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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Athlete of the Month: Ellen LeMasters

BY RICK MORWICK

As a three-year starter, it’s no surprise that Ellen LeMasters is one of the top players on the Center Grove High School volleyball team.

But as far as the Trojans are concerned, she’s much more than that.

She’s the senior leader they turn to when they absolutely, positively have to make a play.

“Ellen is our go-to hitter and can perform and stay calm in pressure situations,” Center Grove coach Maggie Harebison said. “She’s a playmaker, and I think every player wants to be like that. People watch what she does, and they try to emulate that.”

A statistical and emotional leader,  LeMasters is a 5-foot-11 outside hitter and a major reason why the Trojans are are frontrunners for the IHSAA state championship. Ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, they have already defeated two of their chief challengers, Avon and Cathedral, in regular-season matches and continue to build momentum and confidence.

“We’ve done really well lately, and I’m really proud of how we’ve competed so far this season,” LeMasters said. “It’s a great start, and I’m just really excited.”

One of five returning starters from last year’s secional championship team, LeMasters leads the Trojans in kills and is among their leaders in kill percentage, hitting percentage, service aces, blocks and digs. She is also a vocal leader who has embraced the leadership role vacated by standout Macy Carrabine, who graduated last year.

“I see my role as kind of a senior leader, especially for our younger girls,” LeMasters said. “Last year, Macy and I were the two outside hitters. Now that she’s graduated, I’ve stepped up and of taken on the role she had. I’m just trying to make plays and do my job. I see myself as a leader of the team.”

So does Harbison.

“Ellen is a strong player all the way around,” Harbison said. “She can hit, block pass and dig. Ellen brings a lot to our team.”

NCAA Division I college programs have noticed. Several have made scholarship offers. And after carefully considering each, LeMasters has accepted one.

She’ll continue her volleyball career at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. That is, after she completes some unfinished business with the Trojans, who reached the state finals two years ago during her sophomore season.

“I feel great about what we can accomplish,” LeMasters said. “I know we have a lot of younger girls, but they got experience last year. This year we have four seniors, and I think everybody’s ready to play at a high level this year, and we can do that as along as we stay focused, work hard and keep playing like we are. We know what we’re capable of, competing at this level and winning a state championship.”

THE LeMASTERS FILE

Name: Ellen LeMasters

Year: Senior

Position: Outside hitter

Experience: Three-year starter

College plans: Will continue career on scholarship at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Favorite TV show: “Gossip Girl”

Favorite movie: “The Blindside”

Favorite athlete: Steph Curry

Parents: Ron and Jill LeMasters