The Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs secured their spot in the Region 1A championship volleyball match. They scored a 3-1 victory over the Webster Area Bearcats Thursday at the Milbank Armory.
With a large crowd on hand and an exciting night of volleyball, the Lady Bulldogs got out to a quick start in the first set with an early 10-4 lead. Webster Area inched back to even the score at 14-14 and then went ahead 14-17. The teams battled for each point, and Milbank Area crept back to knot the score at 23-23 before trading kills and again evening the score at 24-24. Webster Area committed two hitting errors to give the Lady Bulldogs the 26-24 first set win.
Milbank Area struggled to start the second set and fell behind early at 1-6. The Lady Bulldogs kept working hard and battled back to even the score at 10-10 with kills by Caryssa Mielitz, Rachelle Gabriel and Molly Rick. Milbank Area then went through another rough streak and trailed 12-15 and 15-21. The locals would come to within one point, but could not get over the hump and fell 23-25.
Milbank Area pulled together and started out with a 6-1 lead in the third set. The Lady Bulldogs maintained the lead throughout the remainder of the set and won 25-22.
Milbank Area was ready to put the match away and came out hot with an 11-1 advantage in the fourth set. The Lady Bulldogs hit on all cylinders and widened its gap to 20-6. Webster Area struggled and committed several errors while the Lady Bulldogs took advantage and secured the match victory at 25-13.
Mielitz led the Lady Bulldog attack with 29 kills on 74-80 hitting, one ace on 11-12 serving, 18 digs and one block. Gabriel followed with 14 kills on 26-27 hitting, four digs and three blocks. Rick tallied nine kills on 9-16 hitting, 19-19 serving with one ace and 20 digs while Katie Cannedy added four kills on 20-22 hitting, one ace on 17-17 serving, two assists and 31 digs.
Mikaela Hoeke went 110-112 setting with 39 assists, 20-22 serving, 14-18 hitting and had 23 digs. Mackayla Schuelke was 44-44 setting with eight assists, 15-15 serving and had 14 digs in the contest. Madi Schulte dropped in three aces on 12-12 serving, 7-7 setting with one assist and 26 digs for the Lady Bulldogs. Also contributing to the totals for Milbank Area were Tori Brandenburger, 6-6 hitting and two digs; MyKayla Thyne, four digs and Alexis Folk, 7-7 hitting.
Milbank Area will battle Groton Area for the Region 1A championship title Tuesday, November 10, at 7 p.m. at the Milbank Armory. The winner will advance to the state Class A high school volleyball tournament slated for November 19-21 in Sioux Falls.