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No. 5 Huron defeats Mitchell in five sets

Mitchell’s Rachel Bucholz, left, and Alison Murphy, right, block a shot from Huron’s Asia King (16) in the first set of a high school volleyball game at Mitchell High School Thursday. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

Mitchell volleyball coach Deb Thill says things just have not gone her team’s way in the early part of the season.

The Kernels continued to get the short end of the stick Thursday as they dropped their third straight game, falling to Eastern South Dakota Conference rival Huron in four sets. Set scores were 25-23, 25-15, 25-27, 25-18.

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“In close-game situations we have had some things not go our way, but our kids never gave up,” Thill said, adding her team could easily be 6-3 instead of 4-5, if it had better luck. “They fought and fought and fought. We will be okay, and we will start making the plays and things will start going our way.”

Thursday, Mitchell continued its string of early game woes, dropping the first set to the Tigers 25-23. Of Mitchell’s nine matches this season, the Kernels have dropped the first set six times — something Thill said the Kernels would work on.

Huron controlled the first set and most of the game with its defense, which was led by Halee Allerdings. Allerdings recorded 21 digs and was aided by Jacey Hupp with 11.

“You have to give credit to Huron. They stepped up and played better than we did,” Thill said. “They did not allow anything to hit the floor. We would try to get a kill, and they would come flying in there and stop it.”

After the Kernels lost the first set, the once raucous MHS student section went quiet. Huron kept things quiet on the court too, as it capitalized on Mitchell service errors to win the set 25-15.

The Kernels rebounded after dropping the opening two sets, taking an early 6-3 lead over Huron. Yet, the Tigers bounced back to tie the game at 10. The teams traded jabs throughout the set.

The game appeared to be coming to an end as Huron held a 24-21 lead. But the Kernels rallied, scoring four straight points to overtake the Tigers, eventually winning the set 27-25 on a Taylor Sebert ace.

Sebert also had 17 digs in the game, while Emma Schmidt and Sidney Neugebauer led the team in digs with 18 apiece.

Taylin Alm had 16 digs and 20 kills to pace the Kernel offense. Alison Murphy, Rachel Bucholz and Ally Goldammer each had three kills.

“I thought our kids really played well, especially in set one and three,” Thill said.

“We gave a great effort tonight. We just got beat by a team that is playing better than us right now, but we will continue to work hard to be the better team at the end of the season.”

Thursday also marked the first time since 2011 the Mitchell Kernel volleyball team lost to Huron at Mitchell High School.

The Kernels dropped a 3-2 game to Huron last season but it was at the Corn Palace.

Huron coach Shelly Buddenhagen was very happy with her team’s road performance.

“Anytime in the ESD that you can get a win on the road, it is a big win,” Buddenhagen said. “We knew that Mitchell was a lot better team than what their record showed.

“I was very impressed with how our back row played tonight and the effort we had at the net.”

Huron (7-2) was led by Allerdings, who had 15 kills. Asia King added 12, while Sami Zell had 10.

Mitchell is 2-6 in the ESD and hosts Watertown Tuesday in Mitchell, while Huron plays at Pierre Tuesday.

Subvarsity scores

JV: Huron won 25-14, 25-18.

Sophomores: Huron won 25-21, 25-10.