What does that mean for 2014?
Central won its first sectional crown in 40 years and first-ever regional last fall, then said goodbye to a seven seniors. The newcomers to the lineup are talented, but largely untested at the varsity level.
"We are going to be a lot more competitive than other people think we are going to be," says Blue Blazers coach Yolanda Stahl. "We will surprise a few people."
Callie Patrick takes over as head coach at Fairfield, where former coach Carla Herschberger won many conference, sectional, regional and semistate titles while amassing 387 victories in 16 seasons. The 2014 Falcons return six letterwinners.
Penn coach Sarah Hendricks says she is seeing improvement on a daily basis for all three of her Kingsmen squads — varsity, junior varsity and freshmen.
"We've definitely got the talent," says Hendricks, who has 99 wins in her three seasons at Bittersweet Road. "The big thing is team chemistry and getting some experience. If we get some experience, we can be successful.
"I see progress everyday. All three of the teams are going to be real good. We're going to be able to run a lot of plays we've never been able to run before."
Coach Jodie Steele's Northridge 2013 team lost just one match in the Northern Lakes Conference (to champion Memorial) and lost a four-gamer to Central in the sectional semifinals. The 2014 Raiders welcome back four letterwinners.
Westview won a sectional crown and went 9-1 in Northeast Corner Conference play for coach Heidi Brohm in 2013. The 2014 Warriors have five letterwinners from that squad.
Memorial coach Jacquie Rost, who earned her 500th career coaching victory and another Northern Lakes Conference crown in 2013, welcomes back six letterwinners.
"We have a good core group of players coming back,“ says Rost. ”It’s been a good preseason. We’ve been very intense and gritty in the gym.
"We have a really tough schedule (including the Carmel Invitational) and really don’t have a Saturday off. We have to play the best to be the best.“
Kelly Hale, in her first season as head coach at her alma mater, has high hopes at Concord. Her seniors were 25-1 a few years ago when Hale was the junior varsity coach for the Minutemen. She spent the past two seasons as a Goshen College assistant.
"I'm expecting us to do pretty well," says Hale. "We have a lot of potential. We have a lot of them playing travel volleyball. We are very excited that sectional is going to be at our gym this year.
"Our six seniors all work together really well. They will all serve very big roles."
Bill Stose takes over as head coach at Jimtown while 2013 head coach Erica Dregits is now an assistant. The 2014 Jimmies feature five returning letterwinners.
2014 VOLLEYBALL PREVIEW
Coach: Lois Stoltzfus-Mast (159-167 in 11 seasons).
Assistants: Cindy Hawkins, Jes Buller.
2013 record: 15-14.
Returning letterwinners (4): Seniors — Erin Bontrager, Mallory Bontreger, Jordan Helmuth. Junior — Abbi Hawkins.
Others: Senior — Marisa Marquez. Juniors — Darienne Maust, Isabella Rondo, Gianella Salas. Sophomores — Tessa Clark, Sophie Miller.
Opener: Aug. 19 at. Jimtown.
Coach: Kelly Hale (first season).
Assistants: Jen Thursby, Morgan Miller, Jason Ramsey, Kristy Turner, Taryn Shank.
2013 record: 21-12 (4-3 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (7): Seniors — Ciana Bonfiglio, Holyn Eldridge, Mackenzie Granitz, Gabby Staggs. Juniors — Nicky Chupp, Francesca Rodino. Sophomore — Tylar Roberson.
Others: Seniors — Jade Iavagnilio, Lillie Schiavone. Juniors — Makenna Bierbaum, Megan Cline, Elissa Doles, Karmin Henley.
Opener: Aug. 19 vs. Mishawaka.
Coach: Yolanda Stahl (100-30 in four seasons).
Assistants: Amy Garretson, Katelin Broughton.
2013 record: 30-4 (6-2 in Northern Indiana Conference; sectional, regional champions).
Returning letterwinners (7): Seniors — Staysha Asoera, Cleo Cochrane, Carson McAfee, Maddie Price, Christi Yoder. Juniors — Ashleigh Buitendorp, Annie Hunsberger.
Others: Junior — Merissa McAfee. Sophomores — Rachel Cook, Emily Decker.
Opener: Aug. 20 in SB Washington Pre-Season Tournament.
Coach: Richelle Viront (11-29 in two seasons).
Assistants: Cindy Skaggs, Stephanie Musser, Abbey Adkinson.
2013 record: 4-17.
Returning letterwinners (5): Seniors — Brieanna Linton, Emma Nolan. Juniors — Christa Knapp, Maggie Watson, Hannah Wyngarden.
Others: Seniors — Sarah Bennett, Sarah Young. Sophomore — Emme Overmyer. Freshman — Tiffany Crawford.
Opener: Aug. 19 at LaVille.
Coach: Jacquie Rost (495-129 in 18 seasons).
Assistants: John Himschoot, Adrienne Freiburger, Lisa Baker, Sarah Snyder, Lindsay Bowerman, Allison Fites.
2013 record: 23-12 (7-0 in Northern Lakes Conference; NLC champions).
