HURON — The Huron Tiger volleyball team overcame some first-set errors Tuesday night, to come back for a 3-0 sweep of the No. 3 rated Sioux Falls Washington Warriors and push their season record to 10-4 with the “W.”
Huron posted set scores of 25-23, 25-23 and 25-21.
It was the fifth win in a row for the Tigers and pushed them to fourth in power points in Class “AA,” with nine matches remaining in the regular season. S.F. Washington falls to 10-5 with the loss.
“We weren’t supposed to win this one, you know?” said Tiger coach Shelly Buddenhagen after the solid win by her team. “We were the underdog, but we really thought if we could hang around and keep it close, maybe they would get a little tight and frazzled down the stretch and for the most part, that’s what happened tonight.”
Neither team was able to establish any tempo in the early going, as Washington forged a 12-10 lead, with the majority of both teams’ points coming via mistakes by their opponent. The Warrior lead got to four before Huron began to claw back, ignited by a kill from Brooke Schiltz. An Emily Dale kill, an ace from Mikena Moore and another Schiltz kill - she would end the night with an even dozen - knotted the score at 14-all.
From that point on, the set became a grind, as neither team held more than a single-point lead until Tenley Buddenhagen snuck an ace past the Warriors for a 22-19 Huron lead. Tenley Buddenhagen added a kill on a quick set, and Schiltz put the Tigers on the brink with a kill in the heart of the Washington defense.
The Warriors rallied with two straight points, but Emily Dale closed the set with a kill to the corner for the win.
The second set was marked by runs by both squads. Washington opened up a quick 5-2 lead, but with kills from Alaina Dale, Schiltz and Libby Rounds, Huron fought back and tied the score. Washington again stretched the lead, owning a 13-10 advantage before Rounds got the Tigers rolling. She scored a kills and stepped to the service line and earned an ace. Building on the momentum, Schiltz again split the formidable Warrior defenses for a kills and a tie score.
This time Huron kept Washington at bay. Back-to-back aces from Tenley Buddenhagen were followed by back-to-back kills by Mikena Moore and staked Huron to a 19-15 lead. Washington made a run, forging a tie at 20-20, but Alaina Dale got a kill on a tip over the net and Schiltz to keep the match score even.
“We got key plays from people when we really needed them tonight,” coach Buddenhagen pointed out. “We played loose and they made mistakes at times that really helped us.”
Washington took its final lead of the set, as its 6-foot, 4-inch middle hitter Phekran Kong skied for a kill. But Alaina Dale collected a kill and followed it with an ace serve and Rounds utterly stuffed Kong at the net for the final point in the set and put Huron up 2-0 on the night.
“Our strategy was to serve strong and try to keep them out of system tonight,” coach Buddenhagen said. “Kong is good and their other middle hitter (Shelby Kinzer) is only 5-8 but she jumps really well. We thought it we could keep their middles out of their comfort zone we would be alright. We played really good defense and served tough tonight.”
Rounds’ block got the Tigers revved up as they quickly raced to a 7-1 lead in the match behind three kills from Schiltz. The lead swelled to eight points, at 11-3, before Washington began to chip away, as Kong earned back-to-back block kills and followed those with a big swat to the back line. Huron fought back, but Washington tied the match at 13-all and the grind began for both teams.
“We learned so much from that loss to Bishop O’Gorman,” said coach Buddenhagen. “We were way up, they came back and we learned that we are okay. We can pass, we can hit and we can play defense. We didn’t panic then and the lesson learned that night has stayed with us.”
Tenley Buddenhagen collected her fourth ace of the match to get things started for the Tigers. A couple of errors by each team maintained the lead, but a pair of aces from Moore pushed the lead to five at 20-15. Kills by Emily Dale and Schiltz made it 22-16, but Washington made a three-point run to carve the margin in half.
Down the stretch, however, it was the Tigers who played strong, steady volleyball and the Warriors who got tight and made mistakes. The final three points for Huron, including the match winner, came off hitting errors committed by the Warriors.
Again, as it was in the win over Aberdeen Central on Tuesday night, balance was the key for the Tigers. Schiltz led the way with her 12 kills, but Alaina Dale added eight, both Emily Dale and Rounds contributed six and Moore chipped in five kills and four aces. Tenley Buddenhagen had two aces and handed out 32 assists in the game and senior Havyn Heinz had 21 digs.
Huron will host Pierre on Tuesday as it seeks to extend its winning streak to seven straight. Match time is 7 p.m. at Huron Arena.
Score by sets
S.F. Washington 23 23 21
Huron 25 25 25