The Mitchell High School volleyball team ran into a buzzsaw on Saturday.
The Kernels dropped an Eastern South Dakota Conference match against No. 5 Huron in four sets at MHS gym. The set scores were 25-12, 24-26, 25-11 and 25-16.
The Tigers were coming off a pair of defeats against Watertown and Sioux Falls O’Gorman. But showed on Saturday why Mitchell coach Deb Thill called them one of the best in the state.
“They are really good and when they are in system you are looking at one of the best setters (Tenley Buddenhagen) in the state,” Thill said. “She can do a lot of good things for them and I thought they also played pretty strong defensively.”
The Tigers (4-2) controlled the action in the first set, jumping out to a big lead and coasting to a 1-0 advantage. The Kernels (1-3) came to life in the second set and traded points with their rival Tigers. Huron was leading 20-17, but the Kernels surged ahead to a 23-20 lead after a Cameryn Logan kill. The set was tied (24-24) before Mitchell scored the final two points to even the match at 1-1.
But the momentum was short lived. The Kernels fell behind by a whopping 13-0 deficit before a Huron serving error finally stopped the bleeding.
“They (Kernels) were focusing in on what we were trying to do,” Thill said about the second and third sets. “I thought we lost that focus as the match progressed though.”
Also in the second set, Mitchell senior defensive specialist Sarah Sebert hit her head on the bleachers going for a dig. After laying on the floor for minutes, she left the set and was later cleared to return.
“She hit it pretty hard,” Thill said. “She got evaluated and she’s our defensive leader and obviously we wanted her to be on the floor. She’s a tough kid and so we didn’t put her back in until she was cleared by the trainers.”
The Tigers won the next two sets convincingly to finish off the victory. Logan led the Kernels with 11 kills, while Kaspen Alm put down 10 kills. Lizzie Tyler added nine kills and 10 digs. Sebert finished with 26 digs, while Katy Sebert dished out 26 assists.
The Kernels are off until Sept. 17 when they host Sioux Falls Lincoln, which starts three matches in three days for the team.
“We are going to play three matches in a row next week and so we are really going to see where we are at next week,” Thill said. “We are one of the teams that haven’t played a lot. I know this was our fourth match. I think you are going to see this team just keep getting better and better.”