The Northridge Raiders were sidelined in the semifinals of the Class 4A volleyball sectional at Warsaw High School on Saturday by the Elkhart Central Blue Blazers led by Purdue University recruit Azariah Stahl.
Stahl amassed 34 kills, leading the Blue Blazers to a 26-24, 19-25, 25-22, 25-18 victory.
“About the only thing you can do is put blockers on her and hope to slow her down,” Northridge coach Jodie Steele said. “The other thing you have to do is get low on defense.”
Central jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set with Stahl accounting for all seven points,
“We got up 7-2, but I didn’t think it was going to be that easy,” Central coach Yolanda Stahl said. “We know how good Northridge is. They are evenly spread across in their hitters and they can take you out of a game.”
Senior Morgan Miller topped the Raiders with 15 kills while sophomore Kelly Miller chipped win with 14 and senior Annie Bachman 10.
Senior Jenai White added 10 kills for Central.
“Near the end of the third set when we had started coming back was when Central began getting kills from players other than Stahl,” Steele said.
Northridge finishes 26-8.
Other seniors besides Miller and Bachman are Taylor Coulter, Brooke Maes, Hannah Kistler and Janelle Pettifor.
“I feel bad for all the seniors,” Steele said.”They are as upset about the fact that they will never be together as a team again as they are about the loss.”
In addition to her team-high 15 kills Miller also had six blocks and 17 setting assists.
“Morgan had a huge all-around day for us,” Steele said.
Kistler had a team-high 22 digs.
“Hannah had a huge day for us,” Steele said. “Central is a hard team to dig.”
The teams split the first two sets before Central took the third and fourth. All were close games.
“Stahl’s swings made the difference and Central made some hustle plays,” Steele said.
“Our girls played with a lot of heart and we didn’t make focus errors,” Stahl said.
According to Stahl it was the third time Central has defeated Northridge this season.
“We played in a tournament at Prairie Heights and won in two sets and at Goshen winning in three,” the coach said.
Aces — Brooke Maes 2, Brittanie Helgeson 2. Assists — Carlee Christner 22, Morgan Miller 17. Kills — Morgan Miller 15, Kelly Miller 14, Annie Bachman 12. Digs — Hannah Kistler 22, Bachman 22. Blocks Morgan Miller 6, Taylor Coulter 5, Karissa Miller 4, Kelly Miller 4 (1 solo).
Aces — Olivia Jenks 2, Taylor Shreiner 2. Assists — Taylor Shreiner 44. Kills — Azariah Stahl 34, Jenai White 10. Katharine Cobb 17, Allison Delks 16. Blocks — Madison Vaught 5.