UNION TWP. | Coming from any other player, Shannon Doyle’s proclamation following Wheeler’s four-game win over Whiting last week might have sounded a bit brash and cocky:
“I want to be one of the best players in the state of Indiana.”
Doyle, who had just broken Wheeler’s conference mark for kills in a match with 29 against the Oilers, wasn’t shy about her goals for her senior year. Already tied for the most kills in a match (35) with Becca Bruszewski and one year removed from leading the Bearcats to their first regional crown, Doyle wants to be remembered in her home state.
“I want to be the best, but I’m definitely humble,” Doyle said. “I don’t think it’s cocky at all to want to be one of the best. You’ll see me cheering twice as loud for the other girls to make plays.”
Doyle earned First-Team All-Area honors from The Times last year with 478 kills and 529 digs. Her accomplishments often go overlooked in the region because she isn’t facing top-level competition on a nightly basis. Wheeler coach Alisha Polite, who starred at Washington Twp., before playing for four years at Indiana State, doesn’t think the level of play should be an issue.
“She doesn’t walk in the gym like she’s the best player in the state, and to me that’s what makes her the best player in the state, regardless of the level,” Polite said. “She’s put in the time and effort and she’s given herself a great all-around game.”
Doyle’s high school career has been well documented since she made varsity as a freshman in coach Mike Stojic’s final season. She became a team leader under Shyloh Karshner as a sophomore and is now bordering on legendary in her two years under Polite. The Bearcats went 27-11 last season en route to a semistate berth.
“We definitely want to get back to where we were before and hopefully go beyond that,” Doyle said. “We have a target on our backs.”
While Doyle is busy trying to lead the undefeated Bearcats (10-0, 1-0 GSSC) to a deep postseason run, the senior is also acting as mentor to a trio of freshmen on the roster, including star setter Belle Bravo.
“I think the freshmen are benefiting a lot from Shannon and Haley (Plothow),” Polite said. “Belle and Shannon feed off of each other. They are my fist-bumpers, the ones that get everyone going. They are what fuels the team and it’s something that Shannon and Haley don’t take lightly.”