By Jennifer Eisenbart

Sports Editor

The Catholic Central High School volleyball team knows it has some holes to fill this year after winning a Division 4 state title in 2011.

After all, graduating four senior starters will do that to a team.

But like the BHS girls squad, Catholic Central has a core group of returning players – including six seniors – that could take the team to repeated success.

“I think we have a lot of potential,” said coach Mae-Mae Oberhofer, in her third year as head coach. “We graduated a great senior class, but we followed with a great senior class behind them.

“We just need to mature the underclassmen behind them,” she added. “If we stay healthy, we’ll be in a good position for the end of the year.”

Oberhofer has had success with her first two teams: a state runner-up finish in 2010 and a state title last season. And while those four seniors are gone, a good group of athletes return.

At the heart of the returnees are the six seniors, three of whom have been on varsity for four years and two who saw time last year as well.

Maggie Smith, a middle hitter, led the team as its most powerful hitter last year, and senior setter Kelly Gould will be co-captain along side her. But fellow senior setter Brittany Martin will see action, as well defensive specialists Ali Wiemer and Caitlin Rach, and outside hitter Sara Seib.

Martin, who has been a backup behind Gould as a setter, will see time in the back row this year.

“Brittany Martin is probably going to move to a dual role,” said Oberhofer. That senior class, Oberhofer said, will be relied on not just for their talents, but also as leaders.

“We need a lot of good senior leadership,” she said. “They’ve played a lot of varsity volleyball, so we’ll definitely rely on that in our lineup.”

Two other starters return for the Lady Toppers. Junior Megan Wadsworth will be in her third year as a starter, but will be shifting from a right-side hitter to middle blocker.

“She’s going to be a three-year starter for us,” said Oberhofer. “Megan is a very diverse athlete. I think it’ll be a great role.”

Sophomore Abby Tweet also returns as an outside hitter, and started all of last season for the most part.

The rest of the roster isn’t entirely set, though juniors Riley Schmidt (RS), Maddie Joski (DS) and Lauren Harris (DS) are confirmed, according to Oberhofer. She expected to have the roster finalized today.

She liked the potential of the team, but knew that the experienced players would be key.

“We’re really going to rely on our experience,” Oberhofer said.