On Saturday, September 8, the Lady Bulldogs volleyball team loaded the bus early to travel to Montevideo, Minnesota. Milbank first played Wabasso, Minnesota, and they proved to be a tough rival. “Wabasso had a really great hitter. We couldn’t stop her; she scored a lot of points. We had to give credit to that team and realize our best game might still fall short,” said Coach Nancy Hoeke of the first sets. Despite Junior Jacey Engebretson’s leading stats – 7 kills, 4 assists, and 7 digs – the Bulldogs fell 10-25 and 14-25, in two.
Next up, was Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop (MN). The Lady Bulldogs triumphed in both sets – 25-17, and 25-19. Engebretson again led in attacks and assists with 9 kills and 13 assists. Senior Makayla Johnson added two solo blocks. Coach Hoeke said, “Excellent serving performance in this match – 47 of 49, for 96 percent is our best of the season! Good things happen when we can keep this kind of pressure on our opponent.”
The Bulldogs faced Renville County West (MN) for their third match-up of the day. Hoeke said, “The first two sets were good and competitive, but Renville’s quicker offensive style and tall setter were difficult to keep up with. We had a hard time reading what was coming at us.”
Milbank stayed close in the first set (21-25), took the second (25-22), but fell short in the third (15-25). Leading attackers were Johnson, Engebretson, and Cummins with nine, seven and five kills respectively.
The final loss to Renville put the Lady Bulldogs in the game to decide third place. They faced Paynesville, Minnesota. Despite their best effort and three very close sets, Milbank fell to their opponent on the last two sets. The Lady Dawgs took home fourth place.
“I’m really pleased with the girls for the effort and demeanor they showed in this match. It was a close and tough match going back and forth in points the entire way. The girls responded with competitiveness, effort, and smiles as they played. Losing 23-25 was, of course, disappointing, but they shook it off realizing they could be proud of their efforts. I think it’s great when they can enjoy competition more than letting the loss control their emotional state,” said Coach Hoeke
Scores of the last three sets were 25-21, 22-25, and 23-25. Jacey Engebretson led kills with 17. Gabbi Cummins led in assists with 16, and Katie Wollschlager led in digs with 13.