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Kernels battle for sweep of Arrows

The hitting was fast and furious Thursday night at Mitchell High School. Both Mitchell and Watertown packed a lot of kills and blocks into a three-set match that ultimately saw No. 2-ranked Mitchell escape with a straight sweep of a tough Arrows ...

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Mitchell's Mandy Schmidt makes a pass during the Kernels' Eastern South Dakota Conference match against Watertown Thursday at MHS. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

The hitting was fast and furious Thursday night at Mitchell High School.

Both Mitchell and Watertown packed a lot of kills and blocks into a three-set match that ultimately saw No. 2-ranked Mitchell escape with a straight sweep of a tough Arrows squad in Eastern South Dakota Conference play at Mitchell High School. Set scores were 26-24, 25-23 and 25-20.

"There was a some big, big hitting going on," Mitchell coach Deb Thill said. "There probably weren't a lot of digs. (Watertown) is tall, they're big and they're athletic. They blocked us very well ... and we provided our own net play and came up with some big plays."

The first two sets were both tightly contested, with Mitchell and Watertown each answering each other frequently. The opening set was tied 11 times in the first set, finally at 24-all before Chelsea Brewster dialed up back-to-back kills to give the Kernels the necessary two-point edge.

In the second, the set was again tied late at 19, before Mackenzie Miller and Carly Haring kills put Mitchell up two. Watertown would cut the lead down to one twice more but never overtake the Kernels, as Brooke Flemmer's cross-court attack nicked the sideline for the clinching point at 25-23.

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Mitchell (14-1, 9-1 ESD) was a bit more convincing in the third set, leading 17-9 after a Miller ace and kept the Arrows at bay for the Kernels' 11th sweep of the season.

"The one thing that I thought we did really well was serve-receive pass," Thill said. "We passed the ball so well tonight and we kept Mandy (Schmidt) in system and we made a lot of things happen."

Haring said the Kernels' preparation in practice, after having a week between matches, helped handle Watertown's attack.

"It's something we knew was coming and because we practice fast, we're always ready for that in the games," Haring said. "We know if we're in position, we'll give ourselves a chance."

Miller led Mitchell's big three hitters once more, with 13 kills. Haring had 12 kills and Brewster put down 11 kills. Flemmer, Miller and Brewster each had 12 digs. Schmidt had 34 assists, while Miller had four blocks and Haring tacked on three.

For Watertown, Sophie Tietz had two aces, six kills and nine block assists. Mariah Gloe had 14 kills and Meghan Heggelund added nine kills, and Alexx Bayles had 18 assists for the Arrows (8-5, 6-4 ESD), who host Harrisburg on Tuesday in Watertown.

Mitchell returns to the road Saturday, playing a 2:30 p.m. matinee match at Brookings. The Kernels have eight matches remaining, with five away from MHS.

Subvarsity:

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JV: Watertown won 25-19 and 25-14. Maggie Kattner had three aces and 10 assists, while Maya Voelzke had five kills.

Sophomore: Watertown won 25-16 and 25-15.

Freshman A: Watertown won 14-25, 25-15 and 16-14.

Freshman B: Watertown won 25-16 and 25-19.

Related Topics: KERNELS
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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