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After time off, Kernels sweep Cobblers

The Mitchell High School volleyball team used an eight-day break to snap a two-match losing skid. The Kernels knocked off Rapid City Central 25-23, 25-11 and 25-11 on Friday at the MHS Gymnasium. Mitchell (12-5) last played on Oct. 4 when it was ...

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Mitchell's Mackenzie Miller (10) digs out a serve by Rapid City Central during a match on Friday at Mitchell High School. (Matt Gade / Republic)

The Mitchell High School volleyball team used an eight-day break to snap a two-match losing skid.

The Kernels knocked off Rapid City Central 25-23, 25-11 and 25-11 on Friday at the MHS Gymnasium.

Mitchell (12-5) last played on Oct. 4 when it was swept by No. 1 Sioux Falls O'Gorman. The Kernels used the break to fine-tune a few things and it led to a sweep over the Cobblers.

"It really helped us gain confidence more and more," Mitchell senior hitter Mackenzie Miller said about the break. "We always stress how we play in practice. We need to play like that in the game and I really think that we stepped it up and played how we practiced."

Miller had perhaps her best match of the season. Miller, who missed the first portion of the season due to a knee injury, finished with 15 kills and 14 digs on Friday.

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"The week off really helped to get the soreness out and just work on things I needed to work on and get more into the game," Miller said.

Miller played in the back row on Friday as coach Deb Thill tinkered with the lineup. Regan Waddell was used more on the blocking front and Sage Jorgensen also played in the back row.

"Everybody stepped up," Miller said. "Sage really did a good job of coming in. She played really in the back row. I think we all just played our best (Friday)."

Thill said the Kernels can play a lot of different positions and they showed that on Friday.

"We are a team where we have a lot of versatile players that can play anywhere so we just wanted to see if this worked for us," Thill said.

The Cobblers (9-13) still gave Mitchell fits in the first set. Central led 23-21, but the Kernels scored two straight points on back-to-back Carly Haring kills. After a Brooke Flemmer ace, Miller put down a kill for a 1-0 lead.

The Kernels kept the momentum going and coasted in the final two sets for the sweep.

"We kind of got a lot of our errors out and we just played," Miller said.

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Haring added 15 kills, while Chelsea Brewster added 12 kills and 14 digs. Jorgensen added seven digs, while Mandy Schmidt dished out 43 assists and had 10 digs.

"I thought our kids did a really nice job of attacking the ball and of course, that comes with us passing better, too," Thill said. "I thought we passed really well."

The Kernels will host No. 2 Rapid City Stevens at 1:30 p.m. today at MHS. Stevens defeated Huron 3-1 on Friday.

"They bring a power game," Thill said about the Raiders. "We are just going to have to be ready for that."

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