The Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs high school volleyball team departed for the State Class A tournament today with well-wishes from classmates, teachers, parents and families at a farewell sendoff. The Region 1A champions were escorted out of town by a local firetruck, driven by Fire Chief Kevin Schuelke, father of junior starter Mackayla Schuelke.
The Lady Bulldogs are headed back to the big stage after a six-year dry spell. “It feels really great to be region champs,” said head coach Nancy Hoeke. “I am thrilled to take this group of players to the state tournament.”
None of the players on this year’s team have experienced the thrill of a state tournament, but have high hopes of continuing their “Cinderella” season. “Everyone is excited,” said Hoeke. “I don’t think the nerves have hit them yet.”
Number seven-seeded Milbank Area (17-10) will face number-two seeded Sioux Falls Christian (26-4) in its opening game of the tournament Thursday at 7:45 p.m. at the Denny Sanford Premiere Center in Sioux Falls. The Lady Bulldogs battled the opponent early this season and fell in two matches 2-0 and 2-1. “They are a really good team,” stated Hoeke. “They can do it all. We have watched film on them to learn about their tendencies. We have to have our best effort. There is no room for mental or physical errors.” Sioux Falls Christian is seeking to defend its Class A title.
The winner will play Friday at 7:45 p.m. with the loser taking the court at 1:45 p.m. The team is guaranteed three games. The seventh/eighth place match is slated for 9 a.m. Saturday while the consolation championship is set for 10:45 a.m. The third/fourth place teams will face off at 12:30 p.m. with the Class A championship set for 6 p.m.
Keep up with The Valley Express for your complete state tournament results.