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Mitchell High School volleyball gets on track in four-set season-opening win

Kernels play four more matches on Saturday

Mitchell_volleyball net.jpg

Maybe it was first-match jitters, but the Mitchell High School volleyball team took a while to get on track on Friday.

Once they did, Sturgis didn’t pose much of a problem for the Kernels, who won the season opener at the MHS Gym in four sets. Set scores were 22-25, 25-11, 25-21, 25-19

Mitchell trailed by as many as 10 points in the opening set, struggling early with errors in all facets of the game.

“I don’t know if it was because of the first match but we dug ourselves a hole,” Thill said. “And we still got back to within three, so after we rallied, I knew we would be OK. From that point on, our ball control was a lot better.”

Kaspen Alm had 17 kills to lead the Kernels, with Lizzie Tyler adding eight kills. Thill noted the balanced nature of the Mitchell with four-kill nights from Sawyer Stoebner, Kaitlyn Christensen, Taylor Giblin. Tyler finished with 21 assists, while Jurzee Gregg had 11 assists against the Scoopers (0-2).

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“We ended up being pretty well-rounded,” Thill said. “And when you look at the girls that made contributions tonight in those categories, they’re all going to be pretty important for us in the 6-2 system that we’re running this year.”

Thill also commended Mitchell’s blocking, which led to seven blocks on the night, including four total from Christensen, three from Stoebner and two from Taylor Haring. Mitchell also had a staggering number of aces -- 15 -- including three from Tyler and Sarah Sebert.

“That was a tremendous amount of aces,” she said. “We’re going to have to rely on that, because quite frankly, we’re not an overpowering team at the net.”

Mitchell heads north on Saturday for the annual Huron Invitational, playing four matches, starting at 9 a.m. The Kernels will face Douglas, Watertown, Chester Area and Sioux Falls Lincoln. (All but the Lincoln match will take place in the Huron Arena, with Mitchell’s match against the Patriots taking place at the Huron Middle School.

“We’re focused on getting better by 2 percent,” Thill said. “That’s our goal every time out. We know it’s going to be a long day and we’re going to just have to be mentally prepared to focus against some really good teams.”

Mitchell’s junior varsity team also opened play Friday, sweeping the Scoopers in straight sets.

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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