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Mitchell takes down Huron in four sets

The Mitchell Kernels celebrate after beating Huron in four sets Saturday at Huron arena.

HURON — The Mitchell Kernels played virtually error free volleyball Saturday en route to knocking off the Huron Tigers in four sets, 25-21, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20.

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The Kernels committed a season low five hitting errors the entire night. That total is a stark contrast from Friday, when Mitchell fell to Pierre in three sets, due to serving and hitting errors.

“We challenged our kids to play better Saturday than they did Friday,” Mitchell volleyball coach Deb Thill said. “They cut down on a lot of the unforced errors that we had in the game against Pierre.”

Thill added that this was the best game her team has played this season.

While the Kernels were ecstatic after the win Saturday, Huron head coach Shelly Buddenhagen and her Tigers were not.

With a win against Mitchell, Huron would secure at least a tie for the Eastern South Dakota Conference Title.

Huron (16-3, 13-2 ESD) will play Aberdeen Central Tuesday in Huron, the winner takes home the 2013 ESD crown.

“I thought Mitchell played really loose Saturday,” Buddenhagen said. “They waited for us to make all the mistakes and we did. We had a ton of serving errors, a lot of hitting errors and we couldn’t recover.” 

“Obviously with an ESD title on the line and the breast cancer awareness match our kids just came out a little tight.”

Mitchell took the first two sets of the match, but Huron battled back to win set three.

In sets one and two the Kernels and Tigers battled back and forth. The difference in both sets was Mitchell’s ability to finish the final five points.

In each of those sets the Kernels relied on solid passing from setter Emma Schmidt and sound finishing from hitters Taylin Alm and Shelly Iburg.

Schmidt finished with 28 assists, six kills and two aces. Alm had 16 kills, eight digs and two blocks. outside hitter Sidney Neugebauer recorded 19 digs and six kills.Iburg had four kills, seven blocks and two aces, while Alison Murphy had four kills and three blocks. 

“We are so excited for this win,” Mitchell middle hitter Rachel Bucholz said. “We just put out minds to it and cut out our errors and played well. We knew we had to pull it together and we just focused and got it done.”

The Kernels (9-10, 7-9 ESD) stumbled a bit at the end of set three, which allowed Huron to win the set.

After winning the set the Tigers had plenty of momentum going into set four. Huron rode that momentum to a 19-16 lead, but the Kernels battled back to tie it up at 20 and eventually win the set.

The Tigers were led by Halee Allerdings, who tallied 17 kills and 11 digs. Kelly McCarty chipped in with 39 assists and 10 digs.

“Our kids stepped up and made some good plays,” Thill said. “We had some key blocks and played really good defense. When you can make key plays and get blocks that can fire up your team.”

The loss was snapped a 14-match win streak for Huron. Mitchell hosts Brookings Tuesday at Mitchell High School.

Subvarsity scores:

JV: Huron won 25-12, 25-23

Sophomores: Huron won 25-14, 25-12

Freshman: Huron won 25-21, 25-4