The Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs celebrated another stellar high school volleyball season with an awards ceremony over Christmas vacation.
Several awards were given by head coach Nancy Hoeke. Four seniors were presented plaques to commemorate their achievements. Caryssa Mielitz was named co-most valuable player and co-team captain. She led the team with 450 kills, averaging 23% for the season. She also had the most aces on the team with 58, and was the third highest in digs with 349. Caryssa was selected to the All-State second team and All-Northeast Conference team.
Senior Mikaela Hoeke was also named co-most valuable player and co-team captain for the season. She was the assist leader with 632, and had the highest serving percentage at 95% while going 358-for-376. She was the second highest on the team in digs with 352. Mikaela earned All-tournament honors at the State Class A volleyball tournament. She was also named to the All-State second team as well as to the All-Northeast Conference team.
Senior Mackayla Schuelke was named the most inspirational player on the team. She had a high serving percentage of 93%, going 242-for-259. Senior Madi Schulte was named the most positive and supportive teammate. She also had a high serving percentage of 92%, serving 193-for-209.
Mielitz, Hoeke and Schuelke were also named to the Academic All-State team for their contributions in the classroom. To receive the award, the player must participate in the sport for at least three seasons and maintain a 3.5 grade point average or higher throughout their high school career.
Junior Molly Rick was named the hardest worker this season. She led the team in digs with 461, and was the second highest on the team in kills with 272. Junior Maty Lightfield received recognition for having the best attitude. She had the highest serving percentage on the team with 95%, and went 259-for-272 serving on the season.
Sophomore Jaden Hoeke was named co-most improved player of the season and led the team in blocks with 15. Freshman Jaecy Engebretson was honored as the co-most improved player. She also had a good serving percentage with 92%, going 222-for-241 on the season.
Varsity members who earned their Major M award were Caryssa Mielitz, Mikaela Hoeke, Mackayla Schuelke, Madi Schulte, Mady Hilbrands, Molly Rick, Maty Lightfield, Katie VanderWal, LaChasity Finley, Jaden Hoeke, Gabbi Cummins, Jaecy Engebretson, and student managers Abby Weber, Christena Whitman and Morgan Raffety.
Members of the JV and C team who earned Minor M certificates were Elisabeth Schwenn, Katie Wollschlager, Makayla Johnson, Tonya Meyer, Kylie Kasuske, Sadie Holland, Kimberly Van Sambeek, Anna Mathews, Amy Nelson, Kellie Christians, Morgan Schafer, Cassidy Christians, Haeli Teske, Hali Anderson, Tracy Pillatzki, Elsie Rogers, Kylie Roggenbuck, Taylor Hartman, Kayla Bury and Abby Michels.
The Lady Bulldogs finished the season with a 20-8 overall record and a seventh place finish at the state Class A tournament.
Pictured above: back row, left to right, Jaden Hoeke, Maty Lightfield, Jaecy Engebretson and Madi Schulte. Front row, Caryssa Mielitz, Molly Rick, Mackayla Schuelke and Mikaela Hoeke.