The Lady Bulldogs downed the Arlington Cardinals 3-1 in their volleyball home opener September 13, at the Milbank Armory. Milbank Area’s record improves to 5-3 with the victory.
“This is an exciting win for us,” stated head coach Nancy Hoeke. “I cannot remember the last time we beat Arlington.” The Cardinals are a Class B team with a solid, highly competitive team history.
Milbank Area started out strong with a 17-9 lead in the first set. Arlington fought back and pulled to within three points at 19-16, but then struggled with several unforced errors. The Lady Bulldogs took advantage of the mistakes and won the opening set 25-19.
Both teams tightened up their level of play in the second set and fought point by point by evening the score 11 times. At 18-18, Milbank Area committed two errors before Caryssa Mielitz pounded a hit down for a kill. Arlington then knotted the score up again at 20-20 with a hitting error.
The Lady Bulldogs struggled with keeping the ball in play and committed four straight errors. They battled back to 24-24 with kills by Molly Rick and Mikaela Hoeke and an ace by Mackayla Schuelke. The Cardinals then hit the ball into the net before finding an open hole on Milbank’s side of the court to even things up again at 25-25. Rick’s next hit was blocked and Arlington made another kill to win the second set at 27-25.
The teams see-sawed in the third set before the Lady Bulldogs found themselves trailing 16-11. M. Hoeke and Rick took charge on offense and helped bring Milbank Area back to even the score at 24-24. The Cardinals hit the ball into the net, putting the Bulldogs up by one point, before Mielitz fired down a kill to give the Lady Bulldogs the 26-24 set win.
The fourth set started out tightly contested with both teams playing in a similar fashion. The teams found occasional holes, but gave the other team a break with unforced errors. Milbank Area pushed ahead to 21-19 late in the set and took advantage of two hitting errors by the Cardinals to widen the gap to 23-19. The teams then exchanged points with offensive kills, but the Lady Bulldogs remained ahead 24-20. Mielitz closed out the victory for the Lady Dawgs with a big kill to win 25-20.
Mielitz and Rick led the Bulldog offense with 19 kills each. Mielitz went 45-54 hitting, 16-17 serving with two aces, 8-8 setting with one assist, and 11 digs. Rick was 39-47 hitting, 14-14 serving, 4-4 setting, with three assists and 19 digs. M. Hoeke followed with 10 kills on 16-18 hitting, two aces on 11-12 serving, 28 assists on 85-86 setting, and 21 digs. Jaecy Engebretson contributed five kills on 18-19 hitting and five digs and Mady Hilbrands went 7-7 hitting with one kill and one dig. Jaden Hoeke had one kill on 2-3 hitting and two assists on 5-5 setting.
Madi Schulte went 18-18 serving, 8-8 setting with three assists, 2-2 hitting and had 16 digs. Mackayla Schuelke tallied 15 assists on 59-60 setting, three aces on 19-19 serving, and had 14 digs. Maty Lightfield counted 13-14 serving, 2-2 setting, and five digs. LaChasity Finley added 3-3 setting and 1-1 hitting.
In Junior Varsity action, Arlington edged out Milbank Area 2-1. Scores were: 21-25; 25-23; and 10-15.
Milbank Area will host Sisseton Thursday, September 15, at the Milbank Armory. The C and JV matches will begin at 6 p.m. Varsity follows.