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Tigers tame Kernels at state

Mitchell's Carly Haring, center, hits an attack during a Class AA state consolation round match Friday against Huron at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. Also pictured for Mitchell is Mandy Schmidt, left, and Lesley VanDrongelen, right. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

RAPID CITY—Mitchell's time at the Class AA state volleyball tournament didn't get any better Friday afternoon.

The Kernels had spurts of strong play but could never get over the hump provided by Mitchell's rival Huron, as the Tigers got picked off the Kernels for the second time this season. Huron won the final two sets and the match in four frames in the consolation round match at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, winning 25-22, 22-25, 25-15 and 25-20.

Mitchell (20-6) now hopes to salvage the weekend with a 10 a.m. Central time first serve today against Sioux Falls O'Gorman, which was swept by Aberdeen Central in the other consolation round match.

"Again, I can't fault the kids' effort," Kernel coach Deb Thill said, referencing Mitchell's close, five-set loss to Sioux Falls Washington late Thursday. "I thought we played better (Friday). We just had some execution issues that really came back to hurt us and we couldn't get it going like we wanted to."

The first set proved to be among the most pivotal. Mitchell led 17-12 at one stage but allowed Huron to climb back into the match and the Tigers scored six of the final nine points in the set to stun the Kernels.

The second set was more to the Kernels liking, holding a lead for much of the frame. Huron made a run late but Mitchell used enough errors from Huron to get in front 25-22. The Kernels played from behind all of the third set and most of the fourth set, tying the set at 13 and briefly jumping ahead 16-14 on a Carly Haring kill. But Huron burned a timeout and promptly scored four straight points and never relinquished the lead.

And like the Nov. 4 five-set loss to the Tigers, Mitchell could not handle Huron's blocking ability. The Tigers had four solo blocks and 14 block assists in the win Friday.

"It's very disappointing but the kids have played hard," Thill said of the first two matches at state. "I won't question how badly our kids have tried because it's not a question of effort. It's not the outcome we've wanted but I'm not going to let this tournament get in the way of what kind of season this team has had."

Mitchell had strong hitting games its three primary hitters, as Mackenzie Miller posted 15 kills, and Chelsea Brewster and Carly Haring each added 12. Brewster had a match-best 21 digs and Bridget Thill added 15 digs. Miller had 11 digs for a double-double, as did Mandy Schmidt with 37 assists and 11 digs. Sage Jorgensen had three aces in the loss.

Huron was paced by 10 kills each for Hollee Niehus and Kayla Schimke and had nine aces, as a team, including four from Niehus.

Schmidt said Mitchell will have a motivated team on the floor today for an early-morning match in Rapid City.

"We're going to come out and play better (today)," she said. "We want some revenge for how these first two days have gone."

Mitchell (20-6) 22 25 15 20

Huron (15-11) 25 22 25 25

Mitchell (kills-aces-blocks): Bridget Thill 0-0-0 Mandy Schmidt 1-0-1 Lesley VanDrongelen 0-0-0 Brooke Flemmer 0-0-1 Mackenzie Miller 15-1-0 Chelsea Brewster 12-0-1 Carly Haring 12-0-1 Payton Morgan 1-0-0 Sage Jorgensen 2-3-0 Totals 43-4-2

Huron: Alexis Urena 0-0-0 Tenley Buddenhagen 4-3-3 Mikena Moore 1-0-4 Jayda Shillingstad 5-1-3 Kayla Schimke 10-0-2 Isabell Ford 0-1-0 Hollee Niehus 10-4-3 Tracy Albrecht 3-0-1

Melissa Berg 3-0-1 Havyn Heinz 0-0-0 Totals 36-9-11

Set assists: Mitchell 40 (Schmidt 37), Huron 29 (Shillingstad 28). Digs: Mitchell 84 (Brewster 21, Thill 15, Miller 11, Schmidt 11), Huron 67 (Heinz 20, Niehus 11, Ford 10, Buddenhagen 10).

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