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Jefferson sweeps Golden Eagles in regular season finale

Aberdeen Central’s Madison Miller, center, digs out a serve as teammates Anna Malchow (2) and Sydney Evans (32) look on during Thursday night’s match against Sioux Falls Jefferson at the Golden Eagles Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 11/3/2022

Aberdeen Central could not pull off one last home win Thursday night.

After taking four out of five on the road the past two weeks, the Golden Eagles returned home to host Sioux Falls Jefferson in the regular season finale Thursday, but the fourth-ranked Cavaliers pushed back against every Golden Eagle rally to take a 3-0 sweep.

Jefferson won the non-conference volleyball match by set scores of 25-12, 28-26 and 25-21.

Central got off to an admittedly faltering start in the opening set, but put together a solid second set. The Golden Eagle bulldozed their way to a 24-21 lead late after Ashley Wangler and Grace Kuch teamed up for three blocks in a five-point stretch.

But the final set point proved elusive, as the Cavaliers staved off five different set points to take the 2-0 match lead.

“We’ve done that to a lot of teams this year,” said Central coach Jackie Bindenagel. “I can think of three or four times that we’ve had our backs against the wall and we’ve come back and won that. It’s frustrating when it happens to you.”

Central appeared undeterred at the outset of the third stanza, climbing out to a 5-2 lead, but could not hang on in the late going. Jefferson scored the final three points of the match to complete the sweep.

Kuch finished with nine kills and three blocks for the Golden Eagles. Wangler had seven kills, while Madi Aldridge tallied five kills in her final match at home.

Aberdeen Central’s Ayrlie Waldo, left and Taryn Nieman, center, defend the net as Sioux Falls Jefferson’s Brooke Thorstenson, right, reaches to hit the ball during Thursday night’s match at the Golden Eagles Arena. In the background for Central are Madie Aldridge, far right and Sydney Evans, back center. Photo by John Davis taken 11/3/2022

“I thought a bright spot of that match was Taryn Nieman and Grace Kuch,” Bindenagel said. “I thought they did a really nice job at the net. They got a fair amount of blocks, but they touched a ton (of balls) and helped our defense out as the match went on.”

Central, 13-12, will head out on the road for the SoDak 16 next Thursday, heading to Huron for a chance to play its way into the state tournament.

“Our kids are excited to play,” Bindenagel said. 

Serving: Aberdeen Central 55-59 4 aces (Arylie Waldo 13-14 2 aces, Sawyer Baher 11-12 2 aces).

Hitting: Aberdeen Central 80-100 27 kills (Grace Kuch 22-25 9 kills, Ashley Wangler 16-19 7 kills, Madi Aldridge 13-17 5 kills).

Setting: Aberdeen Central 81-83 24 assists (Waldo 76-78 22 assists).

Digs: Aberdeen Central 38 (Sydney Evans 14, Sawyer Bahr 9).

Blocks: Aberdeen Central 7 (Kuch 3, Taryn Nieman 2).

Records: Sioux Falls Jefferson 22-6; Aberdeen Central 13-12.

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