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Kimball/White Lake's Kelli Steffen digs the ball in the Class B seventh-place match Saturday at the Huron Arena in Huron. Also pictured is Jazmyn Hinker of Kimball/White Lake. (Photo courtesy of Huron Plainsman)

WiLdKats take down Harding County, finish seventh place

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By OWEN REITZEL

The Daily Republic

HURON — After losing a close first set to Harding County, Kimball/White Lake could have folded. But the WiLdKats hung tough and went on to take a hard-fought 26-28, 25-19, 25-23, 25-23 win to finish seventh at the Class B state volleyball tournament Saturday at the Huron Arena in Huron.

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The WiLdKats served for the opening set at 25-24, but the Ranchers rallied to win 28-26.

“I was concerned too because we haven’t been playing like we could at this tournament,” said Kimball/White Lake head coach Sarah Deffenbaugh said about the first set. “At some point, we forgot how to hit the ball and how to play hard. But they came out with that focus and goal and they played well.”

The No. 7 WiLdKats raced to a 19-14 lead in the second set and went on to win 25-19, leveling the match at a set apiece.

“We came out really fired up today,” Kimball/White Lake freshman Brooklyn Donald said. “Our team can get down on ourselves pretty fast, but we always come out fired up for the next set.”

The third set saw the No. 5 Ranchers take a 15-12 lead, but the WiLdKats fought back and won three consecutive points to tie the set. The teams fought on even terms until the WiLdKats took a 23-21 advantage, eventually taking the set 25-23.

Harding County led 15-11 in the fourth set, but Kimball/White Lake tied battled to tie the set after a timeout. The Ranchers scored five straight points and looked to control the set at 20-15.

Yet, the WiLdKats refused to roll over and once again tied the match at 23. They scored the next two points to win the set and match.

Donald finished the match with 13 kills, while Jazmyn Hinker recorded 13 digs and 13 kills for a double-double. Anna Pazour added 12 digs, Haley Pazour tallied 10 kills and Emily Sinclair had 10 digs to lead the WiLdKats.

The Ranchers (23-8) were led by Sierra Stugelmeyer with 20 kills and 21 digs, followed by Kyla Schleuning with 10 kills, Kasey Teigen with 20 digs and Megan Adams with 17 digs.

The WiLdKats finish the year at 17-9.

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