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No. 2 Harrisburg powers past Kernel volleyball at Corn Palace

For the third consecutive match, Mitchell faced an undefeated opponent who got the best of the Kernels in a sweep.

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Mitchell's Claire Hegg (3) hits the volleyball during a volleyball match against the Harrisburg on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at the Corn Palace.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — Harrisburg looked every part as one of the top teams in Class AA high school volleyball on Thursday night at the Corn Palace.

The No. 2-ranked Tigers had Mitchell on the ropes from the opening serve and hammered their way to a three-set sweep over the Kernels in an Eastern South Dakota Conference match, improving to 8-0 on the season. Set scores were 25-12, 25-14 and 25-9.

“I think we learned tonight that you can’t give the other team anything easy. You can’t give them easy serves, you can’t give them easy balls over the net and you can’t give them easy looks at the net because Harrisburg is good enough to make things hard on you,” Mitchell coach Deb Thill said.

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The Mitchell Kernel bench celebrates a point during a volleyball match against the Harrisburg on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at the Corn Palace.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

Aside from the first half of the second set, Mitchell never really threatened to take a set off Harrisburg, something the Tigers have allowed to happen only once so far this season. The Kernels were within three points at 13-10 on a Lizzie Tyler kill before the Tigers scored nine of the next 11 points to take control. Harrisburg’s 5-foot-11 freshman outside hitter Gabrielle Zachariasen had a match-high 12 kills, while Morissen Samuels had six kills and Kaelyn Snoozy had five kills.

“Harrisburg was in system a lot and that made a huge difference in the game,” Thill said. “If we were in system that much, we would have been successful. But we weren’t. And you have to hand it to Harrisburg because they’re really talented.”

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Tyler finished with six kills, while Halle Haring had three kills and Tiana Meadows had two kills and two blocks and Hope Flippin had two kills for Mitchell. Claire Hegg and Ava Brannan each had six digs. It was Mitchell's third consecutive match against an undefeated opponent after matches with Huron and Pierre.

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Mitchell's Lizzie Tyler attacks the ball at the net during a volleyball match against the Harrisburg on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at the Corn Palace.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

The Kernels were soured by the absence of Sawyer Stoebner, the team’s leader in digs and second on the team in kills, who was on the bench Thursday with a walking boot on her left leg.

Thill said her team found out at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday that Stoebner wouldn’t play, which changed the team’s tactics. She added that she expects Stoebner to be “out for a while.”

“We’re going to have to come up with a plan of how we’re going to play without her,” Thill said of the athletic junior. “Obviously, she’s a big part of what we do because she doesn’t come off the floor when she’s out there.”

It was Mitchell's first volleyball match at the Corn Palace in exactly 10 years, since a Sept. 8, 2012 match against Huron. The contest was moved to the air-conditioned venue due to the excessive heat in Mitchell on Thursday.

Mitchell (3-5, 0-4 ESD) will travel to Yankton on Thursday, Sept. 15, followed by a doubleheader set of matches with Spearfish and Douglas on Saturday, Sept. 17 at the MHS Gym. Harrisburg, which is now 4-0 in ESD play, hosts Class A No. 2 Dakota Valley on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

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The Harrisburg Tigers defeat the Mitchell Kernels, 25-12, 25-14 and 25-9.

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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