Tigers record sweep to earn victory against Brookings

PHOTOS BY MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN Above: Huron senior Bryn Huber was recognized for surpassing the 1,000-dig milestone during a match Thursday against Brookings at Huron Arena.

HURON – On a night that saw a big individual moment for senior libero Bryn Huber, the Huron Tigers moved to 10-1 with a 25-19, 25-23, and 25-18 sweep of the Brookings Bobcats at Huron Arena Thursday.

The first set opened with the two teams trading errors. Of the first 11 points recorded between both teams, eight were via either hitting or service error.

Huron’s passing put the Brookings defense into poor position early, forcing multiple hitting errors by the Bobcats, and after Brookings committed their seventh hitting error of the first set to make it 13-6 in favor of Huron, Brookings coach Sammy Miller called timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, Heavan Gainey had a directional kill and Hamtyn Heinz followed with a spike down of a Brookings over pass to push the Huron lead to 15-6. That’s when Huron’s own hitting struggles would come into play.

Missing corners and overshooting the back line cost Huron as Brookings went on a 6-0 run fueled by four Tiger hitting errors. Brynn Gose powered a hit through the arms of Bobcat blockers to end the run, but Brookings was able to cut the lead all the way down to 18-16.

Huron’s Elin Schoenhard spikes the ball during a match against Brookings on Thursday at Huron Arena.

Isabelle Ellwein hammered one kill from her outside spot and then followed up with a touch tip that left the Brookings defense flat-footed to bring the Tigers to 20-16, and Brookings couldn’t get momentum going again. Gainey had a big swing to finish off the set at 25-19.

Between the first and second set, a brief ceremony was held in honor of Huber, who recorded her 1,000th career dig during the first set. She became the eighth Tiger volleyball player to eclipse that mark.

Tiger coach Joshua Lien was effusive with his praise for his senior libero.

“When it comes to Bryn, I couldn’t be prouder to have had the opportunity to coach her the last two years” Lien raved. “We’re asking her 40-50 times per night to take on the hits of the best hitters in the state every single night. Super proud of Bryn for three solid years of play.”

An early Gose kill in the second set turned into the only Huron points early as the Bobcats jumped out to a 5-1 lead to open the second frame.

A service error, a hitting error, and a pair of kills from Elin Schoenhard gave Huron the lead at 6-5. Huron would not trail the rest of the evening.

After getting just two kills in the first set, Gose began heating up in the middle of the second set, at one point earning three Huron points in a row with three very different hits, going cross court, then powering down the middle, and finishing with her left-hand on a tip that seemed to even surprise her own teammates.

The Tigers were able to build up a four-point margin before a trio of hitting errors again erased that margin, bringing the Bobcats within one at 20-19. Gose got two of the next three points then Ellwein added a cross-court shot to put Huron up 23-20. After a Bobcat timeout, Karsyn Kopfmann took a quick set from Heinz and slammed it down before the Brookings defense could react, putting the Tigers at set point, 24-20.

After a Huron hitting error, Gracie Adamson scored a pair of service aces to bring Brookings within one at 24-23, drawing a timeout from Coach Lien. After the timeout, the two teams rallied for a long time before Huron was found out of position and Kopfmann saved the ball over her head, finding a hole in the Brookings defense and ending the set at 25-23.

Huron came out strong in the third set, and it wasn’t until a Tayla Dobreski kill to bring the Bobcats within 6-3 that a point went on the board for reasons other than a Tiger kill or a Tiger error.

The Tigers showed an adjusted attack in the final set, and a hitting attack that would commit 19 errors on the evening committed just five in the final set, and Brookings hitters found less holes in the back of the Tiger attack as well.

The Tigers led by as many as 10 at 24-14 before Brookings went on a last-gasp 4-0 run, but a Gose kill ended things with a 25-18 set win and the match sweep.

Huron’s Emma Ross plays a volley during Thursday’s match.

Lien said the adjustment in the third set cleaned up errors that the team can’t afford to make against premium opponents.

“We gave them 10 service errors and 19 hitting errors,” the coach stated. “I look forward to cleaning that up.”

“We had to make some blocking adjustments,” Lien continued. “They really didn’t go away. It wasn’t pretty. I appreciate that we got out of here in three.”

Huron saw a balanced hitting attack with Gose and Gainey each tallying 11 kills. Kopfmann and Schoenhard each nailed seven kills while Ellwein had six kills.

Brookings fell to 3-9 with the loss. Adamson, Gracey Sheridan, and Dobrenski each had six kills for the Bobcats.

Brookings took the JV match by scores of 25-21, 20-25, and 15-12. Brookings also swept the sophomore match 25-17 and 26-24. Huron swept the freshman game 25-18 and 25-20.

The Tigers will square off with annual Class “B” powerhouse Northwestern to open the Sanford Pentagon Tournament in Sioux Falls on Saturday.

This is the first year that the Tigers will participate in the tourney, and Coach Lien is excited to see how his team responds.

“I’m excited to see how the tournament goes. It should be a lot of good volleyball,” Lien remarked. “We just need to keep pushing hard and working hard in practice.”


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