Tigers record volleyball win against Mitchell
HURON — On a night that featured huge momentum swings for both teams, the Huron Tigers put together the rallies when they needed them, scoring a 3-1 ESD Conference volleyball win over the Mitchell Kernels, in the annual “Block Out Breast Cancer” game at Huron Arena.
Set scores for the Tigers, who improve to 13-12, were 25-22, 10-25, 25-12 and 25-17. Mitchell falls to 6-15 on the season as Huron took both matches from the Kernels in 2023.
“We played well to start, then I think that we were looking past them a bit,” said Huron coach TyAnn Ulmer. “But they got back on track and earned a big win tonight.”
The Kernels led for the majority of the first set, as Huron errors, combined with a strong start from both Sawyer Stoeber and Tianna Meadows staked Mitchell to a lead that grew to five points, 11-6, after a quick 4-0 run.
Huron clawed its way back, as Hamtyn Heinz and Makenzie Siemonsma got kills. When Aly Davis and DaJai Claggett connected on back-to-back big swings, the Tigers drew within one point.
Madison Hershman, one of Ulmer’s ‘designated servers’ stepped up and connected on a pair of aces, sandwiched around a Kernel hitting error to put Huron up, 19-17.
Hope Flippin got a block kill for the Kernels, on a kill attempt that Samantha Mangmoradeth sought to tip over the net, but three points later, Mangmoradeth got another chance, this time choosing to swing hard and pounded it past Flippin for a 23-19 Tiger lead. Another kill for Mangmoradeth and a Mitchell error closed out the set win for Huron.
After coming back to win the first set, it would be a safe presumption that Huron would ride that momentum in the second set, but the Tigers’ start was not along those lines.
A Heinz ace made it 4-2 Mitchell, but the Kernels went on a 13-2 run, all but closing out the Tigers before mid set, and cruising to a 25-10 win.
After getting rocked on their heels, the Tigers regrouped between sets and came out much more aggressively for set three. Kills by Claggett and Davis helped Huron to a quick 5-1 lead.
Mitchell returned fire, as Meadows sandwiched a pair of kills around a big swing from Stoebner to cut the lead to one, at 6-5.
Then Madison Jurgens, the other designated server and defender off Ulmer’s bench stepped to the service line. When the smoke lifted at the end of Huron’s 8-0 run, Jurgens had an ace and two improbable kills, the first on what was easily the best point of the night. Alexis Ziegeldorf, who Ulmer put in the lineup for the set for some fresh energy complied with a kill. Heinz, Davis and Siemonsma all got kills and when Jurgens’ serve time was over, Huron led 14-5 and while the set was not complete, it was over.
Claggett connected on back-to-back kills as the 5-foot, 6-inch senior approached her kill attempts very aggressively, moving the lead to 12 points and down the stretch it was Mangmoradeth and Davis that closed out the 25-12 win for Huron.
Huron’s Hylton Heinz passes the ball during a match against Mitchell on Tuesday at Huron Arena.
The Tigers started strong in the fourth set as well, as Ziegeldorf got kills on three straight attempts, before kills from Siemonsma and Claggett and another Hershman ace staked Huron to an 11-5 lead.
Again, the Kernels fought back behind Stoebner, with a few Tiger hitting errors thrown in as well, helped Mitchell carve the gap to four points, at 20-16 after a kill by setter Addie Siemsen.
The Tigers didn’t panic however, and went back to what had worked in sets two and three - make the dig and pass, set the ball and pound it home. Claggett went back-to-back, Mangmoradeth connected again and Claggett found the back line and after one final Mitchell error, the Tigers celebrated the win.
Claggett led a very balanced attack for the Tigers with 10 kills, while both Davis and Siemonsma added seven, Mangmoradeth added six, Ziegeldorf chipped in five and Heinz had five kill and an ace. Hershman had four aces in the match, while Jurgens had one ace and two kills.
“When we are able to get the ball to Hamtyn and have her distribute - to share the wealth - we are much more dangerous,” said Ulmer. “We got away from that tonight, but found our way back.”
Stoebmer had 12 kills and Meadows nine for the Kernels.
The win keeps Huron in the running for a home SoDak 16 state tournament play-in game. The Tigers’ win, combined with a Pierre loss at home to Brookings, vaulted Huron into the No. 8 spot in the standings, with two matches remaining on the schedule, both of which are important stay in that race.
Huron has another week off, returning to action on Halloween when it travels to O’Gorman to take on the Knights, before coming home for the regular season finale against Brandon Valley on Nov. 2.
“We have another week to work on us,” Ulmer said. “We can fine tune and get ready for O’Gorman which is a big match for us. We can’t worry about what is happening in the standings, we have to concentrate and compete with whomever we are playing and if we do our best the rest will take care of itself.”
Lower level action on Tuesday found Mitchell taking the JV match 25-8, 25-22, while Huron rebounded with a 25-21, 25-22 win in the Sophomore match.