Madison Hammill played her first high school volleyball match burdened with expectations normally reserved for a two- or three-year varsity veteran.
Her Center Grove teammate, Anna Line, can relate.
Both freshmen have spent 21 matches experiencing what it’s like to be younger sisters to two of the program’s best players in recent memory.
Hammill’s lone sibling, Taylor, was a four-year starting setter for the Trojans who accounted for 4,009 career assists. Taylor Hammill now plays as a freshman at Auburn University.
Illinois State University sophomore middle blocker Ali Line, Anna’s sister, chalked up 1,039 career kills at Center Grove. A 2015 graduate, Line was the Daily Journal’s Player of the Year after recording 426 kills and 90 blocks as a senior.
Pleasantly absent are even the slightest traces of jealousy or a need to live up to what their older sisters accomplished.
Madison Hammill, a 5-foot-11 setter already verbally committed to play volleyball at the University of Wisconsin starting the fall of 2020, is Taylor’s most ardent fan — and vice versa.
The same supportive dynamic exists with Anna Line, a 5-10 outside hitter, and Ali, whether phone calls, FaceTime or text messages.
“Growing up, I was always like, ‘I want to be her,’” said Anna, the youngest of the four Line children. “She’s just amazing, and is really who I look up to.”
Madison Hammill is already an inch taller than her big sis.
Playing the same position allows the Hammills, daughters of former Whiteland High School and Clemson University middle blocker Julie (Marx) Hammill, an abundance of common ground.
“I definitely found a lot of my competitiveness from Taylor. I would not be where I am without her, and I definitely look up to her,” Madison said. ”I really like it because I got to see what she did. It holds me to a higher standard, and gives me another reason to work even harder.
“But I think we’re different in the aspects off the court. I’m a little more outspoken. On the court we’re pretty much the same, with her talent being stronger and better.”
Madison Hammill and Anna Line have been on sports teams together since they were 7 years old.
Line, who has also played basketball and softball, didn’t begin gravitating toward volleyball until she was 12; Hammill played as many as four sports and was also involved in dance.
“It started out with every sport imaginable. As I got older and the game got more competitive, (volleyball) became my love,” Hammill said.
Trojans coach Maggie Harbison knew long before the season’s first service ace she would be working with a very young varsity roster — 11 of Center Grove’s 12 players are underclassmen.
Defensive specialist Ashley Eck (173 digs) and middle blocker Calista Stafford (37 kills, 18 blocks) are two more freshmen who have helped lead Center Grove to a 13-7 record.
The fact Hammill and Line are making such significant contributions so early in their high school volleyball careers doesn’t surprise those close to the program.
“Madison grew up around here, running around when her mom (Julie) coached with (former Trojans coach) Deb McClurg,” Harbison said. “I knew I was definitely going to need a setter. And I knew I was going to need a wing hitter.
“They both understand what it entails to be a varsity athlete.”
Position: Outside hitter