Culver sectional realignment: New volleyball, basketball sectionals include Marquette, Westville
Football sectional includes North Judson, Pioneer
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Culver football, girls basketball and boys basketball teams all lost in the sectional to the teams that eventually went on to win their sectional.
All those teams will once again – North Judson in football, Argos in girls basketball and Triton in boys basketball – be sectional rivals of the Cavaliers.
Culver also has some new rivals that could be formidable – Pioneer in football and Marquette Catholic and Westville in volleyball and basketball.
Here is how sectionals will look for all of Culver’s fall and winter teams covering the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years:
Culver stays in Class 1A, Sectional 41 and is one of four Hoosier North teams in the group. North Judson, Pioneer and Triton are the other three.
Both North Judson and Pioneer have defeated Culver seven consecutive times.
Culver lost to North Judson 40-6 in last year’s sectional final. North Judson has won two of the last three sectionals.
The other four teams are Bowman Academy, North Newton, South Central (Union Mills) and South Newton.
Pioneer, Bowman Academy and North Newton all move down from Class 2A.
Culver is seeking their first sectional title since 2009 under coach Mike Zehner.
Culver is in Class 1A, Sectional 50 with Argos, Marquette Catholic, Oregon-Davis, Trinity Greenlawn, Triton and Westville.
Triton has won seven sectionals in the last eight years.
Marquette Catholic won nine state titles in an 11-year span from 1999-2009, but they have only won one sectional title since.
Trinity Greenlawn gained IHSAA membership for the 2021-22 school year, but they did not participate in the volleyball sectional.
Though coach Andrea Berndt’s Culver team did advance against Oregon-Davis in the 2021 bracket due to a coronavirus-related walkover, Culver has not won a sectional match on court since 2015, and they have not won a sectional title since 2011.
Rival Argos has beaten Culver 11 straight times, including the last two years in the sectional, and they are sectional rivals once again.
The other five teams are Marquette Catholic, Oregon-Davis, Trinity Greenlawn, Triton and Westville.
Both Marquette Catholic (2018, 2019) and Oregon-Davis (2014) have won state titles in the last decade.
Westville drops down from Class 2A due to decreased enrollment. Trinity Greenlawn is in its second year in the IHSAA. Culver avenged a regular season loss to Triton and beat them in last year’s sectional.
Culver has not won a sectional since the 2011 team advanced to the Class 2A semistate.
Culver loses only one starter (Lizzie Pugh) to graduation from last year’s team.
Like volleyball and girls basketball, Culver is in Class 1A, Sectional 50 with Argos, Marquette Catholic, Oregon-Davis, Trinity Greenlawn, Triton and Westville.
Triton is the two-time defending sectional champion, but the Trojans graduate four starters. Argos also graduates four starters.
Westville lost a 2A sectional final to North Judson in overtime and moves down a class due to a decline in enrollment. Marquette Catholic won six straight sectionals from 2014-19 and also won three regionals, two semistates and a state title in 2014 during that span. They have not won a sectional since.
Culver will seek their first sectional title since 2014 for coach Kyle Evans in 2022-23.
Culver has never won a girls soccer sectional title but might have had one of the most successful seasons in program history last fall when they went 14-4 for coach A.J. Neace. The season ended with a loss to eventual sectional champion Argos in the sectional semifinals.
Argos won its fourth straight sectional title in Class 1A, Sectional 35 last fall; however, they will not be the only team in their sectional looking to repeat in the fall of 2022.
That’s because Trinity Greenlawn is also part of the six-team group after winning the Sectional 34 title in its first ever IHSAA state tournament. Trinity Greenlawn just gained full IHSAA membership this school year, and they are a rival of Argos’ in the Northern Indiana Soccer and Hoosier Plains conferences.
In addition to Argos and Trinity Greenlawn, the other three teams in the sectional are Rochester, Bremen and LaVille.
Trinity Greenlawn replaces North Miami, who was moved to Sectional 39.
Like Culver, Rochester and Bremen have never won sectional titles in girls soccer.
Culver has not won a sectional game since 2017 and has not won a sectional title since 1994 in boys soccer.
They will attempt to change that in Class 1A, Sectional 37, a seven-team sectional that also includes Argos, Caston, North Miami, North White, Winamac and Whitko.
Caston is the only team in the sectional who won a sectional last fall, but North White, who was No. 7 in the final Class 1A coaches poll last year and who won a sectional as recently as 2019, could also be a formidable opponent.
Argos, though, might loom largest. The Dragons won 10 straight sectionals from 2011-20 before spending the 2021 state tournament in Class 2A due to the IHSAA Success Factor. Argos lost in their 2A sectional and now move back down.
Whitko did not field a boys soccer squad last fall.
Culver won one game last season.