The Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs slipped past Webster Area 3-2 in Northeast Conference high school volleyball action Thursday, September 8, on the road. The Lady Bulldogs improved to 4-3 on the season and 4-0 in the NEC with the victory.
However, the win did not come easily for the Lady Bulldogs. The two teams teetered back and forth all evening, but gave the fans their moneys worth of volleyball action.
Milbank Area got off to a solid start in the first set and led 7-3 early on. Webster pulled to within one point at 11-10 before the locals went on a four-point run with the help from Caryssa Mielitz. The Lady Bulldogs were looking confident, but the Bearcats sneaked up on them and knotted the score up at 19-19. The teams traded points and evened the score three more times before Milbank Area went ahead 24-23 with a Mielitz kill. A blocking error by the Lady Bulldogs tied the score at 24-24, and then Webster pounded out a kill to go ahead for the first time at 24-25. Another Milbank Area error ended the first set at 24-26.
The Lady Bulldogs pulled themselves together and began to rattle the Bearcats in the second set. Milbank Area held a commanding lead at 16-7 midway through the set, and continued the surge to even up the match at 1-1 with a 25-15 victory.
The teams battled it out for each and every point in the third set. With the scores tied 10 times, the Lady Bulldogs suddenly found themselves facing a 13-16 deficit. Milbank Area kept plugging away, and pulled to within one point several times, but could not secure the win as Webster took the third set 22-25.
The same type of back-and-forth action ensued in the fourth set. The teams exchanged points several times, before Webster started to waiver with a 16-12 Milbank Area advantage. The Lady Bulldogs extended its margin to 19-12 before struggling themselves. Webster pulled to within three points at 19-16 when Milbank Area made some substitution changes. Kills from Mikaela Hoeke, Molly Rick and Mielitz put the locals in charge at 23-19. The Bearcats then ended the set with two errors giving the Lady Bulldogs the 25-19 win and forcing the match into game five.
The tensions were high for both teams in the race to 15. Milbank Area started out a little slower and were down 4-6 when Coach Nancy Hoeke took a critical time out. The Lady Bulldogs battled back and knotted the score at 7-7 with a kill and an ace by Mielitz and a tip-kill by Rick. Two more kills by Rick gave the locals the 10-8 lead. Webster called a timeout to regroup themselves at 13-9. The Bearcats came out and committed an error to move Milbank Area ahead at 14-9. The Lady Bulldogs then committed two errors, but held on for the 15-12 victory.
Mielitz led the Lady Bulldogs with 25 kills on 58-65 hitting, two aces on 11-12 serving, 14 digs and two blocks. Rick followed with 14 kills on 37-44 hitting, one ace on 16-17 serving, 28 digs and two assists.
Hoeke contributed seven kills on 14-16 hitting, 28 assists on 90-91 setting, two aces on 20-21 serving, 30 digs and one block while Mackayla Schuelke added 12 assists on 50/50 setting, one ace on 12-13 serving and 16 digs.
Also assisted Milbank Area in the victory were Madi Schulte with 21 digs, four assists on 18-18 setting and 15-16 serving; Maty Lightfield, nine digs and one ace on 9-9 serving; Mady Hilbrands, two kills on 3-3 hitting, six digs and two blocks; Jaden Hoeke, two kills on 8-9 hitting, two assists, five digs and two blocks, and Jaecy Engebretson, three kills on 11-16 hitting, three digs and one block.
The Lady Bulldogs will finally play on their home court next week. Milbank Area will host Arlington Tuesday, September 13, and will host Sisseton Thursday, September 15.
Junior Varsity and C team – The Milbank Area junior varsity team fell to Webster Area 2-0 with scores of 25-18 and 25-17. The Milbank C team defeated the Bearcats 2-0.
Pictured is senior Mackayla Schuelke.