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Harrisburg holds off Kernel volleyball for three-set SoDak 16 sweep

Mitchell's season concludes at 11-13

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Mitchell's Sawyer Stoebner hits an attack during a Class AA SoDak 16 state-qualifying match at Harrisburg on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

HARRISBURG -- As they have for much of the season, the Mitchell High School volleyball team found themselves just a few points short on Thursday night.

The Kernels saw their season come to an end Thursday night in the SoDak 16 state-qualifying match at Harrisburg, with the sixth-seeded Tigers sweeping No. 11 Mitchell in three sets that closely mirrored the team’s regular-season meeting two months ago. Set scores were 26-24, 25-18 and 29-27, with Mitchell’s season coming to a close at 11-13.

It was another case of the Kernels showing a lot of fight and effort but coming up just short to pull off the upset to get to the Class AA state tournament next week in Rapid City.

“Very proud of the team’s effort,” Mitchell coach Deb Thill said. “I can’t fault how hard the team worked, because there were a lot of great plays they made that were because of the team’s effort.”

Mitchell battled its way to the lead at 23-21 in the first set, but had a few key errors late in the set that allowed Harrisburg to battle back and score five of the final six points. The Tigers jumped to a 7-1 lead in the second set and kept Mitchell at arm’s length throughout the set to build a 2-0 lead.

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The Kernels and Tigers were then neck and neck early in the third set before Harrisburg built a 20-12 advantage. From there, MHS rallied to eventually tie the set at 23-all and had a set-point opportunity at 24-23 but Harrisburg kept the match alive. Mitchell then staved off three set point chances before Harrisburg finally got the decisive point to close out the match.

“We just didn’t quit and that’s what I’ve appreciated about this team all year,” Thill said. “That’s a great quality about this team.

Harrisburg (19-9) will face No. 3 Sioux Falls Roosevelt in the Class AA quarterfinals on Nov. 18 in Rapid City.

“Their defense really stood out,” Thill said of the Tigers. “We know they’re a really well-rounded offensive team but they really made some plays on defense that I thought kept some tough plays alive.”

For Mitchell, Kaspen Alm had 16 kills, with seven from Sawyer Stoebner and five from Lizzie Tyler, who also added 21 assists and 14 digs. Sarah Sebert had 13 digs, with Stoebner adding two digs.

The match was the last in the MHS volleyball careers for five seniors: Alm, Sebert, Taylor Haring, Samantha Kludt and Kaitlyn Christensen.

“They’re good kids and they’re exactly what you would ask for in seniors and leaders for the team,” Thill said.

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALLPREP SPORTS
Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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