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Kernel volleyball records could fall

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Records were made to be broken, and Mitchell volleyball head coach Deb Thill said names could be knocked down this season.

With 13 games to go in the regular season, senior Taylin Alm is less than 100 kills away from the school’s all-time career kills record of 949. The record is held by former Kernel Dana Misiaszek, who finished her career in 2011.

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Alm sits at 856 career kills. In Mitchell’s first seven games, the senior — who is headed to Pepperdine next year — has amassed 153 kills. If Alm continues on this pace, she could break the record in the next four games.

“Taylin could become the first Kernel to go over 1,000 kills,” Thill said. “Emma Schmidt could also break our single match assists record this year as well.”

The school record for assists in a match is 63 — set by Charlee Nelson in 2010.

Alm holds the single season record for kills (425), and Thill said she wouldn’t be surprised if Alm broke it again.

Thill added junior middle hitter Rachel Bucholz was close to tying the school’s single match record for blocks in a game Tuesday against Watertown.

The school record is eight and is held by Melinda Oster, Kayla Haines, Misiaszek and Alm. Bucholz finished the game with six.

Down to the wire

In seven games, the Kernels have played three five-set matches. In 26 games last season, the Kernels played in 10 five-set matches, winning seven and losing three.

In the three five-set matches Mitchell has played this season, the Kernels are 1-2.

“We like to compete,” Thill said. “We like to put ourselves in a position to win, which is all you can ask your team to do, especially when you are on the road.”

Thill said her team has staved off the pressure in fifth-set matches quite often and has come away with good performances.

“In the fifth-set when you are on the road, the other team’s crowd is so much more intense,” Thill said. “Every point is so vital, but I really like how we fought from behind and battled even in the games we lost.”

Tough schedule

The Kernels have also spent an abundance of time on the road this season. Of its first seven contests this season, six were on the road.

Thill said that the schedule is not out of the ordinary but it is difficult to make all the road trips on school nights.

“For our kids and our coaching staff, that gets a little tough,” Thills said. “But I am glad we got it out of the way, so hopefully learning about this team and the potential we have is only going to make us better in the long run.”

Through the first part of the season, Mitchell’s only home game was against Harrisburg on Sept. 7. So far this season, the Kernels have traveled to Pierre, Yankton, Watertown and made a West River trip to play Sturgis and Spearfish.

“The girls are great,” Thill said. “They just said that is the way it is and there was no complaining.”

Saturday’s festivities

Saturday, Mitchell hosts its annual team pink match when it plays Brandon Valley at 7 p.m. at Mitchell High School.

There will be a variety of different events going on that day, including a silent auction and a table set up for the You’ll Never Walk Alone Foundation. All proceeds from the game will go to the foundation, which is a non-profit started by Stacy Morgan in an effort to help breast cancer victims of Mitchell.

The 2003 state championship team will also be honored Saturday. It is the last Mitchell volleyball team to win a state title. Scheduled to be in attendance are former players Gina (Baldwin) Mockler, Jackie (Jacobsen) Helling, Cassie Jones, Lindsey Neugebauer, Megan Kirby, Lindsey Muth, Kayla Haines, Whitney (Weier) Clark, Mary Anne Harrington, Jen (Culhane) McNair and Mindi (Mayer) Smith. Former assistant coaches Brooke Pesja and Tricia Neugebauer are also expected to be in attendance.

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