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Kernels claim ESD match

Mitchell's Regan Waddell (7) celebrates a kill with teammates Sage Jorgensen (24) and Mandy Schmidt (5) during a game against Yankton on Thursday at Mitchell High School. (Matt Gade / Republic)

It wasn't exactly with flying colors, but the Mitchell High School volleyball team passed another conference test on Thursday.

The No. 4 Kernels downed Eastern South Dakota Conference foe Yankton 3-1 at the MHS Gym. Set scores were 25-8, 25-13, 25-27 and 25-17.

It was the second match in three days in which the Kernels (6-1, 2-0 ESD) dropped a set against a conference opponent, but it still resulted in a win.

"Every match is a teaching moment," MHS coach Deb Thill said. "Every practice, every situation. That's why you play these matches and you learn and we talk about things."

The Kernels breezed to a 2-0 lead in the match, but allowed the Bucks (1-8, 0-2 ESD) to gain some momentum in the third set.

"We missed a couple key serves late in the game and we had some hitting errors late in the game," Thill said. "I think three hitting errors. So when you do that to a team, you are going to let them right back in, you are giving them some momentum."

In the third set, the Kernels trailed 19-15. However, a Chelsea Brewster ace capped off a 4-0 spurt for Mitchell. The teams exchanged point-for-point, with Yankton breaking away from a 25-25 tie with two straight points.

"They were in system more," Thill said. "So they got it to their setters more and they could do some more things. Out of system is what they were most of the time in the first two sets. They couldn't run those quicks in the middle and so they did a good job. They played a lot better as the match went on."

But in the fourth set, the Kernels jumped ahead 7-3 and broke away from a 11-11 tie with five straight points. Mitchell maintained its advantage the rest of the way.

"I thought our kids responded really well when we opened up that fourth set like we did," Thill said.

The Kernels recorded 13 aces, with Brooke Flemmer leading the way with five.

"It was pretty good," Flemmer said about the serving. "I think we could always improve, but it was good."

Flemmer not only paced the team in serving, but her aggressive serving kept Yankton's offense off balance.

"Brooke Flemmer, she comes in and gets us on some big runs," Thill said. "She doesn't get a lot of accolades, but boy she was great (Thursday)."

Offensively, Carly Haring put down 12 kills, while Sage Jorgensen finished with 11. Brewster added seven kills and 10 digs. Mandy Schmidt orchestrated the offense with 28 assists and added 12 digs. Bridget Thill finished with 13 digs, while Flemmer had 10 digs.

The Kernels host Sioux Falls Lincoln on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at MHS Gym.

Subvarsity scores

JV: Yankton won 2-1. Set scores were 20-25, 26-24, 18-16. Katy Sebert had 17 assists, 8 digs, 3 kills. Sarah Sebert had 15 digs, 2 kills, 1 ace.

Sophomore: Mitchell won 26-24, 17-25, 15-12.

Freshman A: Yankton won 25-22, 25-16.

Freshman B: Mitchell won 25-16, 19-16, 15-4.

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