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Mitchell volleyball faces tough week

After a resounding three-set sweep on Saturday at Spearfish, the Class AA No. 4 Mitchell High School volleyball team is preparing for a week of three matches in five days.

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After a resounding three-set sweep on Saturday at Spearfish, the Class AA No. 4 Mitchell High School volleyball team is preparing for a week of three matches in five days.

The Kernels have won seven matches in a row and sit at 8-1 on the season entering Tuesday's match against Huron.

Not only is Huron 8-2, but Mitchell also has a date with Class AA No. 5 Sioux Falls Roosevelt on Thursday before a trip to Pierre on Saturday.

"Every match in (Class) AA is competition and I don't care who it is," MHS head coach Deb Thill said. "Huron had a big, big win on Saturday in Aberdeen. It's hard to win over there. We're really close in the seeding points and of course the rivalry. It'll be a great environment in our gym."

Mitchell got a taste of how tough the Class AA schedule can be after being pushed by Sioux Falls Lincoln last Thursday.

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"Anybody can get on a roll at our level," Thill said. "I think our kids are very trusting of each other and they work together very well, but obviously that's a work in progress for every team."

The Kernels are coming off an outing in which they made only one ball handling error against Spearfish, which led to efficient hitting. They also have just nine errors all season, which is headlined by Mandy Schmidt, who has 260 assists thus far.

The stellar passing has allowed Mitchell to post a .246 hitting percentage, keyed by the senior tandem of Carly Haring and Chelsea Brewster, who have 90 and 89 kills, respectively.

The Kernels have also been successful with serving, with a 90.7 success rate and 79 aces on the season. It has allowed them to stay within the system and that's something Thill wants to see continue this week.

"(I want to see) the serving and passing consistency and improvement that we need to keep working on and improving on in order to keep competing at a high level," she said.

This week also allows Mackenzie Miller to continue to work her way back into the lineup after missing the first seven matches of the season while she recuperated from a knee injury suffered during basketball season.

Miller, who is a two-time all-state selection, debuted last Thursday and got some extended action against Spearfish, recording seven kills and just one hitting error. For the 6-foot-1 reigning Daily Republic player of the year it's all about progressing slowly.

"We have to be cautious about what she can do and what she can't do," Thill said. "Because she's getting healthier every day."

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