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Golden Eagles move to 6-1 with sweep of Sturgis

Aberdeen Central’s Grace Kuch looks to serve the ball during Saturday’s match against Sturgis at the Golden Eagles Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 9/9/2023

Aberdeen Central did not miss a beat on Saturday.

The Golden Eagles led early and rolled to a 25-8, 25-13, 25-7 non-conference sweep over Sturgis at Golden Eagles Arena.

Central coach Jackie Bindenagel said the players knew what they were facing heading into the match.

“We knew that Sturgis was in a little bit of a rebuilding year, so we just wanted to take care of the ball when it came over, and I thought they did that today,” Bindenagel said.

The Golden Eagles jumped on top early in set one, leading 16-6 before a Sturgis timeout. After the timeout, Central finished the set on a 9-2 run and never looked back, despite comeback attempts from the Scoopers.

“We talked about how we just need to make a statement, and I think we did that,” Central outside hitter Grace Kuch said.

Bindenagel said there were many positive aspects that the team can take away from the win.

“We kept them out of system,” Bindenagel said. “They struggled to get the ball back over the net to us, so I thought we served really well.”

Kuch played a hand in the serving game as the senior led the team with six aces, while also contributing nine digs and seven kills.

“It was pretty cool,” Kuch said. “I don’t usually get a lot, but I didn’t go back there hoping for an ace every time. I just went where my coach told me to, and she knows best, and I got them.”

Bindenagel was pleased with how well Kuch served.

“Grace served really well for us,” Bindenagel said. “She served well and then we defended well behind her, so it was a good effort.”

Lauryn Burckhard led with 12 kills, while Ashley Wangler had seven kills. Madison Miller had nine digs, while Ayrlie Waldo led with 17 assists.

Aberdeen Central’s Ashley Wangler, right, reaches to tip the ball as Sturgis’ Avreigh Long, left and Norah Iverson, center, defend the net during Saturday’s match at the Golden Eagles Arena. Photo by John Davis taken 9/9/2023

Kuch said the win helps build momentum moving forward.

“I just think it’s good to get this one out of the way,” Kuch said. “We have a couple of tough teams coming up, so if we just stick to what we know, stick to our basics and our practices, I think we’ll be competing well with these teams.”

Central (6-1) will travel to Sioux Falls Lincoln on Tuesday, and Bindenagel says there is more work ahead of her team.

“We just always need to be a little quicker at the net up on the block,” Bindenagel said. “We’re going to face some really tough competition this week that have some really active kids in the front rows, so we need to be ready to go.”

Serving: Aberdeen Central 71-74 14 aces (Grace Kuch 21-21 6 aces, Ayrlie Waldo 18-18 3 aces, Sawyer Bahr 9-10 2 aces, Madison Miller 7-8 1 ace).

Hitting: Aberdeen Central 62-72 37 kills (Lauryn Burckhard 20-23 12 kills, Grace Kuch 11-11 7 kills, Ashley Wangler 11-12 7 kills, Taryn Nieman 8-11 6 kills).

Setting: Aberdeen Central 64-65 33 assists (Ayrlie Waldo 23-23 17 assists, Emma Dohrer 30-31 14 assists).

Digs: Aberdeen Central 33 digs (Grace Kuch 9 digs, Madison Miller 9 digs, Emma Dohrer 7 digs).

Blocks: Aberdeen Central 2 assists (Lauryn Burckhard 1 assist, Ashley Wangler 1 assist).

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