ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Aberdeen ends Kernels' season in playoff upset

Lucky or not, the Aberdeen Central High School volleyball team picked the right night to play its best match of the year. The Golden Eagles defeated the Mitchell Kernels in four sets Saturday at the MHS gym, giving the top-seeded hosts their seco...

Mitchell's Haley Burdick (12) hits the ball during a match against the Aberdeen Central Golden Eagles on Saturday at Mitchell High School. (Sarah Barclay/Republic)
Mitchell's Haley Burdick (12) hits the ball during a match against the Aberdeen Central Golden Eagles on Saturday at Mitchell High School. (Sarah Barclay/Republic)

Lucky or not, the Aberdeen Central High School volleyball team picked the right night to play its best match of the year.

The Golden Eagles defeated the Mitchell Kernels in four sets Saturday at the MHS gym, giving the top-seeded hosts their second straight loss and knocking them out of the playoffs.

Set scores were 26-24, 21-25, 25-13 and 25-16 in favor of Aberdeen Central.

"That was probably the best match we've played all year," Central coach Dennis Northrup said. "We had a lot of luck. When you're playing well, you get lucky. I'm impressed with how we played."

For the Kernels, it was a tough way for her team to end the season but coach Deb Thill said her squad accomplished a lot.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We had 17 wins this year and were the number one seed in our district, and it's such an improvement over a year ago," Thill said. "Just the way they've worked hard all season and throughout this whole thing."

It looked like the Kernels would control the first set. Tied at eight, Mitchell outscored the Golden Eagles 12-6 and led 21-14. But the momentum flipped and Aberdeen went on an 8-1 run that saw the Golden Eagles tie the contest at 22. The matched remained tied at 24 until Aberdeen scored two consecutive points to take the first set.

"We missed back-to-back serves," Thill said. "We try not to do that because it does give the other team the opportunity to get right back into it."

Northrup said his team found the right places to serve the ball at the right time.

"We just found some girls that struggle in serve-receive and that's volleyball," Northrup stated. "Plus, once you lose momentum, it's very hard to get it back."

Tied at nine in the second set, Mitchell outscored Aberdeen 11-2 and held a 20-12 advantage. Again, the Golden Eagles came back and cut the Kernel lead to 21-18, before Mitchell closed the set by four points.

But the third and fourth sets were dominated by the Golden Eagles, who reversed the outcomes of the first two matches with the Kernels this season-a five-set win in Mitchell early in the season and a three-set sweep at Golden Eagles Arena at the midseason mark.

"We knew were going to have a battle and we also knew that we were in the toughest district in the state. We also knew that anybody could win on any given night and that's what happened," Thill said. "You must give Aberdeen credit. They played very well."

ADVERTISEMENT

The Kernels were led by Mackenzie Miller with 12 kills and 16 digs, Lauren Larson with 11 digs and Mandy Schmidt with 23 assists. Cassidy Gough led Aberdeen with 21 kills followed by Karli Gardner with 13 kills and Allisen Nielsen with 34 assists.

Mitchell ends its season at 17-8, while Aberdeen (13-9) will host Rapid City Central (14-16) at 5 p.m. in a state qualifying game in Region 2AA.

Related Topics: KERNELS
What To Read Next
Prep basketball action from around the state for Thursday, Jan. 26.
Coyote men fall on buzzer-beater in Macomb
Members Only
Mitchell, Madison and Brookings compete in gymnastic triangular.
Members Only
"Maybe not a lot of other people thought we'd be in the situation we're in right now, but we knew," said senior guard Dylan Soulek of the Kernels' 7-2 start.