Kernels begin quest to stateThe District 3AA volleyball match between No. 2-seeded Mitchell and No. 3-seeded Huron is bound to be thrilling, as both regular-season matches between the teams were decided in five sets.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
The District 3AA volleyball match between No. 2-seeded Mitchell and No. 3-seeded Huron is bound to be thrilling, as both regular-season matches between the teams were decided in five sets.
The match is set for 7 p.m. today at the Mitchell High School.
The teams split during the season, both winning on the road. Coming into the postseason, the Kernels have a record of 13-7, while the Tigers sit at 12-8.
Huron head coach Shelly Buddenhagen said the matches between the school rivals are almost always close.
“On paper, we very similar teams as far as stats and percentages go,” she said. “Both teams tend to get fired up to play and have a never-say-die attitude.”
Mitchell head coach Deb Thill agreed.
“It doesn’t matter what sport it is; when Mitchell and Huron play each other, the stakes are always higher,” she said.
During the regular season, Mitchell had 810 kills, recording just seven more kills than Huron. However, the Tigers totaled 198 blocks this season, which was nearly two times as many blocks as Mitchell with 100.
The teams’ offenses are run by dominant middle hitters. Mitchell’s Taylin Alm has led the offensive attack with 291 kills this season.
“We know that Taylin is going to most likely get 20 or more kills,” Buddenhagen said. “We need to not let her performance affect us and find a way to counter and score on our side.”
Katelyn Allerdings has led Huron offensively with 304 kills this year.
Head coach Deb Thill said the Kernels must keep Allerdings, who recorded 18 and 20 kills in two matches against the Kernels, and Huron’s offense off balance.
“(Allerdings) is very talented and has hurt us in every match we’ve played,” Thill said. “We’ve got to be aggressive and mix things up on our offense to keep their setter out of system.”
Buddenhagen said her team doesn’t feel any pressure coming in as the underdogs.
“That’s our biggest advantage,” she said. “We can stay relaxed, play and let the chips fall.”
Both previous matches were played in open arenas — the Corn Palace and Huron Arena. Thill said the MHS gymnasium is the loudest atmosphere the Kernels have played in this year.
“Our kids are used to the crowd cheering and being right beside you,” said Thill, whose team is 7-3 when playing at the high school.
Buddenhagen said her team plays well in this type of atmosphere.
“We are the type of team that welcomes that atmosphere and feeds off the energy,” she said. “We’re hoping our fans will make the trip because hopefully that will even the playing field.”
The winner of the match moves to the District 3AA championship game Tuesday and plays the winner of the Aberdeen Central and Pierre match. The two losers of the matches will meet up to play for a spot in the Region 2AA tournament.