The Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs battled for five sets but suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Bon Homme in the opening round of the State Class A high school volleyball tournament in Watertown Thursday, November 17.
In the most evenly matched contest of the entire season, both teams played on top of their game all night and battled for each and every point. The score teetered back and forth and stayed close each set.
Early in the first set, Bon Homme went on a small run and went ahead 7-4. The Lady Bulldogs came back to knot things up at 8-8. The score went back and forth until Milbank Area soared ahead at 19-15. The opponent pulled to within two points at 21-19 before they committed two hitting errors, giving the Lady Bulldogs the 23-19 advantage. Bon Homme belted out a kill, and then had a setting error to pull Milbank Area to within one point of the victory. A Lady Bulldog error closed the gap to 24-21. The set ended at 25-21 in Milbank Area’s favor with an error by Bon Homme.
The tight contest continued into the second set. Milbank Area trailed early at 7-3, but came back to even the score at 9-9. The locals again fell behind at 14-11, but once again came screaming back to knot the score at 16-16. Back and forth the score went, point by point and was tied up three more times to 22-22. Three consecutive errors by the Lady Bulldogs game Bon Homme the 25-22 win.
The battle continued in the third set. The score was tied up five times until Milbank Area went on a four point run to go ahead 11-7. The Lady Bulldogs maintained the lead throughout the rest of the set and went ahead in the match 2-1 with the 22-16 third set victory.
The same type of match continued throughout the fourth set. Milbank Area fell behind early but battled back to even the score at 12-12. The Lady Bulldogs then struggled with some unforced errors and fell behind at 20-15, which they were unable to recover from. Bon Homme claimed the fourth set at 25-19.
With the fans on the edges of their seats, Milbank Area continued to fight for every point. The score was even nine times before settling at 10-10. Bon Homme’s big middle hitter took charge and belted out four consecutive kills to lift the opponent to 13-10. An error by the Bon Homme closed the gap to 13-11, but Milbank Area was unable to stop the kills from falling, and the locals fell 15-12.
Caryssa Mielitz led the Lady Bulldogs with 28 kills on 63-69 hitting, three aces on 16-19 serving, two assists on 8-8 setting and 20 digs. Molly Rick followed with 16 kills on 41-52 hitting, 15-18 serving, 10-10 setting, 17 digs and one block. Mikaela Hoeke tallied 40 assists on 85-87 hitting, three aces on 19-20 serving, three kills on 20-23 hitting, 18 digs and one block. Jaecy Engebretson contributed eight kills on 28-29 hitting, 13-13 serving, 2-2 setting, 11 digs and one block. Jaden Hoeke had three assists on 19-19 setting, six digs and one block.
Other team leaders in the contest were Mackayla Schuelke, nine assists on 43-43 setting, three aces on 15-15 serving and 19 digs; Madi Schulte, one assist on 9-9 setting, 3-4 hitting and nine digs; Maty Lightfield, 10-11 serving and 11 digs; Gabbi Cummins, three kills on 7-9 hitting, 5-5 setting and three digs; Mady Hilbrands, 2-2 setting and two digs, and LaChasity Finley, 1-1 hitting and one dig.
Milbank Area will play at 1:45 p.m. Friday, November 18, against the winner of the Madison and Sioux Falls Christian match.