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Kernels fall to taller Warriors

The Mitchell High School volleyball team faced a tall task on Friday. The Kernels took one set against Class AA No. 3 Sioux Falls Washington at MHS Gym, but fell against the taller Warriors, 27-25, 25-17, 23-25 and 25-21. Despite the 3-1 defeat, ...

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Mitchell's Carly Haring (15) hits around the defense of Sioux Falls Washington's Samiya Jami (10) as Phekran Kong (7) also defends during a match on Friday at Mitchell High School.(Matt Gade / Republic)

The Mitchell High School volleyball team faced a tall task on Friday.

The Kernels took one set against Class AA No. 3 Sioux Falls Washington at MHS Gym, but fell against the taller Warriors, 27-25, 25-17, 23-25 and 25-21.

Despite the 3-1 defeat, Mitchell (13-7) coach Deb Thill praised the effort of the Kernels against one of the state's best teams.

"We did play well and it was a fun match," Thill said. "I know we lost, but you are looking at one of the top teams in the state that we just competed hard with."

Washington was powered by 6-foot-1 Lily Bartling (20 kills) and 6-foot-4 Phekran Kong (15 kills and three blocks). Mitchell's middle hitter Carly Haring (6-foot-2) held her own at the net. She finished with 12 kills, while Kernel outside hitters Chelsea Brewster and Mackenzie Miller had 13 kills apiece.

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"We used our size when we had the mismatches and they did, too," Washington coach Kelly Schroeder said. "We have a smaller setter and Mitchell has two outside hitters that are big and tall and they are smart and they used it when they had that advantage as well. So it was fun."

In the first set, the teams traded points early as the action was back and forth. The Kernels pulled ahead 23-19, but the Warriors closed on a 8-2 run. The set was tied at 23-23, 24-24 and 25-25 before Washington scored the final two points.

Washington (25-4) simulated the situation in practice on Thursday and it proved to be beneficial against the Kernels.

"That was a drill that we worked on (Thursday)," Schroeder said. "We had our varsity playing against our JV and they were down 20-23 and they had to battle back. It was good to come out and get that first set and battle like we did. We kind of carried that momentum into set two."

The Warriors rode the momentum into the second set and built a 7-1 advantage. The Kernels trailed 20-8 at one point in the second set, but made a late surge.

"I did think we made a really nice run at the end," Thill said. "We really did and I thought our kids stayed positive the whole time."

After the Kernels took a seesaw third set, Washington seized control of the fourth set at the service line. Mitchell led 14-11, but the Warriors put together a 7-0 run as Alyssa Elton aggressively served four aces during the surge. Elton finished with seven aces.

"Going into that fourth set, she only had two or three aces," Schroeder said. "So for her late in the set to be able to go back and get three or four aces in a row, really kind of built up that momentum for us to finish."

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The Warriors never relinquished the lead and took the match.

Brewster also had 16 digs and Mandy Schmidt had 40 assists and 19 digs. Washington's Aspen Langley finished with 46 assists.

Up next, the Kernels play at Huron on Tuesday.

Subvarsity scores

JV: Sioux Falls Washington won 25-21, 25-16.

Sophomore: Mitchell won 23-25, 28-26, 15-10.

Freshman A: Sioux Falls Washington won 25-20, 25-17.

Freshman B: Sioux Falls Washington won 25-23, 25-22.

Related Topics: KERNELSVOLLEYBALL
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