The Milbank Lady Bulldogs high school volleyball team kick off their season tomorrow night, Thursday, August 29, when they host their Northeast Conference rival,... Lady Bulldogs Get Set for First Volleyball Match Thursday

The Milbank Lady Bulldogs high school volleyball team kick off their season tomorrow night, Thursday, August 29, when they host their Northeast Conference rival, Aberdeen Roncalli.
Five seniors will be looked upon to lead the locals this year. Jaecy Engebretson led the team in aces, kills, and assists last season and was second on the team in digs. “We will look to her for more awesome performances,” stated Lady Bulldog head coach Nancy Hoeke. Tracy Pillatzki was third in blocks last year and will be a valuable leaper at the net. Setter Amy Nelson will provide beneficial leadership and energy, according to Coach Hoeke. Cassidy Christians plays a skilled back row. “She is a determined player,” added Hoeke. “And Elsie Rogers shows good potential and will have opportunities to fill a role on this team.”

Other returning players that will contribute to the teams’ success are junior Madi Thue and freshman Hallie Schulte.
Coach Hoeke is in her 19th season at the helm. She is adjusting to a new coaching crew this year. She will be assisted by Kelli Hoff and Nicole Berg. “They are doing a good job in their new roles,” she expressed. “We work good together. They have been in charge of warm up and end of practice workouts, so we have had some variety and new ideas so far.”

The Lady Bulldogs were 6-4 in the Northeast Conference last year and ended with a 15- 15 overall record. “It would be great if we could repeat those performances,” said Hoeke. “Our success is going to depend on hard work and being tough on defense. We will need to keep the ball alive long enough to get our hitters good opportunities.”
Hoeke also noted that the team will not have a lot of depth on its roster this year. “If someone is having an off night or gets hurts, it will take a toll on us,” she mentioned. “I’m not sure what our ability will be to put the ball away. It’s hard to score when you can’t do that. I hope for some surprises there!”

Hoeke feels Roncalli, Redfield, Groton, and Hamlin will be tough teams the locals will face. “They had good seasons last year and have many returning players,” she noted. “Webster, Deuel, and Clark-Willow Lake all graduated a number of starters like we did, but have a few returning, so I think those will be good match-ups for us.”

Following is the complete schedule for the Lady Bulldogs this season:
August 29 – home with Aberdeen Roncalli – 5 p.m.
September 3 – home with Deuel – 6 p.m.
September 5 – home with Webster Area – 6 p.m.
September 7 – varsity tournament at Montevideo, MN – 9 a.m.
September 12 – at Sisseton – 5 p.m.
September 17 – at Summit vs. Waubay/Summit – 6 p.m.
September 19 – at Clark/Willow Lake – 6 p.m.
September 24 – home with Sioux Valley – 6 p.m.
September 26 – at Hamlin – 5 p.m.
September 28 – varsity tournament at Dakota Valley – 10 a.m.
September 30 – home with Ortonville – 6 p.m.
October 5 – at Lac Qui Parle Valley, MN – 11 a.m.
October 8 – home with Deubrook Area – 6 p.m.                                                                                                                October 10 – home with Redfield – 6 p.m.
October 15 – at Madison – 5 p.m.
October 17 – at Britton-Hecla – 6 p.m.
October 19 – varsity tournament here – 9 a.m.
October 22 – home with Waverly-South Shore – 6 p.m.
October 25 – at Groton Area – 6 p.m.
October 28 – home with Tiospa Zina – 6 p.m.
November 5 – Region 1A first round match – 7 p.m.
November 7 – Region 1 A second round match – 7 p.m.
November 12 – SoDak 16 match – TBD
November 21-23 – State tournament at Rapid City

Photo – courtesy of VPD Studio
Back row, left to right – Hallie Schulte, Elsie Rogers, Tracy Pillatzki, Cassidy Christians, Amy Nelson, Jaecy Engebretson, and Avery Engebretson.
Front row, left to right – Jessica Van Perusem, Siri Bien, Madi Thue, and Shelby Lee.

Staff Writer

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