place: regular season tilts against Westfield and Southport and a tournament in New Albany. “I didn’t feel being in a 2A tournament at the end of the season was going to benefit us going into tournament time,” said Wildman whose team’s sectional includes perennial state powers Yorktown and New Castle. “And Westfield is always a top 10 school in 4A. I did this in hopes of making us more mentally tough for the tough competition we will see in conference and in sectionals. I am not a coach that believes that a team going undefeated or winning a ton of matches is necessarily the best. I would rather be tested during the course of the season.” New Castle, Yorktown and traditionally tough Delta also belong to G-C’s Hoosier Heritage Conference. … Senior Jordan Bunch, junior Rachel Irbe and sophomore Maddie Wise are the Cougars’ returning all-county honorees. Also back is senior Caitey Sosnowski, an all-county honorable mention. Irbe, an outside hitter, was the Daily Reporter’s Player of the Year. … Sophomore Courtney Marchello has settled into the team’s setter spot. … “If we can learn to play small, tough defense and be able to pass well, we will do okay,” Wildman said. … Wildman is one victory away from career win No. 200. Entering her second season at G-C, Wildman previously coached eight years at Indianapolis Ritter. In Wildman’s final season at Ritter, the club advanced to the Class 2A final four. “For me personally, it is a time to reflect on all the players that have got me to this point,” said Wildman of the approaching milestone. “When I took over at Ritter it wasn’t a strong volleyball school. Each of my first six seasons there our record improved. I am very proud to still have many of them a part of my life that I communicate with and keep in touch.”
First serve: The Cougars visit Westfield Wednesday.