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Kernel volleyball falls short in late rally at Brookings

Playing its second five-set match in the span of four days, the Mitchell High School volleyball team almost pulled off the comeback of the season to date on Tuesday.

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(Republic file photo)
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BROOKINGS — Playing its second five-set match in the span of four days, the Mitchell High School volleyball team almost pulled off the comeback of the season to date.

Mitchell trailed 2-0 after the opening two sets before controlling play in the third and fourth sets to force the deciding set, which Brookings won 15-11 to claim a 3-2 Eastern South Dakota Conference victory on Tuesday night. Set scores were 25-22, 25-19, 15-25, 21-25 and 15-11.

The fifth set was tight until the midway point, tied at 9-all when Brookings then scored five of the next six points to build a 14-10 lead and squeak out a 15-11 win in the game. It was the Bobcats’ third win of the season and one that avenged a 2-0 tournament win by Mitchell on Aug. 27 at the Huron Invitational.

“(Brookings) made the key plays that made the difference,” Mitchell coach Deb Thill said. “There were just a couple of plays where we were not as aggressive as they were.”

Thill said the Kernels talked in the set break after falling behind 2-0 about moving their feet and committing to not letting the ball hit the floor and communicating with each other. That conscious effort helped MHS get back into the match, never trailing in Set 3 and rallying from a couple of three-point deficits in Set 4 to tie the frame at 19-all and then score six of the final eight points behind the serving of Paige Guthmiller to even the match.

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Lizzie Tyler had a team-high 15 kills for Mitchell, plus 16 digs. Halle Haring had nine kills, plus seven from Taylor Giblin and six from Addie Siemsen. Jurzee Gregg had 33 set assists and two aces, and Guthmiller finished with 14 digs and four aces.

Gracie Adamson had five aces, 27 set assists, 13 kills and 15 digs for the Bobcats (3-8), while Tayla Dobrenski had 15 kills and Gracey Sheridan had nine kills. Morgan Linstad had 21 digs and Kymber Buys had 24 set assists for Brookings, which travels to Huron on Thursday.

Mitchell knocked off Spearfish on Saturday in its home gym in the Kernels’ first five-set match of the year as part of a triangular sweep with Douglas. Thill said the full-length matches are showing the Kernels where winning plays make the difference.

“As a team, we have to keep working on the little things, doing the fundamentals right and giving ourselves the best chance to win,” she said.

Mitchell (5-7, 0-6 ESD) will play again on Thursday, Sept. 22 against Watertown, with first serve scheduled for 7 p.m. at MHS.

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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