MHS volleyball team falls to Pierre, ends season
By WADE LaROCHE
The Governors won Saturday’s District 3AA third-place match against Mitchell in four sets. The Kernels fell 22-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-19 and were eliminated from postseason play.
The Governors are one match away from reaching the state tournament and face Rapid City Central in the Region 2AA championship Thursday in Rapid City.
The Governors’ shot at a state tournament berth was put in jeopardy after Mitchell (9-13) started the elimination match in strong fashion.
The set was tied at nine early, but the Kernels broke the tie with a 4-0 run, and Pierre never recovered. Kennedy Ischen delivered an ace to give the Kernels a 17-12 lead, and Pierre didn’t get within striking distance throughout the remainder of the set.
“I think after sitting around all day, the girls had a little bit of nerves,” Pierre coach Kacy Kienholz said. “The girls were playing not to lose, instead of going out there and dominating.”
The Governors asserted themselves in the second set when Kelsey Schmitz gave them a 6-2 lead with a kill and Kallie Stout added an ace. The Governors continued to pad their lead as Kaitlyn Severyn had an ace and a kill in a run that gave Pierre a 13-6 advantage. The lead was trimmed down to five through consecutive kills by Alm, two of her match-high 23 kills.
The lead dwindled to three after back-to-back aces by Taylor Sebert, but the Governors answered with a 9-1 run that featured another kill and ace combination from Severyn. The senior had 12 kills and two aces in the win.
Severyn had company in a dominant effort by the Governors at the net. Schmitz had a team-high 17 kills and four blocks in the win.
The third set featured a 12-9 start in Pierre’s favor, and it was all downhill from there for Pierre after consecutive aces by Brianna Zimmerman. The Governors never looked back after the aces as Severyn added two kills in a spurt that led to a 25-15 win.
Pierre was just 25 points shy of advancing to regions after the third-set win, but the Kernels weren’t about to go down without a fight.
The Kernels started the fourth set with three consecutive points, and Alm’s emphatic kill was part of a 4-0 run later in the set, which gave Mitchell a four-point advantage. The Governors were in a tough spot, but the team used its previous comeback efforts to quickly turn the tide.
The Governors battled back to even the set at nine, and Macy Halverson’s kill broke the tie and Pierre went on to win the next for points.
A few hitting errors by Mitchell combined with a pair of Pierre kills gave the Governors a 19-14 lead. Yet, Mitchell stormed back to cut the lead to three at 21-18.
The comeback attempt was short-lived as Halverson finished one of the top outings of the sophomore’s career with a kill that fittingly ended the match.
In addition to Alm’s big night at the net, the Kernels were led by Emma Schmidt’s 30 assists. King had a match-high 35 assists for Pierre.