Lady Bulldogs Take Seventh At State The Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs ended their State Class A volleyball tournament on a positive note as they escaped with a 3-2 victory over Red Cloud to capture seventh place. The locals concluded their season with a 18-12 overall record.
The Lady Bulldogs got out to a good start in the first set with an 11-4 lead. Milbank Area widened the gap to 21-12 late in the set with an ace by Mikaela Hoeke. The team closed out the first set win with two kills by Caryssa Mielitz and a final kill by Katie Cannedy to win 25-17.
Milbank Area fell behind early in the second set at 8-15. The Lady Bulldogs slowly inched their way back into the contest with two kills by Rachelle Gabriel, one by Mielitz and four consecutive errors by Red Cloud. Milbank Area knotted the score at 17-17 and again at 23-23. Red Cloud belted out a kill and Mielitz hit the ball into the net to give the opponent the 23-25 win.
The Lady Bulldogs started out hot again in the third set with an 18-8 advantage. Red Cloud cut the deficit to eight points but would not get any closer, and Milbank Area went ahead 2-1 in the match with the 25-17 win.
The teams started off fairly even throughout the early stages of set four. Milbank Area surged ahead at 11-9 on a Red Cloud error. The Lady Bulldogs widened its gap to 13-9 with a kill by Cannedy and an ace by Madi Schulte. The locals sails deflated a bit when the down ref discovered an error in the serving rotation by the Lady Bulldogs. The error resulted in two points being taken off the board for Milbank Area and one point being added for Red Cloud to move the score to 11-10. The momentum then swung in favor of the opponents who went ahead 11-15. The Lady Bulldogs were unable to recover and fell 17-25 which pushed the match into the fifth and final set.
With the coin flip, Milbank Area remained on the side of the court where they fell in two of the four sets. The Lady Bulldogs broke the superstition and jumped out ahead at 11-4. A kill by Mielitz put the locals up 12-4 before getting another point on a Red Cloud error. Mielitz dropped in an ace to come within one point of the win. Gabriel took the team home with a big kill and the win at 15-4.
Mielitz led the Lady Bulldogs with 23 kills, eight aces and 12 digs. Gabriel followed with 12 kills, one block and nine digs. Molly Rick added five kills, four aces, two blocks and 12 digs. Cannedy tallied five kills, one ace and 19 digs. Mikaela Hoeke finished with 27 assists, three aces and 23 digs while Mackayla Schuelke added 14 assists, one ace and 15 digs. Other contributors were Madi Schulte, two aces, three assists and seven digs; Tori Brandenburger, one kill and two digs, and MyKayla Thyne, one dig.
Three seniors have been an inspiration on the team and completed their high school volleyball career on a high note. They were Rachelle Gabriel, Katie Cannedy and Tori Brandenburger.