After 17 consecutive losses, the Yankton volleyball team finally got to celebrate a victory.

And ‘finally’ was one of the first things said by senior Gabby Pietila following a 25-22, 25-16, 25-23 sweep of Mitchell on Tuesday night at the YHS gym.

“All that hard work finally paid off with a win,” Pietila said. “It showed what we’re capable of when we play together and finish like that.”

The Gazelles (1-17) were sharp from the opening serve and were able to string things together more than they had in a match all season.

The result was a long-awaited celebration.

“I am so happy for them,” head coach Shanna Koenig said.

“I’m glad they got a chance to feel this. This is what we’ve been working toward for a long time.”

After feeling like they had played a solid match last Thursday in a 3-0 loss to Brookings, the Gazelles spent time analyzing film and dissecting what they were doing wrong and what was working, according to Koenig.

“What they did, we can do so much more of that,” she said. “It was a thing of beauty to watch us play like that for an entire match.”

Mitchell (3-16), which came in as the No. 15 seed in the Class AA seed points standing, pushed Yankton in the final set — getting to within 24-23.

A kill from Pietila, though, ended the match.

“That was amazing,” she said. “To end it like that and know we finally got one, that was awesome.”

Yankton will now have a week off before hosting Brandon Valley next Tuesday. From there, the Gazelles will then play five west river teams on Oct. 25-26 in Harrisburg.

“I think this will help tremendously,” Pietila said. “We’ll get to play some new teams that are the near bottom like we are, but we just beat the 15 seed, so there’s more confidence now.”

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