That was one of the lessons the Yankton volleyball team took out of Tuesday night’s showdown with Dakota Valley, the No. 2-ranked squad in Class A.
The Gazelles hung right with the Panthers in the first two sets and then couldn’t quite keep up in the third, and Dakota Valley left the YHS gym with a 25-18, 25-21, 25-13 sweep.
Another takeaway for Yankton (1-9)?
Positive signs can come from a number of places.
“Even though it’s tough to lose, we discovered that anyone can play on any given night,” head coach Heather Olson said.
“We had some kids come off the bench and make some really nice plays, and everyone out there had their moments.”
Yankton had a strong start to the opening set and at one point got to within 18-16. The Panthers, though, took control.
It was a similar story in set two, where the Gazelles built a 20-18 lead, only to see Dakota Valley rally with a late surge. The Panthers then controlled the pace early in set three — keyed by what Olson referred to as unforced errors by the Gazelles.
Junior Chloe McDermott led Yankton with nine kills, while junior Jillian Schulte had 15 set assists and freshman Camille McDermott added two ace serves. Junior Jordynn Salvatori chipped in with 25 digs and three blocks.
It was another step in a journey for the Gazelles, according to Olson.
“We always say this, but we’re getting there,” she said. “The chemistry is getting better. And the good thing is, I’ve never felt that we haven’t played hard.”
Dakota Valley (6-0), which has now beaten three Class AA opponents this season, got 12 kills and 15 digs from Sophia Atchison, as well as 11 kills and two blocks from Tori Schultz. Logan Miller tallied 37 set assists, Rachel Rosenquist had three blocks and Taylor Wilshire recorded 26 digs.
Yankton, which will hit the road for a Friday night match in Pierre, is looking to put everything together to turn the tides, according to Olson.
“We’re just looking for a few sparks to help us put it all together,” she said.
In sub-varsity action Tuesday night, Dakota Valley won the JV match 25-18, 25-23. For Yankton, Tatum Hohenthaner record3ed 26 digs, and Camille McDermott had four kills and 12 set assists.
Dakota Valley also won the sophomore match 25-22, 26-24. The Gazelles got three kills from Lina Bauer, seven digs from Addison Sedlacek, one ace from Camryn Koletzky and one assists from Allie Taggart.
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