Aberdeen Central got stronger as the night went on, but an off-kilter start and a stout Huron defense propelled the visiting Tigers to a four-set victory over the Golden Eagles Tuesday night in Golden Eagles Arena. Huron claimed the win by set scores of 25-17, 26-24, 18-25 and 25-22.
After watching Huron pull away late in set one, the Golden Eagles pulled themselves together in set two, rallying from a 13-9 deficit to pull even. Senior setter Abby Berry started the rally with a tip-kill at the net and followed with an ace to inject some life into the Central squad.
“We started slow, and then we kind of got going and things looked pretty good,” said Central coach Jackie Bindenagel. “I thought our serve-receive and our serving looked a lot better tonight than it has recently. That was a bright spot.”
While that mid-match life wasn’t ultimately enough to claim that set, the momentum shift certainly held in set three, as the Golden Eagles rallied from 14-10 down to earn a 22-16 lead and finish out the set win. Berry had another ace and kill in that rally, while Karly Wellman off the bench and Grace Kuch on the outside combined for four kills and a block. Leah Gough closed out the set with back-to-back kills.
“We had a different lineup tonight,” Bindenagel said. “Karly Wellman was on the right side and Leah Gough played on the outside. I thought that went well.”
Wellman’s presence off the bench, albeit in a different position, seemed to give the Golden Eagles a bit of a spark, particularly in that second set.
“She’s got a really nice swing,” Bindenagel said. “Over the years, she’s been right-side, outside, kind of back and forth. I really like her swing on the right side, so we’re going to keep getting her some reps there.”
But for all the lift the third-set win gave the Golden Eagles, the momentum didn’t hold in the fourth as, despite a quick Central start and a late Golden Eagle rally, the Tigers closed out the match.
Kuch ended the night with 13 kills to pace the Golden Eagle front line. Wellman added nine and Kiana Mounga had six out of the middle. Berry ended her night with 24 assists, six digs, five kills and a trio of aces, while Sydney Evans had 27 digs from her libero spot.
Central, now 5-5 on the season, will face Sioux Falls O’Gorman at home next Tuesday. The Knights are currently 6-0 on the season.
“These kids are pretty much up for any challenge,” Bindenagel said of facing one of the top teams in Class AA volleyball.
Serving: Aberdeen Central 82-86 9 aces (Abby Berry 16-18 3 aces, Meghan Mork 15-15 2 aces, Sydney Evans 13-13 2 aces).
Hitting: Aberdeen Central 141-170 38 kills (Grace Kuch 36-42 13 kills, Karly Wellman 20-29 9 kills, Kiana Mounga 17-18 6 kills).
Setting: Aberdeen Central 144-144 24 assists (Berry 138-138 24 assists).
Digs: Aberdeen Central 17 (Evans 27, Anna Malchow 13, Ayrlie Waldo 10).
Blocks: Aberdeen Central 3 solos 3 assists (Madi Struble 2 solos 1 assist).
Records: Aberdeen Central 5-5, Huron 5-5.
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