By Andy Amey
TERRE HAUTE — This column could very well be marked with a giant asterisk this week.
It involves high school sports statistics reported to the site that supplies the Indiana High School Athletic Association, and those stats are only as good as the percentage of coaches who report theirs.
I still remember seeing a story on the Associated Press wire 13 years ago about an Indiana high softball player who had set the career record for home runs. It was a nice story, except that I knew this girl’s career record was fewer home runs than Northview’s Jaymie Cowell had hit that season. Jaymie and Laura Hayes and Kelsey White and Jenny Calandrilla and Cari Cook and Bethany Buell and Talitha Bailey and Ramey Parkey and Jamie Pell and their teammates went on to the 1995 state championship game, but I don’t think Jaymie’s homers ever made the IHSAA stats.
So take the stats that follow with as many grains of salt as you’d like. The numbers should be good, but the rankings depend on who is reporting and who is not.
But as most of the Indiana high school volleyball sectionals begin today, there could be two state leaders from the Wabash Valley.
I haven’t seen Cloverdale play this season, so I don’t know if there’s a more prolific blocker in the state than Elizabeth Cheatham of the Clovers, who was averaging more than three per game (that’s 15 for a five-game match).
I’ve seen the other leader play, however, so I’m not surprised Penny Fiock of Riverton Parke is the state leader — and by a pretty good margin — in digs, with 9.68 per game (48 for a five-game match, in other words).
Penny’s a libero who’s pretty good at what she does. But I’ve mentioned earlier this season — in conjunction with Riverton Parke, coincidentally enough — that having a lot of digs is a mixed blessing: it means your team is playing defense well, but it also means your opponent is hitting an awful lot of balls back at you. Both those things are true of the Panthers, who would have played some low-scoring matches back in the day — many, many years ago — when there was a clock in volleyball. Long rallies, for them, are the rule rather than the exception.
Ranked among the state’s kill leaders are Beth Mahurin of Rockville, Megan Barnes of Linton and Brittaney Long of Northview, while Northview’s Alyssa Clarke and Mahurin are other players who appear in the blocking statistics.
Other top diggers are Ashlen Buck and Kaylee Clark of the Knights, Sheldan Falls and Megan Vincent of the Panthers, Kristin McCammon and Allie Franklin of the Clovers and Liz Overpeck and Laura Payne of the Rox. Payne and Long are among the state leaders in service aces, as is Rockville’s Lindsey Greene.
Sullivan’s Lauren Adams is the highest ranked setter from the Valley in the assists list, which also includes Courtney Eldridge of Rockville, Bradlea Beard of Linton and Hannah Hayes of Northview. And Mooresville, Terre Haute North’s opponent today, has a number of statistical appearances on the list, notably Meagan Callaway in kills and blocks and Mackenzie Wiser in digs.
But, like I said, you’ll notice some pretty good teams aren’t represented.
• • •
• Volleyball officials — Working the tournaments this week from the Wabash Valley Officials Association are Dodie Collins at Indianapolis Broad Ripple, Don Guy at Columbus North, Mike Stoffers at North Montgomery, Matt Knezevich at Roncalli, Steve Morris at Greencastle, Mark Talpas at Bloomfield, Sara Morris and Joe Reed at Covenant Christian, Larry Higgins at Covington, Rhonda Coombs at White River Valley, George Knezevich at Indianapolis Lutheran and Terry Tackett at Loogootee.
• Info — I got a little tired of Ryan watching Fox Sports Cardinals during the summer months, but lately I’ve gotten some use out of Channel 22 on the Clinton cable.
I saw a pretty interesting St. Louis Blues game last week, and also watched a little bit of University of Missouri volleyball. The Tigers’ coach is someone you older folks may remember hating to see in a Drake basketball uniform: Wayne Kreklow, Special K himself.
• Burger news — I’m not optimistic about an influx of In-N-Out Burger, but I can tell you that two Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchises are opening soon in the Chicago area.
The Chicago Tribune noted that the two franchises had been compared to one another; nice to know they’re reading this column.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.