Things were a little shaky, but eventually the Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs pulled together and secured a 3-1 victory over Clark-Willow Lake Thursday, September 22, at the Milbank Armory. The locals improve to 8-3, are perfect in the Northeast Conference at 6-0, and are on a five game win streak.
Milbank Area got out to a slow start and trailed 13-7. The Lady Bulldogs plugged away and came back to even the score at 14-14 midway through the first set. The teams teetered back and forth, point-by-point, all the way to 24-24. The Cyclones hit the ball into the net, before Molly Rick belted out a kill to win 26-24.
The Lady Bulldogs again came out flat in the second set and fell behind early at 10-4. Rick led a late surge with four consecutive kills to pull to 21-16, but Milbank Area could not overcome the deficit and fell 25-18.
Back and forth the score went throughout much of the third set. Late in the set, the Lady Bulldogs trailed by one point at 18-17 but quickly fell behind at 20-17. Two big kills by Jaecy Engebretson and Caryssa Mielitz cut the gap to 20-19. Both teams battled it out and upped the score to 22-22 before the Lady Bulldogs took charge. Mielitz pounded down two kills to overtake the lead at 24-22. Clark-Willow Lake then hit the ball into the net, giving Milbank Area the 25-22 win.
Set four was a complete turnaround from the first three sets. The Lady Bulldogs regained their composure while the Cyclones seemed to dwindle. Milbank Area took charge early with an 8-0 advantage. The locals held a commanding 20-10 lead midway through the set. Big kills by Mikaela Hoeke, LaChasity Finley and Gabbi Cummins pushed the Lady Bulldogs ahead to 24-12 before Madi Schulte secured the 25-12 victory with an ace.
Mielitz led the attack for Milbank Area with 21 kills on 51-61 hitting, 5-8 serving, 9-9 setting and nine digs. Rick followed closely with 19 kills on 35-42 hitting, one ace on 22-24 serving and 26 digs. M. Hoeke tallied three kills on 16-17 hitting, 36 assists on 96-97 setting, 18-18 serving and 10 digs while Engebretson added three kills on 9-9 hitting, 4-4 setting and two digs. Mady Hilbrands contributed three kills on 5-7 hitting with Cummins going 5-7 hitting with two kills, one dig and one block.
Also leading the Lady Bulldogs were Mackayla Schuelke with nine assists on 36-36 setting, one ace on 12-12 serving and 19 digs; Schulte with one ace on 17-19 serving, three assists on 4-4 setting and six digs; Maty Lightfield with one ace on 14-14 serving and five digs; Jaden Hoeke with two assists on 8-8 setting and one kill on 1-6 hitting, and Finley with two kills on 6-8 hitting.
Milbank will host the annual Eastern Volleyball Classic Saturday, September 24, at the Milbank Armory. Eight teams will battle for the championship title. Milbank Area will take on Tri-Valley in the opening round at 10 a.m. Tea Area and Winner will face off also at 10 a.m. Dakota Valley will face Sisseton and Chamberlain and Elk Point-Jefferson will face off with both matches at approximately 11:30 a.m. The remainder of the schedule will roll. All teams are guaranteed three matches with all eight places being played out.
Pictured is freshman starter Jaecy Engebretson