When the Center Grove volleyball team needed a big point, chances are the ball was heading Ellen LeMasters’ way.

The 5-foot-11 senior had shared that crunch-time workload with Macy Carrabine a year ago, but there was no sharing this season.

LeMasters, who had 492 kills for the county, conference and sectional champion Trojans, is the Daily Journal’s Player of the Year.

“Ellen carried a lot of weight on her shoulders hitting and passing for us, but she wanted that responsibility,” Center Grove coach Maggie Harbison said. “She likes that, and I think she rose to the occasion every time we needed that.”

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Though she was the most lethal hitter in the area, that was far from all that LeMasters brought to the table. She excelled everywhere on the floor, totaling 234 digs, 112 blocks and 30 service aces. Harbison said that LeMasters’ passing and ball control often was overlooked but was critical to the team’s success.

“I love being able to play back row, because I love defense just as much as I love hitting and offense,” LeMasters said. “Wherever (Harbison) needed me, I felt confident saying, ‘Okay, put me there; I’ll do that.’ I felt like she could rely on me for being that type of versatile person.”

LeMasters played both front and back row her final two seasons and finished her high school career with 1,236 kills, 505 digs, 246 blocks and 80 aces.

That versatility will come in handy next season when LeMasters suits up for SIU-Edwardsville, a Division I program competing in the Ohio Valley Conference. She’s eager to take her considerable talents to the next level, but she enjoyed the four years she spent playing for a powerful Trojan program that spent almost all of this season ranked among the state’s top 10 teams.

“They were my family,” LeMasters said. “I’m proud of all that we accomplished.”


Ellen LeMasters by the numbers this season:





Led Center Grove to county, conference and sectional championships

All-County team

The 2017 All-Johnson County team for volleyball:

Taylor Burkett, Indian Creek junior: Led the Braves with 310 kills and 136 blocks while adding 55 aces and 80 digs. … All-WIC pick who helped Indian Creek win school-record 25 matches.

Madison Hammill, Center Grove sophomore: Dished out 867 assists and collected 172 kills, 122 blocks, 226 digs and 33 aces. … Earned All-MIC distinction.

Emma Jones, Center Grove senior: All-MIC selection had a team-high 252 blocks and added 287 kills for sectional champion Trojans. … Will play at the University of Indianapolis next year.

Ellen LeMasters, Center Grove senior: Led area with 492 kills and also totaled 234 digs, 112 blocks and 30 aces. … All-MIC choice will continue playing career at SIU-Edwardsville.

Devynn Merriman, Center Grove senior: Indiana State recruit led the sectional champion Trojans with 528 digs and 60 service aces, adding 101 assists. … Earned All-MIC honors.

Brooke Phillips, Franklin junior: Setter totaled 688 assists, 178 kills, 199 digs, 47 blocks and 38 aces for the Grizzly Cubs while earning All-Mid-State Conference honors.

Alyvia Sundheimer, Franklin senior: All-conference selection led Grizzly Cubs with 283 kills, 73 blocks and 43 service aces while also pulling up 75 digs.

Honorable mention

Malea Brownfield, Indian Creek; Ashley Eck, Center Grove; Sierra Gilson, GCA; Tabby Holzhausen, Whiteland; Megan Johns, Greenwood; Toni Joyner, Whiteland; Anna Line, Center Grove; Isabell Mahin, Franklin; Aubrey Odgers, GCA; Lexi Odgers, GCA; Sophia Parmer, Edinburgh; Brooklyn Peddycord, Franklin; Grace Peters, GCA; Madison Simmons, Indian Creek; Taylor Tatlock, Edinburgh; Rhyan Walden, Whiteland

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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.