Kernels lose four-set match to Aberdeen in title contestMitchell accomplished something that only one other Eastern South Dakota Conference team was able to do against Aberdeen Central during the season and that’s win a set, but the Kernels could not complete the match upset.
By: Deb Smith, Aberdeen American News
Mitchell accomplished something that only one other Eastern South Dakota Conference team was able to do against Aberdeen Central during the season and that’s win a set, but the Kernels could not complete the match upset.
Brookings won two sets against Central late in the season but no other ESD team touched the Golden Eagles until the district championship.
Central defeated Mitchell 25-21, 25-16, 20-25, 25-17 on Tuesday in the District 3AA title match at Golden Eagles Arena. The Golden Eagles will advance to the State AA tournament for the 13th straight time. The Kernels move on to play in Region 2AA for another attempt to advance to state.
“We could have gotten a few more touches at the net,” said Mitchell coach Deb Thill. “I thought Kerri Young had a great match blocking at the net. We just wanted to slow the ball down a little bit. Aberdeen is going to attack you from all over; from anywhere and everywhere. That’s why they have the record that they do.”
The first and second sets stayed close until Aberdeen pulled ahead at the end. In the third set the Kernels cruised out to a 16-7 lead. Mitchell still led at 20-16 but Central missed a serve and Young picked up two kills for the Kernels and a 23-16 margin.
The Eagles pulled to within 24-19 and the Kernels misfired on a serve. Central returned the favor by missing a serve and giving Mitchell set point.
“Our serve receive was horrible to start the game and horrible to start all four games,” said Central coach Dennis Northrup. “Off and on people got good but then they got bad. Young had a good night for Mitchell.”
In the fourth set Mitchell suffered with problems of its own on serve receive.
The Kernels sprinted out to a 5-2 lead but the Golden Eagles tied the match four times including the last one at 8-all. With Caitlin Rasmusson behind the serving line Central reeled off nine straight points for a 21-10 lead. The Kernels fought back with four consecutive points. The two teams exchanged points three straight times. Central led 24-17 when Rasmusson finished the match with a kill.
“Our serve receive kind of let us down,” said Thill. “Other than that I thought the kids played hard. Played aggressive. We cut down on our errors which was what we were trying to do as well. We just didn’t pass well enough to win.”
Central featured a balanced attack with Samantha Knecht and Lauren McCafferty with 11 kills each, and Amanda Tobin and Rasmusson with 10 kills each.
“That’s just balance. We don’t feel the necessity to drive one hitter into the ground and get them 30 kills and we never will. That’s neat. I want everybody as an equal,” said Northrup. “They didn’t have a lot of aces on us. “You have to be aggressive serving at all times. Caitlin had nine serves in a row in that last game. I told my girls not to serve at their libero (Megan Farnham). She was the best player on the court.”
Aberdeen Central earned a berth in the State AA Tournament Nov. 15-17 in Rapid City. Mitchell has one more shot at a slot at state. The Kernels will host the winner of Douglas and Sturgis at 5 p.m. on Friday in Region 2AA play. Mitchell beat both teams during the regular season.
Serving: Central 85-92 7 aces (Caitlin Rasmusson 21-22 3 aces, Lauren McCafferty 23-23 2 aces, Amanda Tobin 12-13 1 ace, Kelsey Hannigan 10-12 1 ace).
Hitting: Central 126-144 52 kills (Samantha Knecht 19-23 11 kills, McCafferty 28-33 11 kills, Tobin 24-26 10 kills, Rasmusson 17-20 10 kills, Brianna Kusler 21-22 6 kills, Sara Niederbaumer 13-13 2 kills).
Setting: Central 117-117 41 assists (Maddie Goetz 53-53 22 assists, Hannigan 49-49 16 assists).
Digs: Central 73 (Meggie Hanson 23, Tobin 13, McCafferty 11, Hannigan 6, Kusler 4).
Blocks: Central 2 solo 7 assists (Rasmusson 1 solo 1 assist, Knecht 1 solo 3 assists).
Records: Mitchell 14-8; Aberdeen Central 19-2.