Huron holds on against Golden Eagles

MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN Huron’s Madison Jurgens passes the ball during a match against Aberdeen Central on Thursday at Huron Arena.

HURON — In a match that was fitting for state fair week, the Huron Tigers rode a rollercoaster Thursday night against the Aberdeen Central Golden Eagles, coming back to earn a 3-2 win that pushed their record to 6-0 on the season.

Huron won the first two sets, 25-12 and 25-23, watched Aberdeen Central eke out a 25-22 win in set three and a 25-15 runaway in the fourth set, before rebounding for a 15-10 in the fifth for the win. Aberdeen Central falls to 3-1 with the loss.

“We got away from what we need to be doing to win in the third and fourth sets,” said Tiger coach TyAnn Ulmer. “We lost our approach and tried to go through blocks instead of finding holes in the defense.

The first set started off slowly, as neither club could establish a rhythm. The score remained with two points until Hamtyn Heinz looped an ace that gave the Tigers an 11-8 lead. The point ignited a Huron rally, as Heinz added another ace and the Golden Eagles committed three straight errors, prompting an Aberdeen timeout. The break didn’t stem the Huron momentum, however, as Heinz notched a third ace, then Sam Mangmoradeth and DaJai Claggett collected back-to-back kills that made it 18-9 and Huron cruised to the first set win.

Set two started exactly the same as the first, as both teams traded points and the lead never got bigger than two points, until an Aurora Dreyer kill made it 15-12 for the Tigers. Central fought back and took a 20-19 lead on a Huron error, prompting an Ulmer timeout.

Out of the break, Heinz notched a kill to tie the score, the Golden Eagles hit the next point long and Claggett scored dow the middle for a 22-20 Huron lead, forcing an Aberdeen timeout. The break didn’t help the Golden Eagles, however, as Mangmoradeth connected with a kill and Hylton Heinz laced an ace. Hamtyn Heinz’s seventh kill of the first two sets gave Huron the win.

The Tigers jumped out on top of set three, holding leads of up to four points until the midway point of the set. Claggett and Makenzie Siemonsma went back-to-back for the Tigers, putting them up 14-12, but then uncharacteristically, Huron misfired four straight times on serves. In between the mishaps, Claggett and Aly Davis were winning the battle at the net, but instead of pulling away, the Tigers were treading water.

The Golden Eagles took advantage late, suddenly putting up an impenetrable front line and going on a 5-0 run that put them at set point. Hamtyn Heinz got a kill, but Ashley Wangler closed out the set for the Golden Eagles with a kill.

Huron’s DaJai Claggett plays a volley during a match against Aberdeen Central on Thursday at Huron Arena.

Aberdeen Central took control of the fourth set quickly, building upon the momentum they started in the third set and rolling to an early 10-0 lead. Huron continued to fight, getting the margin down five points late at 20-15, but the set went to the Golden Eagles.

“We have to serve and pass to compete,” Ulmer said. “That is our ‘have-to-have it’ and we weren’t doing that to end the third set and didn’t find our game in the fourth.”

After being blitzed in the fourth set, the Tigers came out determined to open the fifth, jumping out to a 4-0 lead on a kill by Mangmoradeth and a combined Mangmoradeth/Dreyer block kill. Davis converted, then Mangmoradeth again and suddenly it was 6-1.

Aberdeen rallied, but Claggett scored down the left-hand line, then Madison Jurgens found the perfect spot in the Golden Eagle defense to make it 9-4.

The visitors were not done, however, as Grace Kuch, who would end with 15 kills, attacked the center of the Huron defense for a kill on consecutive plays to fend off the Tigers’ match point. But the third time was not a charm for the Golden Eagles, as an attempted block skewed out of bounds and the Tiger celebration began.

“We got back to what we needed to do in the fifth set,” Ulmer said. “We picked up the pace — we played slowly in the fourth set — and began to find the openings.”

For the match, Hamtyn Heinz collected eight kills, 26 set assists, 21 digs and four big aces. Claggett was credited with 14 kills, Davis had seven, Mangmoradeth six and Dreyer five, as the multi-faceted Tiger offense again gave its opponents too many players upon which to concentrate.

In addition to Kuch’s 15 kills, freshman Lauryn Burckhard added nine, Wangler chipped in eight and Taryn Nieman had seven.

Huron will get a bit of a break, as the Tigers are off until Tuesday, when the Watertown Arrows come to Huron Arena.

“We are still young, but the girls are starting to build confidence in themselves,” Ulmer said. “We don’t have to be perfect, but we made the plays when we need to.”

Preliminary action found Aberdeen Central winning the JV match 25-14, 22-25 and 15-12, while the Golden Eagle sophomore team won in straight sets, 25-20 and 25-20.

The Huron freshman won 25-19 and 25-17.