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Consistency key for MHS girls' soccer team

First-year Mitchell High School girls’ soccer head coach Kayla Braffet wants her team to be consistent.

“We’ve had a lot of the up-and-down rollercoaster effect, so we’d be happy with consistency,” said Braffet, who played at South Dakota State University for four years. “As long as we do that, we’ll do great this year.”

Braffet’s squad opens its season against Sioux Falls Christian at 3 p.m. today in Sioux Falls. Last year’s team went 2-7-1 overall, and Braffet hopes to improve on the record in her first season.

“The girls are excited about it, and happy that they’ve got coaches that want to be there,” said Braffet, whose assistant coach is Josh Paulson, a 2008 Mitchell High School graduate who played soccer for Mitchell United — made up of players from Mitchell High School and Mitchell Christian School. “A lot of the girls feel a different type of closeness and more team bonding this season.”

The Kernels have 30 girls out this season, and Mitchell returns three seniors in Katie Stern, Kara Hanson and Morgan Hines. Stern and Hanson are this year’s team captains.

“All three seniors have just stepped up communication wise and gotten to know all of the girls, even the seventh-graders,” Braffet said. “They’re so positive at practice and are willing to change and be an encourager.”

The team also returns sophomores Bailey Hohn and Challie Jones, who earned second-team all-state honors last season.

Last year, Kendra Brewster was in the goal for the Kernels, but freshman Brewster will share time with sophomore Kristin Pistulka this season, said Braffet.

“Kristin is very versatile, so we could put her on the field if we needed to, but it depends what our team gives us,” Braffet said.

The Kernels’ home opener is Tuesday when they host Tea Area at 8 p.m. at the Mitchell Pepsi Soccer Complex. The junior varsity game begins at 6 p.m.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.