HARRISBURG — It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but No. 5-ranked Huron recorded a sweep against Harrisburg in an Eastern South Dakota Conference volleyball match on Tuesday.
The victory, which was the second in a row and seventh in the last nine matches, boosted Huron’s record to 12-4 overall. Harrisburg fell to 4-9.
“Harrisburg isn’t a bad team. They are a lot better than their record shows,” Huron coach Shelly Buddenhagen said. “Harrisburg has a reputation of playing teams tough.”
Harrisburg controlled most of the entire first set until Huron rallied late to secure a 25-23 victory and a 1-0 lead in the match.
Back-to-back kills by Melissa Berg stopped Harrisburg’s push to take the lead in the match and put Huron on the fringe of completing the comeback at 24-23 in the opening set. Tenley Buddenhagen capped the rally with an ace serve to hand Huron the 1-0 advantage.
With the help of some strong play at the net by sophomores Mikena Moore and Libby Rounds, Huron was able to get out in front in the second set.
After Rounds inked her second kill of the match to give Huron a 6-5 lead, Moore used back-to-back kills to make it 8-5.
Huron attempted to pull away for the easy win during the middle stages of the second set, but each time Harrisburg was able to answer with a run of its own to stay within striking distance.
Berg used her fifth kill in the match to give Huron its biggest lead of the night at 20-14, but Harrisburg would narrow its deficit back to just two points with a 4-0 run.
Some sloppy play on Harrisburg’s side of the net ended the threat and Huron was able to secure the victory and a 2-0 lead in the match. A tip kill by Hollee Niehus put Huron at match point, and Havyn Heinz served for the 25-19 victory.
“That was nice to see,” Buddenhagen said of some of the team’s other hitters stepping up and having big matches. “There is a lot of pressure on Hollee, so it was nice to see the other girls have success.”
The third set proved to be equally as competitive as the first, with neither team being able to establish solid control.
Huron used a block kill by Niehus to build the biggest lead by either team at 6-2. With the help of five consecutive points, Harrisburg took its first lead of the third set at 7-6.
Back-to-back aces by Hallie Mertz propelled Harrisburg to its biggest lead of the set at 13-8.
Ace serves by Alaina Dale and Kylie Overbay, which were separated by a Rounds kill, helped Huron close its deficit to a point at 14-13 but it would regain the advantage in the match until Moore inked her ninth kill of the match to tie it at 17-17, and a pair of Harrisburg miscues made it 19-17.
A kill by Dale stretched Huron’s lead to 20-7, but Harrisburg wasn’t done yet, as it rallied to pull even at 22-22.
Back-to-back kills by Niehus and Moore put Huron on the doorstep of claiming the win with a 24-22 advantage. Harrisburg would stave off defeat momentarily, but another miscue handed the 25-23 win to Huron along with the match.
Moore would finish with 10 kills to lead the attack for Huron.
“A lot of times Mikena won’t be the biggest hitter, so we talked about her being more crafty with her attack,” Buddenhagen said. “I was really pleased with how she saw the court tonight.”
Niehus finished with eight kills and a solo block for Huron to go along with three ace serves. Buddenhagen recorded a team-high 32 assists, while Heinz inked 43 digs on the defensive side of the net.
Hallie Mertz had 10 kills and two aces for Harrisburg. Julia Sanderson had 16 assists, while Brooklyn Bollweg tallied 29 digs.
Huron will return to action Friday with a home match against Rapid City Stevens at Huron Arena. The match, which will prelude the football game against Spearfish, is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start.
The Tigers will then host Rapid City Central at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Huron 25 25 25
Harrisburg 23 19 23
Serving — Huron (7 aces): Hollee Niehus 3 aces; Harrisburg (5 aces): Hallie Mertz 2 aces.
Setting — Huron (35 assists): Tenley Buddenhagen 32 assists; Harrisburg (34 assists): Julie Sanderson 16 assists, Abby Carolan 13 assists.
Hitting — Huron (36 kills): Mikena Moore 10 kills, Hollee Niehus 8 kills; Harrisburg (35 kills): Hallie Mertz 10 kills, Shaylee Arp 7 kills.
Digs — Huron (95): Havyn Heinz 43; Harrisburg (105) Brooklyn Bollweg 29, Hallie Mertz 21.
Blocks — Huron (2): Hollee Niehus 1; Harrisburg (3): Avery Kirkey 2.