The Lady Bulldogs volleyball team hosts Deuel in their season opener Tuesday, August 29, at the Milbank Armory. The C and JV game begin... Lady Bulldog Volleyball Team Resets

The Lady Bulldogs volleyball team hosts Deuel in their season opener Tuesday, August 29, at the Milbank Armory. The C and JV game begin at 6 p.m. Varsity follows.

Leading the team, are returning senior starters Molly Rick and Maty Lightfield. Juniors Gabbi Cummins and Jaden Hoeke both return, as does sophomore Jaecy Engebretson. “Molly was our second leading kill-getter last year and an important part of our team,” says MHS Head Volleyball Coach Nancy Hoeke. “She plays all the way around and also led our team in digs.”

Hoeke, in her 17th season as the Lady Bulldog’s head coach, holds a 339-132-5 record. She is assisted by junior varsity coach, Nancy Paulson, and C team coach, Kelli Hoff.

To motivate them, the Lady Bulldogs have adopted the motto Rise Together – Adversity causes some athletes to break, others to break records. “We might take our lumps at the start of the season,” says Hoeke. “It’s going to take some time for the girls to take on their roles and accept what each player can bring to the team, but I have confidence that we will end in a good place.”

“We lost key seniors from last year’s team that placed seventh in the state tournament,” says Hoeke. “But we have five players back with lots of varsity experience. Now they will be the ones to lead, instead of riding the backs of last year’s seniors. I believe they are up for the challenge.”

Milbank captured the 2017 Northeast Conference title with a perfect 10-0 record. They were 20-8 overall with back-to-back seventh place finishes at the State Class A tournament. Hoeke says, “This year’s team will need to learn it’s not an easy road to play at the highest level. They have experience playing in highly competitive matches including the Sweet 16 and State. So, hopefully they can look to that as a confidence booster.”

Another change finds Milbank competing in a tournament in Montevideo, Minnesota, instead of attending the Sioux Falls Christian tournament. “We will get a chance to see some different teams,” Hoeke says.

This year also sees Clark-Willow Lake and Britton-Hecla moving to Class B. “They are still in our conference, but no longer in our Region,” says Hoeke. “And Redfield-Doland is moving back into our Region.”

2017 Girls Volleyball Schedule

Date Time Opponent Location
Aug 29 6:00 p.m. CT Deuel Milbank
Aug 31 7:30 p.m. CT Aberdeen Roncalli Milbank
Sep 07 6:00 p.m. CT Webster Area Milbank
Sep 09 9:00 a.m. CT Unknown Opponent Montevideo, MN
Sep 12 6:00 p.m. CT Arlington Arlington
Sep 14 6:00 p.m. CT Sisseton Sisseton
Sep 19 6:00 p.m. CT Sioux Valley Milbank
Sep 21 6:00 p.m. CT Clark/Willow Lake Clark
Sep 23 10:00 p.m. CT Unknown Opponent Tri-Valley
Sep 26 6:00 p.m. CT Tiospa Zina Milbank
Sep 28 6:00 p.m. CT Hamlin HEC
Oct 03 6:00 p.m. CT Deubrook Area Milbank
Oct 05 6:00 p.m. CT Ortonville, MN Milbank
Oct 10 7:30 p.m. CT Madison Madison
Oct 12 6:00 p.m. CT Redfield/Doland Milbank
Oct 14 12:00 Northwestern Mellette
Oct 17 6:00 p.m. CT Sisseton Milbank
Oct 20 6:00 p.m. CT Britton-Hecla Britton
Oct 23 6:00 p.m. CT Groton Area Groton

Seniors pictured, left to right, Sadie Holland, Molly Rick, Katie Vander Wal and Maty Lightfield.

Staff Writer

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