HUNTINGTON — Elkhart Central’s special volleyball season came to a close Saturday, Nov. 2, in the finals of the Class 4A Huntington Semistate at the hands of No. 1-ranked Carmel. The Greyhounds dispatched the Blue Blazers 25-15, 25-9, 25-16 in a 69-minute match.
“We do some nice things,” said Carmel coach Rich Coleman after his team improved to 37-1.
While Central (30-4) bowed out, coach Yolanda Stahl and her daughter, standout senior Azariah Stahl, reflected on a 2013 season that saw the Blazers set a single-season record for wins. Besides Carmel, the losses were to Northern Indiana Conference champion Marian, NIC runner-up Penn and arch rival Elkhart Memorial.
Central avenged the loss to Penn with the program’s first-ever regional title. That came two days after the Blazers topped Memorial for Central’s first sectional crown since 1973.
Naturally, Saturday’s semistate appearance — and semifinal victory against Munster (27-25, 25-17, 24-26, 25-23) — were also Blazer firsts.
“It’s been such a good season,” said Yolanda Stahl. “The girls have gone through a lot. We’ve been playing three or four games a week and just making the best of it. They were working hard.
“I’ve just so enjoyed this team this year. They were so close, like a family.”
Azariah Stahl talked about how the 2013 Blazers “made history several times.”
The senior said she was proud of the way her team — featuring senior teammates Kate Cobb, Ally Delks, Olivia Jenks, Taylor Shreiner, Madison Vaught and Jenai White — kept a positive attitude until the end.
“We knew we were in for a battle. We’re not disappointed because they are a very respectable team. We’re very proud of ourselves.”
“(Carmel) just had a lot of firepower. The hitters all across the board just cranking balls at the floor. They were really smart. When they didn’t have a perfect set, they would put it to a spot.
Instead of giving a lot of free balls, they attacked, and they were very disciplined on defense. They hardly made any mistakes. They were just a solid team all the way around.”
Yolanda Stahl also came away impressed with the Greyhounds, whose only 2013 loss was 3-2 to Sacred Heart (Ky.).
“They are amazing,” said Stahl. “They have so many guns. They’re quick. They’re athletic. They’re very well-coached. They’re very fundamental. They are a very good team.”
Next up for Carmel, a state runner-up to Avon in 2012, is a state championship rematch against the Orioles. The Greyhounds beat Avon during the regular season.
Class 4A Huntington North
CARMEL DEF. CENTRAL
25-15, 25-9, 25-16
Top Carmel players: Aces — Carly Skojt 3, Jamie Scherb 2. Assists — Carly Harbison 39. Kills — C. Skojt 17, Emily Stebbins 10, Carly Durr 7. Digs — C. Skojt 29, Grace Muller 19.
Top Central players: Aces — Taylor Shreiner 2, Kate Cobb 1, Ally Delks 1. Assists — Shreiner 28. Kills — Azariah Stahl 16, Jenai White 7. Blocks — Madison Vaught 1. Digs — Delks 11, Cobb 9.
Records: Carmel 37-1, Central 30-4.
Next: Carmel in Class 4A state championship at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Ball State University, Muncie.
CENTRAL DEF. MUNSTER
27-25, 25-17, 24-26, 25-23
Top Central players: Aces — Ally Delks 1. Assists — Taylor Shreiner 58. Kills — Azariah Stahl 37, Jenai White 14. Blocks — Madison Vaught 2. Digs — Delks 20, Kate Cobb 19.
Top Munster players: Aces — Elizabeth Kloos 3, Victoria Foster 1. Assists — Morgan Switalla 21, Blaire Barnett 11. Kills — Kloos 12, Shannon Farrell 12, Foster 8, Antonia DellaCarbonare 7. Blocks — Kloos 2, Foster 2, Quinn Harris 2. Digs — Amber Caldwell 21, Farrell 20, Switalla 19, DellaCarbonare 16.
Record: Munster 34-4.
CARMEL DEF. FW CARROLL
25-15, 25-13, 25-10
Record: Carroll 28-8.