HARRISBURG — The Huron Tigers dug themselves a two-set hole, but stormed back behind a career game match from Brynn Gose and double figure kills from three players to post a 3-2 (18-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-19 and 16-14) ESD Conference volleyball win over the Harrisburg Tigers Tuesday night.
“I like how our kids didn’t give up tonight - not that they ever would - even though we got behind and weren’t playing our best volleyball,” said Huron coach Shelly Buddenhagen. “We did some switching around, continued to battle and found a way to win.”
The first two sets were virtually identical, as Harrisburg managed to forge a small lead midway through the set and held on for wins. In both sets, the home team benefited from outstanding serving, as Huron had difficulty receiving the Harrisburg serves.
Down two sets to none and facing a loss to the same Harrisburg team that it defeated less than three weeks ago, Huron rallied. Brooke Schiltz and Libby Rounds got Huron off to a quick lead 5-1 lead. Harrisburg fought back and at the same point that the home Tigers had forged ahead, Huron held off the rally. Harrisburg to to within a single point on two occasions, but kills by Gose, Mikena Moore and an one of Tenley Buddenhagen’s four aces in the match righted the ship and put Huron up 20-15.
But Harrisburg refused to go quietly. Behind strong play from Abby Meister and Emma Hasert, the home time managed to knot the score at 20-20. But Tenley Buddenhagen scored on a quick-set kill, Gose hit the line on back-to-back kills, then Mattie Huber recorded her third ace and Emily Dale closed out the 25-21 win.
“We did a little improvising going into the third set,” coach Buddenhagen said. “We tweaked our rotation to get Bryn Huber a bit more time on the court. She is very quick in the back row and is kind of a steadying force.”
Huron took the momentum that closed the third set to jump out to a quick 10-5 lead in the fourth, behind a pair of kills by both Dale and Gose. Hamtyn Heinz stroked an ace and when Schiltz notched a kills and Tenley Buddenhagen collected an ace, Huron had its largest lead of the set, at 15-7.
Harrisburg again clawed its way back into the match, cutting the lead to four points late, but kills by Dale, Moore and Rounds closed out the 25-19 win and set the match to a fifth and deciding step.
Huron started quickly in set five too, as kills from Rounds and Schiltz garnered a 5-1 lead. Harrisburg was not able to gather any momentum in the set, until the very end, when 6-0 run knotted the score at 13-13. A Harrisburg hitting error was countered by a Meister kill for the home team, before Rounds found a hole in the Harrisburg defense to put Huron at match point and - however fitting - Gose powered home the last point of the night, her varsity career best 15th kill in the match.
Rounds ended with 14 kills and Schiltz added 12 to put three Tigers in double figures in the kill column. Dale and Moore each collected seven, while Tenley Buddenhagen had six kills and four aces.
For Harrisburg, Morissen Samuels had nine kills, Meister added nine and had six aces and Reese Jansa also had six aces in the match.
“They were taking Tenley out of our offense tonight,” coach Buddenhagen noted, “which is one of the reasons that we wanted to get Bryn (Huber) some more minutes, as she is our JV setter. That’s something we expected and it’s something we will dedicate some additional practice time to, as we will likely see that again this season.”
Huron will be back in action on Friday night, when it tentatively is scheduled to play Rapid City Stevens at Huron Arena. Stevens has had to postpone a volleyball match and the Stevens football team has delayed a game due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday afternoon, the Rapid City Central Cobblers come to Huron Arena in an afternoon matchup, then the Tigers are off until Tuesday, when the Watertown Arrows come to town in a rematch of one of Huron’s three losses this season.
Huron moves to 10-3 on the season, while Harrisburg falls to 4-8.
“There were a lot of good lessons tonight,” coach Buddenhagen said. “We got forced to five sets, which we really kind of needed to happen, but we fought back to win a tough game and remain in the hunt for the ESD title. We’ll go back to work to get ready for the weekend and will have plenty to work on.”
Huron will host Rapid City Stevens at 7 p.m. Friday at Huron and then face Rapid City Central at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.