Two of the key players in Carmel Catholic's lineup will be playing at the next level.
Slugger Gracie Schofield will be headed to Drake University, while libero extraordinaire Sierra Kepski will be off to IUPUI in Indianapolis.
On Tuesday night, both seniors hit 13 on the nose in their specialties -- 13 kills for Schofield and 13 digs for Kepski.
It's early in the volleyball season, but Carmel may have served notice that this Corsairs team is built for the long haul. Carmel blitzed a young Lake Zurich squad 25-14, 25-19 to improve to 2-0.
"Gracie carried us tonight," Carmel coach David Pazely said. "She's an amazing player. She was all-conference in the ESCC. She's been all-area. She might be an all-state nominee this year."
"She's unbelievable," Pazely said. "She reads everything so well. She's like having a coach on the floor."
Pazely was quick to defend the visiting Bears.
"They lost six starters from an unbelievable team (sectional champs)," he said. "Now they are really young."
Carmel roared out of the gates and opened a quick 10-2 lead. Schofield contributed a quick 3 kills.
"Lake Zurich is a big rival of ours," Schofield said. "This was a high-intensity match. We definitely have the potential to go downstate. We have a great mix of girls and an outstanding team."
Set 1 was all Carmel. When Elizabeth Tworek (4 aces, 3 kills) notched an ace, the set was almost over. A Schofield kill emphatically ended the set.
Carmel never trailed in Set 2. However, this set was closer.
Lake Zurich sophomore coach Kyle Due liked the way his club hung around in sets.
"It's very early so we are getting used to the pressure," Due said. "But they don't give up. We have great athletes."
Due noted Schofield was tough to stop.
"She's very good," Due said. "She really carries that team."
Lake Zurich sophomore Lexi Gora stepped up with back-to-back kills as her Bears pulled within 7-5 in Set 2. Gora had 7 kills on the night.
She took her turn on the serving line later in the set, notched an ace and scored 3 points to pull the Bears within 17-13.
The Bears struggled most of the night on serve receive. Carmel setter Grace Butler (12 assists) and Tworek registered back-to-back aces late in Set 2.
"We have a ton of talent," Kepski said. "We have two great setters, and Grace Butler is only a sophomore. I think we can go further than we did last year."
Schofield thinks Drake is a good fit for her.
"It's close to home," she said. "They have a new coaching staff and I'm in their first recruiting class. And they have a new setter who is a friend of mine."