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Golden Eagles fall to top-rated Harrisburg

Aberdeen Central’s Ayrlie Waldo, center, digs out a serve during a match against Spearfish earlier this season at Golden Eagles Arena. Waldo had 10 digs and 19 set assists in a setback at Harrisburg Thursday night. Photo by John Davis taken 9/8/2023

HARRISBURG – Playing without its top hitter, Aberdeen Central pushed top-rated Harrisburg before falling in straight sets Thursday night. The unbeaten Tigers secured a 25-12, 25-17, 30-28 Eastern South Dakota Conference volleyball victory. Both teams entered the match unbeaten in ESD action.

Trying to take down Harrisburg on its home-court is one thing, but having to do it minus a senior leader is another. Central lost Grace Kuch to a knee injury in warmups.

While the first set was a bit rough, the Golden Eagles improved as the match wore on and went toe-to-toe with Harrisburg to close out the match, extending the third set to five extra points.

“I’m so proud of our kids,” said Central coach Jackie Bindenagel. “During set one they just figured a few things out, and then settled in and battled the rest of the night.”

Gabi Zachariasen finished with a match-leading 22 kills to lead Harrisburg.

Central racked up 40 digs on the evening led by Sawyer Bahr with 15 and Ayrlie Waldo with 10.

“Our defense was great against one of the best offenses in the state,” Bindenagel said.

Lauryn Burckhard topped a balanced Central hitting attack with seven kills. Alivia Miller followed with five and Kenadi Withers contributed four.

The Eagles, 13-7 on the season, host Mitchell in another conference match on Tuesday at Golden Eagles Arena.

Serving: Aberdeen Central 50-56 4 aces (Madison 12-13 1 ace, Sawyer Bahr 11-12 1 ace, Ayrlie Waldo 9-9 1 ace, Emma Dohrer 8-8 1 ace); Harrisburg 6 aces (Maggie Meister 3, Karalynn Leach 2).

Hitting: Aberdeen Central 80-96 23 kills (Lauryn Burckhard 20-24 7 kills, Alivia Miller 16-21 5 kills, Kenadi Withers 17-18 4 kills); Harrisburg 38 kills (Gabi Zachariasen 22, Leach 5).

Setting: Aberdeen Central 94-94 21 assists (Waldo 87-87 19 assists); Harrisburg 37 assists (Josalyn Samuels 36).

Digs: Aberdeen Central 40 (Bahr 15, Waldo 10); Harrisburg 52 (Meister 17, Kennady Kokenge 11).

Blocks: Aberdeen Central 2 solo 2 assists (Waldo 1 solo, Withers 1 solo, Ashley Wangler 1, Burckhard 1); Harrisburg 3.

Records: Aberdeen Central 13-7; Harrisburg 18-0.

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