Returning letterwinners (6): Seniors — Jill Brown, Tori Mills, Tailor Schultheis, Claire Welter. Juniors — Darrian Mowery, Kaylin Szucs.
Others: Juniors — Bailey Brouwer, Kayona Malone, Autumn Taylor, Alexis Wilson. Sophomore — Krystal Grubb.
Opener: Aug. 19 at Westview.
Coach: Callie Patrick (first season).
Assistants: Cara DuBois, Rainbow McGregor.
2013 record: 29-8 (9-1 in Northeast Corner Conference; NECC tournament and overall, sectional champions).
Returning letterwinners (6): Seniors — Haley Lockwood, Kelsey Schiffi, Lauren Streit. Juniors — Andrea Hagar, Lairen Miller, Hannah Siegel.
Others: Juniors — Tarin Cosby, Riley Miller. Sophomores — Makayla Bell, Samantha Shank.
Opener: Aug. 19 at Fremont.
Coach: Kelsey West (9-24 in one season).
Assistants: Jude Barger, Nicole Robison, Steph Cook, Nate West.
2013 record: 9-24 (1-6 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (10): Seniors — Natalie Evans, Amy Harris, Brooke Miller, Macie Miller, Courtney Troyer, Kayci Troyer. Junior — Calsey Gruzdov. Sophomores — Jenea Born, Jenny Bustos, Carly Gingerich.
Others: Senior — Alayna Robinson. Junior — Katie Mullet. Sophomore — Rylee Weldy.
Opener: Aug. 19 vs. Bremen.
Coach: Bill Stose (first season).
Assistants: Erica Dregits, Mackenzie Hill, Shaunte Williams.
2013 record: 19-13 (4-3 in Northern State Conference).
Returning letterwinners (5): Senior — Bailey Clark. Juniors — Heather Bozman, Shawntel James, Ally Lyle, Lindsey Stose.
Others: Juniors — Brittney Bianchini, Alli Clere, Caity Withrow. Sophomores — Natalie Adams, Shayla Abshagen.
Opener: Aug. 18 at Lakeland Christian.
Coach: Jodie Steele (103-91 in six seasons).
Assistants: Blair Carlstrom, Danette Yousey, Taylor Coulter.
2013 record: 26-8 (6-1 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (4): Seniors — Carlee Christner, Brittanie Helgeson. Juniors — Karissa Miller, Kelly Miller.
Others: Seniors — Jade Benton, Chelsea Miller. Juniors — Emily Barkow, Kaitlyn Kennedy, Alley McKibbin, Chloe Schmucker, Hannah Wogomon. Sophomores — Madeline Hoover, Marci Miller, Hannah Ritchie.
Opener: Aug. 19 at Lakeland.
Coach: Hilary Laidig (102-61 in five seasons).
Assistants: Mark Heeter, Brittany Harnish, Audrey Duncan, Kati Andrews.
2013 record: 17-17 (3-4 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (8): Seniors — Blakely Lengacher, Morgan Resler, Nancy Rice, Haley Roe, Ashley Yoder. Juniors — Lainie Holland, Emily Schrock, Sydney Wysong.
Others: Juniors — Abby Adams, Liz Beer. Sophomore — Nicole Flickinger. Freshman — Kennedy Weins.
Opener: Aug. 19 vs. Penn.
Coach: Sarah Hendricks (99-16 in three seasons).
Assistants: Dave Gingerich, Paige Marschall, Dawn Superczynski.
2013 record: 28-9 (7-1 in Northern Indiana Conference; sectional champions).
Returning letterwinners (6): Seniors — Juniors — Kassidy Meiss, Sarah Ross, Alicia Wolff. Juniors — Josie Engdahl, Jill Vargo. Sophomore — Jen Heritz.
Others: Sophomores — Grace Hosinski, Amelia Rodriguez, Maddie Wiseman, Abbi Zellers. Freshman — Rachel Hickey.
Opener: Aug. 19 at NorthWood.
Coach: Jeff Phillips (50-50 in three seasons).
Assistant: Kari Walmer.
2013 record: 17-17 (0-7 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (5): Seniors — Aly Anderson, Paige Hlutke, Alli Ousley. Junior — Addison Ayres. Sophomore — Meghan Fretz.
Others: Juniors — Becca Anderson, Tia Long, Grace Ondria. Sophomores — Ashley Beer, Seaquinn Bright, Liz Hardy, Madi Wilson.
Opener: Aug. 19 vs. Tippecanoe Valley.
Coach: Heidi Brohm (59-75 in four seasons).
Assistants: Candace Hales, Allyse Fisher, Jenny Mains, Mallory Berkey.
2013 record: 25-10 (9-1 in Northeast Corner Conference; sectional champions).
Returning letterwinners (5): Juniors — Makai Gingerich, Grace Hales, Alexis Hostetler, Miranda Kresse, Maria McCoy.
Others: Junior — Jennifer Hostetler. Sophomores — Karis Brewer, Taylor Eash, Sierra Kimmell.
Opener: Aug. 19 vs. Memorial.