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Roncalli comeback falls short against Mobridge-Pollock

Mobridge-Pollock’s Landyn Henderson, right, reaches to hit the ball as Aberdeen Roncalli’s Jeci Ewart, left, defends the net during Tuesday night’s match at the Roncalli High School gym. Photo by John Davis taken 10/12/2021

Mobridge-Pollock improved to 18-5 on the season turning back an Aberdeen Roncalli rally for a 27-25, 25-20, 17-25, 18-25, 15-13 non-conference volleyball victory Tuesday night at Roncalli Gym. The Cavaliers nearly strung together a five-set comeback after trailing by two sets, but could not find enough offense late in the fifth.

The Cavs and Tigers battled early on in a closely-contested first set as neither team led by more than four points at any point in the set. Mobridge-Pollock concluded the opening set with three straight points to grab the first in extra points at 27-25.

The Tigers seized the momentum early in the second set, jumping out to an 11-6 lead. Mobridge-Pollock led by as many as eight points before winning 25-20 and asserting a two-set lead on the road.

Roncalli defended their home court in the third and fourth sets by scores of 25-17 and 25-18, respectively. The Cavs forced their sixth five-set match of the season and fifth at home.

“This has to be the most experienced five-set match team that we’ve had in a while,” said Roncalli coach Mandy Smid.

Roncalli and Mobridge-Pollock went nearly back-and-forth throughout the decisive set as the teams were tied at 6-6, 8-8, 10-10 and 12-12. The Tigers spoiled the last-ditch comeback effort on a kill from senior middle hitter Landyn Henderson to win the fifth set 15-13 and the match.

“We’ve been working on that aspect of our game: not giving up when we get down,” said Tigers coach Rose Henderson. “They have improved a lot on that and they show tremendous heart and teamwork when they do that.”

Mariah Goehring and Leah Overland each finished with 11 kills to pace Mobridge-Pollock.

Ava Hanson powered the Cavaliers with 13 kills and six ace serves. Olivia Hanson finished with 41 set assists and a pair of aces.

Despite the loss, Smid found several positives from the match that her team can harness with four games remaining in the regular season.

“It’s really hard to be down two sets and to create that energy that’s needed to drive back and to get that close in set five,” said Smid. “We had the ability to come back even when we had some rotation adversity we were working through, and I thought the girls did a nice job of fixing those pieces and adjusting in the middle of a set.”

Roncalli, 11-7 on the season, plays at Britton-Hecla Friday before returning home Tuesday to face Faulkton, 21-5 and receiving votes in the most recent Class B poll.

Serving: Mobridge-Pollock 93-105 7 aces (Katy Kemnitz 21-24 2 aces, Ava Stoick 13-14 2 aces, Raelynn Aberle 10-12 2 aces); Aberdeen Roncalli 69-76 12 aces (Ava Hanson 15-18 6 aces, Olivia Hanson 17-18 2 aces).
Hitting: Mobridge-Pollock 136-155 41 kills (Mariah Goehring 33-36 11 kills, Leah Overland 24-32 11 kills); Aberdeen Roncalli 158-188 45 kills (Ava Hanson 29-38 13 kills, Ella Hanson 37-42 8 kills).
Setting: Mobridge-Pollock 143-146 28 assists (Emma Keller 84-86 20 assists); Aberdeen Roncalli 192 42 assists (Olivia Hanson 177 41 assists).
Digs: Mobridge-Pollock 78 (Ava Stoick 20); Aberdeen Roncalli 137 (Hailey Schmidt 35, Ella Hanson 31).

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