No. 4 Watertown sweeps No. 5 Tigers

PHOTOS BY MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN Huron’s Makenzie Siemonsma tips the ball against Watertown’s Hannah Herzog during their match Tuesday at Huron Arena.

HURON — The Huron Tigers suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday night, as the Watertown Arrows held on for a 3-0 win in ESD Conference volleyball action at Huron Arena. While it was a three game sweep for the Arrows, neither team led by greater than five points at any point in the three sets.

Watertown, which came in ranked No. 4 in Class AA volleyball in Tuesday’s poll, posted set scores of 25-20, 25-21 and 25-23, and improved to 5-2. Huron, ranked right behind the Arrows at No. 5, slips to 6-1.

“Watertown beat us in every aspect of the game tonight,”said Huron coach TyAnn Ulmer following her team’s first stumble of the season. “We looked tired after about the 12th point in all three sets tonight.”

The first set was nip-and-tuck from the start. A rally keyed by a Makenzie Siemonsma block kill and a DaJai Claggett kill pushed the Tiger lead to 7-3, but Watertown responded with six straight points, two on kills by Emily Tisher, to forge a 9-7 cushion.

From there it was back-and-forth until Claggett got a kill down the line to make it 19-18 Arrows. But a service ace cost the Tigers a chance to tie, Natalie Pearson scored an ace for Watertown and the Arrows were off to the races, scoring the final three points of the set to take the 25-20 win.

The first half of set three belonged to the Tigers, as Siemonsma, Sam Mangmoradeth and an ace from Hamtyn Heinz staked Huron to an early lead. Watertown fought back and tied the score for the first time at 12-12. The teams traded points, then three straight kills - one by Siemonsma and back-to-back smacks from Claggett, set Huron up with an 18-15 lead. Eve Hauger got a kill for Watertown, by Heinz countered with a quick-set counter and after a violation on the Arrows, Huron held a 20-16 lead.

But kills from Miranda Falconer and Emery Thury ignited a rally for the Arrows. Consecutive aces by Addi Johnston added to the advantage and after a second Thury big swing, Watertown led 21-20, and the Arrows again closed on a roll, with Thury providing the final points of the 25-21 win.

Huron Madison Jurgens passes the ball during a match against Watertown on Tuesday at Huron Arena.

Huron trailed throughout much of the early going in set three, fighting back to tie the score at 12-all, then forging a lead on back-to-back Mangmoradeth kills. Watertown tied it at 15 on a Pearson ace, but consecutive kills from Claggett pushed Huron out to an 18-16 lead, after an Arrow hitting error.

But again, the veteran Arrow squad rebounded.

Carter Jurrens connected on three kills in a row for the Arrows, but Siemonsma countered to maintain a 21-20 lead for the Tigers. Down the stretch, however, Huron was unable to generate offense and Watertown took advantage, putting one in the “W” column, 25-23.

“We knew coming in that this was going to be a test for us,” Ulmer pointed out. “We have to learn to keep swinging, keep swinging and to keep swinging when we get the chance. We have to make the swing instead of tipping when we get the chance.”

Claggett ended the match with 11 kills, while Mangmoradeth, Siemonsma an daly Davis all rang up six. Thury led the Arrows with 11 kills - four in the final set - while Eve Hauger chipped in nine and Jurrens accounted for seven.

Huron has a week off before traveling to Yankton on Sept. 12 to face the Gazelles, before returning to Huron Arena to host top-ranked Harrisburg on Sept. 14.

“We’ll get back to work  on us - the things that we need to do to be competitive,” Ulmer said, “and get ready to take on Yankton.”

In preliminary action, the Arrows swept the Tigers, taking the JV match 2-0 (25-21 and 25-20) and escaping with a 2-1 (25-17, 9-25, 15-9) win in the freshman contest, while the Watertown sophomores persevered 2-1 (27-25, 20-25 and 15-9).