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Three Kernels earn all-ESD volleyball honors

Three Mitchell High School volleyball players were given all-Eastern South Dakota Conference honors, which are voted on by head coaches in the conference.

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Senior outside hitter Taylin Alm and senior setter Emma Schmidt were named to the first team, while senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Sidney Neugebauer was selected as an honorable mention.

Alm, who will join Pepperdine University’s indoor and sand volleyball team next year, recorded 457 kills, which was the highest in the ESD and a Mitchell school record for kills in a season. She also recorded a team-high 60 aces, while adding 203 digs and six blocks.

“She played all six rotations this year and improved her back row game,” Kernel coach Deb Thill said of Alm. “That’s just a testament in her ability to become a better volleyball player.”

Alm also broke her own mark for career kills, finishing her four-year varsity career with 1,160.

Schmidt also moved to a different position this season and put up strong numbers for the Kernels. She tallied 685 assists, 224 digs, 33 aces and 88 kills. The setter posted 12 double-doubles.

“She made everything work for us,” Thill said. “She was obviously an amazing setter and could do a lot of things. She’s just an all-round gifted volleyball athlete.”

Neugebauer rounds out the Kernel players with all-conference honors, recording 76 kills, 21 aces and a team-best 329 digs.

Thill said Neugebauer was an emotional leader for the squad.

“She was always positive and was very explosive playing in the back row for us,” she said. “You can tell she loves the game of volleyball and I’m happy she was recognized by opposing coaches.”

The Kernels (9-13) ended up sixth in the conference this season.

Eastern South Dakota Conference honors

First team

Aberdeen Central: sophomore Brianna Kusler, junior Maddie Goetz; Brandon Valley: senior Taylor Murtha; Brookings: senior Alyssa Tvedt; Huron: seniors Asia King, Halee Allerdings, Kelly McCarty; Mitchell: seniors Taylin Alm, Emma Schmidt; Pierre: senior Kaitlyn Severyn; Watertown: sophomore Macy Denzer; Yankton: Becky Frick.

Honorable mention

Aberdeen Central: seniors Bridget White, Meggie Hanson; Brandon Valley: seniors Lexi hoover, Hannah Stensrud; Brookings: sophomore Sara Tvedt; Harrisburg: junior Jordan Beiswanger, freshman Samantha Slaughter, senior Hailey Axtell; Mitchell: senior Sidney Neugebauer; Pierre: seniors Carly Jo Schroer, Whitney King; Watertown: Megan Pfeifer, McKenzie Werner.

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