Yankton opened their 2019 volleyball season with a tough test. For the only time this season, the Gazelles welcomed Huron to the Summit Center for an Eastern South Dakota Conference match, but the visiting Tigers earned a 25-10, 25-19, 25-19 sweep of the hosts Tuesday night.

“We were really pretty optimistic coming into tonight,” said Yankton head coach Shanna Ibarolle-Koenig. “Huron always has a good team and a tradition, but it was nice to play, get the jitters out and to see where we’re at.

“You can practice and practice, but you need to see some different competition on the other side of the net,” Ibarolle-Koenig added. “It gives us a new place to start with our practices.”

“Yankton is a very athletic team; I am glad we’re playing them now because they’re going to get better and better,” said Huron head coach Shelly Buddenhagen. “Good things are going to happen for Yankton.”

The Gazelles were within 8-5 in the match’s opening tilt after a powerful kill from senior Carissa Salvatori.

However, the Tigers took control with a 7-point spurt with Libby Rounds serving.

Rounds dealt a pair of aces and junior setter Tenley Buddenhagen placed a set for a kill as Huron took a 15-5 lead on their way to a 25-10 game-1 win.

The Gazelles reeled off a 9-0 run in the 2nd game with Jillian Schulte behind the service line.

Schulte served up a pair of aces as Chloe McDermott and Gabby Pietila each had kills pushing the Gazelles to a 10-4 lead.

However, Huron battled back for a 14-13 lead after a hard kill from Alaina Dale.

Yankton led 18-17 after a block from Pietila and two net-attacks from the Tigers, but Huron’s all-state libero Havyn Heinz had back-to-back ace serves to push Huron to a 2-0 match lead with a 25-19 game-2 win.

Huron jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the third game, but Yankton battled back to within 17-14 after Lilly Thoms beat a pair of Tigers blockers with an attack, and Salvatori had a kill.

Huron took advantage of Yankton’s 12th serving error of the night, Mikena Moore wound up for a laser-kill and the Tigers completed the 3-0 sweep with a 25-19 game-3 win.

“The team was more united than they were at this point last year,” Ibarolle-Koenig said. “We are building a positive culture, and there is this sense that the girls feel that they are in this together.”

Pietila had eight kills and a serving ace for Yankton (0-1). McDermott added five kills as Thoms had four block-assists and Salvatori added 11 digs.

The Gazelles will visit Watertown Thursday night while Huron hosts Douglas Saturday morning.

Yankton won the JV action 25-23, 16-25 and 16-14 as McDermott had five kills and Britta Pietila had four kills.

Huron won the sophomore game 2-0. Emily Reinhardt served up three aces for Yankton as Tatum Hohenthaner had 10 digs and Regan Garry set for four assists.

Yankton’s Morgan Milk served up an ace, but Huron won the freshman ‘A’ game 25-12 and 25-13.

Alexis Zimmerman had three serving aces for the Gazelles in the freshman ‘B’ match, but Huron prevailed 25-12, 25-19.

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