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Pierre rallies to beat Kernels in 5 sets

By Wade LaRoche

The Capital Journal

PIERRE -- In a span of two hours, Pierre may have chased off some major demons by defeating the Mitchell Kernels on Thursday.

It took the Governors five sets to do it, but they got their first win against ESD competition since Oct. 14, 2011, by defeating the Kernels 25-17, 17-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-9.

The win was a long-time coming for the Governors as they look to turn the corner during the 2013 season.

Senior Kaitlyn Severyn was on top of her game in Thursday's win. The all-conference selection had a team-high 23 kills to go along with three aces.

"Kaitlyn was on fire from the front and back row," Pierre coach Kacy Kienholz said. "She had a lot of determination and I think a lot of that fed off of her teammates."

Severyn wasn't alone in finding that success though. The Governors utilized good passing throughout the win, highlighted by Whitney King's 35 assists.

King and Severyn each put up some impressive numbers, but Mitchell's Taylin Alm also held her own in the thriller. Alm had 24 kills and five aces in the defeat, which was what Kienholz expected from the star going into the match.

"Our girls knew (Alm) would get kills," Kienholz said. "She's a great player, but we defended her the best we could. We wanted to get her through the front line quickly and get her to the back row, even though she's a great player there as well."

At times, Alm and Severyn put on a show for those in attendance at T.F. Riggs High School as the two dueled throughout the match. Despite Alm's terrific showing, the Governors struck first in the match by way of another fast start.

The Lady Govs jumped out to a 17-8 advantage in the first game and never looked back, despite a late rally from the Kernels. Pierre had thrived in the first set, but the ghosts of their past began to haunt them in the second and third sets.

Mitchell jumped out of the gate early with a 6-0 run. Alm continued to pour it on with multiple aces in the set, Pierre fell behind by 10 and Kernels ran away with the set.

The Kernels rode Alm to another lead in the third set, but Pierre built some momentum by battling within one or two multiple times in the set. The Governors once again went down in the fourth, but they weren't content with losing the match in four sets.

The Governors jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fourth set after a block by Macy Halverson, and they maintained the lead until Mitchell's 6-0 run tied the set at 15. The Lady Govs recovered and took the lead back, and they showed the killer instinct they had been lacking when Severyn and Carly Jo Schroer each had emphatic kills to force a fifth set.

The fifth set was all Pierre from the get-go as Severyn had two aces to spark a 4-0 start.

Severyn later added a kill to make it 10-3, but Mitchell climbed back into the set with four consecutive points.

Mitchell cut the lead to two, but Pierre closed in on its first win of the year through a kill by Kelsey Schmitz.

"We looked really good at times and at times we kind of struggled with serve receive," Mitchell volleyball coach Deb Thill said. "They had the momentum in the fifth set. "We tried to get back in it, but we couldn't finish. They were a much better team, had good defense, kept the ball up and created a lot more opportunities for themselves and they beat us."

Rachel Bucholz had nine kills and two blocks in the defeat, while Emma Schmidt had 42 assists.

Mitchell (2-1) returns to action Saturday when it hosts Harrisburg.

Subvarsity scores

JV: Pierre won 25-27, 25-21, 28-26.

Sophomores: Pierre won 25-18, 26-24.

Freshmen A: Pierre 25-17, 25-19.

Freshmen B: Mitchell 13-25, 25-18, 25-8