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O’Gorman serves up victory over Golden Eagles

Aberdeen Central’s Karly Wellman, right, reaches to tip the ball at the net as Sioux Falls O’Gorman’s Emily Dowling, left, defends and Central’s Abby Berry looks on at center during Tuesday’s match at the Golden Eagles Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 9/28/2021

Whether blasting away from the service line or pounding away at the net, O’Gorman showed why it is one of the top volleyball programs in the state Tuesday night.

The Knights kept Aberdeen Central on its heels the entire match on the way to a 25-17, 25-16, 25-18 non-conference volleyball sweep at Golden Eagles Arena.

“The first couple of sets were rough,” said Central coach Jackie Bindenagel. “In set three we’re making a run at them at the end there and we miss a couple of serves. In that stretch, we served it nice and easy too, so we were either missing or giving them a ball that they could be really aggressive with.”

O’Gorman controlled the first two sets by serving aggressively. Those serves either directly resulted in aces or got the Golden Eagles out of system.

“One of our big program goals is always serve aggressive,” said OG coach Cale Hecht. “We’re going to pass really well, first contact stuff. We spend a lot of time in regards to service in practice. We feel if we can get them out of system we’re going to be in a great situation.”

Central was eventually able to get better touches in serve receive, but struggled for most of the evening.

“We called time out and we talked to them. It doesn’t have to be a perfect pass. Let’s make it playable,” Bindenagel told her squad. “We had them shooting off into the stands. Let’s get something someone else can touch.”

The Knights, 11-2 on the season, finished with 14 aces compared to three for Central. Megan Tiahrt led OG with six aces, and Gabriella Jones had five.

Brogan Beck had 10 kills and Macy Matheson nine for the Knights to help make up for the absence of team leader Bergen Reilly, who is playing for the U.S. National Team in the FIBA World Championships in Mexico.

“She’ll be back soon, but it was good for us to get a good solid win against a good team without us having Bergen,” Hecht said. “It gives a chance for others to step up to get some more touches on balls and go from there.”

Abby Berry topped Central with five kills, one ace, eight set assists and three blocks.

The Eagles, 5-6 on the season, take to the road to face Brandon Valley on Thursday.

Bindenagel is hoping that her young players will find a way to play with more confidence when they step on the court.

“I just wish the girls believed in themselves as much I do,” Bindenagel said. “This is where maybe our experience comes into play a little bit. If they could just step on that court and play with a little more confidence, I think things would go a little bit better for us.”

Serving: Aberdeen Central 3 aces (Arylie Waldo 1, Madi Struble 1, Abby Berry 1).

Hitting: Aberdeen Central 17 kills (Berry 5, Karly Wellman 3, Grace Kuch 3, Leah Gough 3).

Setting: Aberdeen Central 9 assists (Berry 8, Sydney Evans 1).

Digs: Aberdeen Central 35 (Evans 19, Kuch 5, Anna Malchow 4).

Blocks: Aberdeen Central 4 solos 4 assists (Kiana Mounga 2 solos 2 assists, Berry 2 solos 1 assist, Kuch 1 assist).

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