Tates Creek volleyball is crushing it this season.
The Commodores, led by senior star Kendall Beerman, are rated No. 10 in the state and, after sweeping No. 24 Lafayette on Thursday night, they sport a 19-2 record.
There's plenty of work still to be done come the postseason, and Tates Creek is zeroed in on that goal.
"Winning the region. That's what we've talked about and been preparing for since day one," Coach Sara Chaffin said after her team's sharp performance in beating Lafayette 25-10, 25-12, 25-18.
Beerman, who's been starting since she was a seventh-grader and has helped the Commodores win 149 matches in her career, remembers the disappointment of the last two years.
Tates Creek lost a five-game heartbreaker to Henry Clay in the 11th Region finals in 2012, and another five-gamer to the eventual champ Blue Devils in the first round of the region last fall.
"We've been so close, I just really want to go to state," Beerman said. "It's about time, I guess I'd say."
Chaffin didn't know how good the Commodores would be this year. They have only two seniors — Beerman, a three-time all-stater and four-time all-city player, and senior setter Micaela Magsig.
Macy Reihing, a setter, and Doris Carter, an outside hitter, got lots of experience as freshmen last season, but they're still only sophomores.
Kailee Bingman and Mary Catherine O'Neil and Lindsey Wilkins are also sophomores still learning on the job. Ditto for juniors Julia Loveday and Jessie Sandefur.
"I wasn't sure what we could achieve," Chaffin said, "but I knew we had great potential."
It's nice, of course, to have a dominating player like Beerman, who will sign with Indiana in November. She's not only fierce at the net, she's developed a nasty serve.
"I just go back and hit it as hard as I can with lot of top spin," she said.
Against Lafayette, the 6-foot-2 Beerman showcased her skills. She had 18 kills, and Tates Creek scored 13 points when she was serving.
Beerman's continued improvement is an example to her teammates.
"Kendall is definitely a role model for me," Loveday said. "I'm always looking at her, seeing what she's doing so I know how I can improve."
Chaffin noted Loveday's progress.
"Julia has come on very strong this year. She's aggressive, she's improved her serving and her net play."
The coach has also watched Reihing, Carter and Magsig step up their games.
"Macy strives so hard to be a precision passer. Doris has shown a lot of maturity from last season, and has gotten a lot stronger hitting the ball.
"And Micaela is definitely taking charge on the court and running our offense."
Tates Creek has the intangibles, too.
"Everyone on the team has the same attitude," Beerman said. "We all hate to lose, so there's a lot of fight in us."
Loveday loves the Commodores' chemistry that comes with being a close-knit group of girls.
"We all love each other," she said. "We're a light, happy, carefree kind of team. But at the same time, we know how to compete when we need to compete."