Last fall, volleyball season in Johnson County ended somewhat abruptly with regional defeats for Center Grove and Greenwood Christian.

Local squads are planning to extend the calendar a bit this time around.

Both the Trojans and Cougars have their sights set on state championships as the postseason gets underway, though both have taken some unexpected losses late in the regular season.

Greenwood Christian was swept by both Hauser and Trinity Lutheran last weekend in a tournament at Edinburgh, though the Cougars were missing one of their top hitters in senior Sierra Gilson.

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Coach Kayla Back is confident that her team will be firing on all cylinders again come Saturday.

“I think we got knocked off our pedestal a little bit, but that’s not a bad thing,” she said. “I think we’ll come in recharged and refocused and ready to go this week.”

Center Grove has dropped three of six since winning the Johnson County tournament, but it has been playing without sophomore setter Madison Hammill, who has been sidelined by an ankle sprain.

Hammill’s status is up in the air at the moment; she hasn’t played since sustaining the injury on the eve of the Johnson County tournament late last month. Given that the Trojans swept Franklin in that tourney final without her, it’s reasonable to think that they can win a sectional with freshman Jenna Otto playing setter. But losses since against Noblesville, Hamilton Southeastern and Yorktown suggest that advancing past the regional — which likely would include second-ranked Providence — would be a stretch if Hammill isn’t back and at least close to full strength.

If she is, the Trojans are capable of beating anyone, as evidenced by wins over top-10 squads Avon, New Castle and Penn earlier this season. Will they be healthy enough by the time it matters?

The Cougars and Trojans aren’t the only local teams harboring realistic dreams of postseason hardware.

Indian Creek has made a leap forward under first-year coach Jeff Fishburn, doubling its win total from 12 to a program-record 24. The Braves also host a sectional this week and feel good about their chances to emerge victorious.

“It’s the first time in a long time for our program to at least feel like we’ve got a chance to make a run at this,” Fishburn said. “I’m excited about our opportunity. Danville’s probably the favorite; if we have a good week of practice we can definitely compete. But we’ve got to play Tri-West first, and they’re going to have revenge on their minds.”

Indian Creek won at Tri-West in August, 25-20, 25-11, 25-15. Can they do the same on their home floor and earn a title shot?

By the end of the week, we’ll know.

If you go

Class 4A Martinsville Sectional

Today

Franklin vs. Martinsville, 6 p.m.

Whiteland vs. Greenwood, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Today’s winners, 11 a.m.

Center Grove vs. Franklin Central, 12:30 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 3A Indian Creek Sectional

Today

Danville vs. Beech Grove, 6 p.m.

Indianapolis Manual vs. Indianapolis Herron, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Today’s winners, 11 a.m.

Indian Creek vs. Tri-West, 12:30 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.

Class A Edinburgh Sectional

Today

Shawe Memorial vs. Medora, 6 p.m.

West Washington vs. Crothersville, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Today’s winners, 11 a.m.

Edinburgh vs. Trinity Lutheran, 12:30 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.

Class A Morristown Sectional

Today

Christel House vs. Indianapolis Lutheran, 6 p.m.

Morristown vs. Providence Cristo Rey, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Central Christian vs. Greenwood Christian, 11 a.m.

Today’s winners, 12:30 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.

Sizing up the competition

A quick glance at what awaits Johnson County’s volleyball teams this week:

Class 4A Martinsville Sectional

Teams competing: Center Grove, Franklin, Greenwood, Whiteland, Franklin Central, Martinsville

Favorite: Center Grove

Watch out for: Franklin

Players to watch: Center Grove — Madison Hammill, Emma Jones, Ellen LeMasters, Devynn Merriman; Franklin — Isabell Mahin, Brooke Phillips, Alyvia Sundheimer; Greenwood — Megan Johns, Alyssa Stilley; Whiteland — Toni Joyner; Franklin Central — Jenna Riley; Martinsville — Madison Martin

Outlook: Even if Hammill’s recent ankle injury limits her effectiveness or keeps her on the sideline, the Trojans remain an overwhelming favorite. Franklin is the only other top-100 team in the field, and the Grizzly Cubs haven’t yet found a way to foil their longtime nemesis. They’ll likely get one more chance in Saturday’s final; can they spring the upset?

Class 3A Indian Creek Sectional

Teams competing: Indian Creek, Beech Grove, Danville, Indianapolis Herron, Indianapolis Manual, Tri-West Hendricks

Favorite: Danville

Watch out for: Tri-West, Indian Creek

Players to watch: Indian Creek — Malea Brownfield, Taylor Burkett, Madison Simmons, Tori Travers; Danville — Kyara Black, Claudia Ellis, Jessie McDugle; Tri-West — Molly Gibbs, Josie McClara

Outlook: The IndianaPrepVolleyball.com computer ratings consider the Braves a slight semifinal underdog against Tri-West, but Indian Creek swept the Bruins early in the season. Danville comes in hot and is certainly the team to beat, but the Braves would have home-court advantage in a possible title showdown.

Class A Edinburgh Sectional

Teams competing: Edinburgh, Crothersville, Medora, Shawe Memorial, Trinity Lutheran, West Washington

Favorite: Trinity Lutheran

Watch out for: Edinburgh

Players to watch: Edinburgh — Haley Jones, Sophia Parmer, Taylor Tatlock, Trinity Tatlock; Trinity Lutheran — Courtney Barker, Ashley Goecker, Hannah Sabotin

Outlook: The Lancers drew a first-round bye but face the favored Cougars right away. The winner of that match will almost certainly advance to the regional, since none of the four teams on the top half of the bracket are ranked in the state’s top 200. Taylor Tatlock and Sabotin lead their respective teams in kills by a wide margin.

Class A Morristown Sectional

Teams competing: Greenwood Christian, Central Christian, Christel House Academy, Indianapolis Lighthouse South, Indianapolis Lutheran, Morristown, Providence Cristo Rey

Favorite: Greenwood Christian

Watch out for: Indianapolis Lutheran

Players to watch: GCA — Sierra Gilson, Lexi Odgers, Grace Peters, Izzy Reed; Indianapolis Lutheran — Rylee Morris, Erin Pasch, Kristen Simons; Morristown — Raegan Butcher, Alayna Munson, Patience Wood

Outlook: Though it hasn’t played as tough a schedule as Lutheran has overall, GCA was unbeaten against Class A and 2A teams until it dropped a pair without Gilson last weekend, and the Cougars threw a scare into a tough Franklin team before falling in five sets at the county tournament. GCA is confident that it can compete for a state title, and it should be able to clear this first hurdle without much difficulty.

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.