HUNTINGTON — Elkhart Central overcame nerves and Munster’s quick-set offense for a four-set victory in the semifinals of the Class 4A Huntington North Semistate volleyball tournament.
The Blue Blazers (30-3) topped the Mustangs 27-25, 25-17, 24-26, 25-23 and earned the right to play No. 1-ranked Carmel (36-1), a 25-15, 25-13, 25-10 winner against Fort Wayne Carroll.
The Blazers and Greyhounds did not meet during the 2013 regular season. The northern semistate champion plays the winner of the Avon-Columbus East match in the 4A state championship at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Ball State University in Muncie.
Central coach Yolanda Stahl said she asked her players to “dig deep” during timeouts.
“We got sloppy at times,” said Stahl. “There were a lot of nerves out there.”
The Blazers looked at set point five times before closing out the Mustangs (34-4) in Set 1. The decisive point was on a kill by Azariah Stahl.
In Set 2, Central jumped out to leads of 8-3 and 10-5 in taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 match. Stahl’s kill — one of her match-leading 37 — closed out the set.
It was Munster’s turn for a fast start in Set 3 as the Mustangs went up 11-3, 15-6 and 17-7 before the Blazers stormed back to a 23-23 tie. A Central error gave Munster its 26th point.
In Set 4, the Blazers went ahead 18-11 and 20-14 only to see the Mustangs rally back for a 21-21 tie. A Munster attack error gave Central the point needed to win the match.
Jenai White added 14 kills for the Blazers, which got 58 assists from Taylor Shreiner and were led in digs by Ally Delks (20) and Kate Cobb (19).
Mustangs coach Tracy Summers also talked about her players being nervous and having the most success when they were “in system” and getting quick sets.
“Our setters are pretty strong,” said Summers of Morgan Switalla (21 assists) and Blaire Barnett (11 assists), who fed an attack paced by Elizabeth Kloos (12 kills) and Shannon Farrell (12 kills).
“(The quick set) are the hardest shots to defend in volleyball,” said Stahl. “We have to be on their (middle hitters).”
Carmel cruised past a depleted Carroll squad. Jackie Quade, a 6-foot-2 sophomore and University of Illinois recruit, did not play for the Chargers (28-8) because of a sprained wrist.
Class 4A Huntington North
CENTRAL DEF. MUNSTER 27-25, 25-17, 25-26, 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.