HUNTINGTON | Lake Central's goal against Carmel in Saturday's volleyball semistate semifinals was to find a way to force the Greyhounds out of their system.
Instead, the Indians started the match out of rhythm and thanks to big hitting from Carmel, L.C. couldn't find its way back in.
The Greyhounds advanced to the Class 4A Huntington North Semistate title match with a 25-10, 25-12, 25-15 win over the Indians.
"They're on a whole other level," Lake Central coach Tina Tinberg said. "From the tempo of the game to controlling the game, it's a whole different game for what we are used to playing."
Carmel sophomore outside hitter Carly Skjodt, who entered the match with 417 kills this season, averaging just more than five per game, made six in the first game, including the final two points.
"She's pretty good," Lake Central senior setter Nikki Garza said. "There are ways to stop her. We were trying to get there to stop what she can do."
Whether it was intimidation of the surroundings or of Carmel's quick hits and relentless digs, the Indians were slow to react.
"We're not quite sure what happened," said Garza, who led her team with nine assists and seven digs. "We were not finding any rhythm."
L.C. (28-10) didn't score consecutive points until the second game and didn't catch a roll of points until the third game, when they scored seven straight to turn a 20-8 deficit into 20-14.
"They were tight," Tinberg said. "A lot of times, I got the feeling that they were just clamming up. They couldn't find their arm swing. The bottom line is that we had no rhythm and no chemistry."
The Indians were led by three kills each from freshman Tori Gardenhire, senior Kim Kayes and senior Julianne Epperson. Setter Lauren DiNino added four assists and sophomore Brooke Renner had three aces, two in the third game.
"We wanted to serve aggressively and keep them out of their system," Tinberg said. "For the first two sets, they were in their system. For us, we struggled a little bit in ball control. We needed those good passes to ignite our offense."
Lake Central won its first regional title since 1994 on Tuesday to reach the semistate. They played against Penn, which reached the semistate title match to face Carmel, in the Plymouth Tournament in the regular season. Tinberg said that her team should hold its head up high for what it accomplished.
"We should leave here inspired by the talent that we've seen," Tinberg said, "and see that there's still a lot of work to be done."