The MHS Lady Bulldogs volleyball team captured the Northeast Conference title with a 3-2 comeback victory over the Groton Area Tigers October 24, in the Milbank Armory. Milbank Area finished the regular season with a 17-6 record and a 10-0 record in the conference.
In the first two sets, the Lady Bulldogs fell 25-18 and 25-22. To start the third set, the teams were tied at 7-7. Milbank Area went on a run to take the lead at 11-7. Groton Area pulled to within one point at 18-17, but a kill by Molly Rick and an ace by Mackayla Schuelke extended the Lady Bulldogs’ lead to 20-17. Two consecutive kills by Rick and Caryssa Mielitz moved the score to 22-18, but the Tigers dropped in two kills. Jaecy Engebretson and Mielitz had back-to-back kills and the Lady Bulldogs led 24-20. Groton Area answered with a kill, but LaChasity Finley finished things off at 25-21 with a kill.
Early in the fourth set, Milbank Area held an 8-5 lead. Maty Lightfield dropped in an ace and Rick, Engebretson, and Mikaela Hoeke made kills to widen the gap to 12-6. Unforced errors by the Tigers and kills added by Rick gave Milbank Area a commanding 17-6 lead. Groton Area continued to commit errors and the Lady Bulldogs extended the lead to 21-9. Jaden Hoeke came up with a block to give Milbank Area the game-point 24-11 lead. Groton Area then hit the ball into the net to deliver the 25-11 victory to the Lady Bulldogs.
In the fifth set, Milbank Area found themselves trailing 6-3. Rick made back-to-back kills to pull to within one point at 6-5. Groton Area then committed two hitting errors. An ace by Milbank Area’s Schuelke evened the score at 8-8. The teams tied the score three more times before Mielitz and J. Hoeke secured kills to put Milbank Area ahead 13-11. J. Hoeke and Finley blocked a Groton Area kill, but the ball sailed out of bounds. Finley answered with a kill to put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 14-12. Rick then hit the ball into the net to bring Groton Area to within one point at 14-13. Rick pounded down a kill to secure the victory at 15-13.
Mielitz led the Lady Bulldogs with 33 kills on 74-81 hitting, four aces on 17-18 serving, 27 digs, and one block. Rick followed with 19 kills on 41-48 hitting, 15-16 serving, 4-4 setting, and 24 digs. Engebretson tallied four kills on 21-24 hitting, 16-17 serving, one assist on 6-6 setting, two digs, and one block. M. Hoeke added three kills on 11-13 hitting, one ace on 14-15 serving, 40 assists on 105-105 setting, 24 digs, and one block.
Other contributors were: Schuelke with 13 assists on 57-57 setting, two aces on 24-24 serving, and 14 digs; Madi Schulte with one assist on 9-9 setting, 2-2 serving, and 12 digs; J. Hoeke with one kill on 12-13 hitting, five assists on 12-12 setting, four digs, and one block; Finley with three kills on 5-8 hitting, 4-4 setting, and six digs; and Mady Lightfield, one ace on 11-12 serving, 2-2 setting, and 16 digs.
The team celebrates an ace by Mikaela Hoeke.