The Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs punched their ticket to the state Class A high school volleyball tournament with an exciting 3-0 victory over the... The Lady Bulldogs Are Headed To State


The Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs punched their ticket to the state Class A high school volleyball tournament with an exciting 3-0 victory over the Groton Area Tigers tonight at the Milbank Armory. The Lady Bulldogs captured the Region 1A championship title with the win.

The teams battled point-by-point throughout the entire match. Milbank Area got an early 3-0 lead in the first set. Groton Area came back to knot the score  3-3. The match teetered back and forth and was tied 11 times before the locals went ahead 22-18. Groton Area cut the deficit to 22-20 with two kills. A serving error by the Tigers put Milbank Area ahead 23-20 before Molly Rick and Mikaela Hoeke blocked a hit to widen the gap 24-20. Groton Area belted out a kill to keep the match going, but Rick finished it off at 25-21 with a big kill.

The second set remained as close as the first. Milbank Area battled for each point and pushed ahead 16-12 midway through the set. The Lady Bulldogs kept plugging away and fought for every ball. The locals extended its lead to 20-15. Groton Area pulled to within three points at 21-18. Caryssa Mielitz and Katie Cannedy each added a kill to move ahead 24-19. Mielitz dropped in an ace to win the second set at 25-19.

Both teams played even throughout the third set. Groton Area went ahead early on at 8-10 before the Lady Bulldogs pulled even at 12-12, which was the last time the Tigers would hold the advantage. Milbank Area pushed ahead at 20-15 with a block by Rachelle Gabriel. With the score at 22-16, the Lady Bulldogs began to taste the victory. Groton Area hit the ball into the net to widened the gap for Milbank Area at 23-16. Another Tiger error gave the Lady Bulldogs the 24-16 edge. A error by the locals moved the score to 24-17 before Groton Area committed another error, and the Lady Bulldogs took the third set at 25-17.

Mielitz led the locals attack with 14 kills on 41-45 hitting, two aces on 15-15 serving and 13 digs. Rick followed with nine kills on 18-19 hitting, three aces on 12-13 serving, seven digs and one assisted block. Gabriel tallied seven kills on 12-16 hitting and one block while Katie Cannedy added three kills on 15-18 hitting, one ace on 12-12 serving and 11 digs. Mikaela Hoeke went 67-67 setting with 24 assists, 12-14 serving with two aces, 11 digs and one assisted block. Mackayla Schuelke was 16-16 setting with five assists, 12-12 serving with two aces and 10 digs. Leading the defense was Madi Schulte with 16 digs. She also went 6-6 serving. Alexis Folk added one solo block to round out the totals for the Lady Bulldogs.
 The State Class A tournament is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, November 19-21, at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. Milbank Area secured the number seven seed and will face number two seeded Sioux Falls Christian at 7:45 p.m. Thursday.
In other first round matchups, #1 Mt. Vernon-Planinton will take on #8 Red Cloud; #4 Sioux Valley will battle #5 Spearfish, and #3 Dakota Valley will face #6 Mobridge-Pollock.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. All seats are general admission.

Staff Writer

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