The Lady Bulldogs came back from a first set loss to secure a 3-1 victory over the Clark-Willow Lake Cyclones Thursday, September 19, in Clark. Milbank’s record moves to 4-6 with the win.
“Amy Nelson didn’t play due to an ankle sprain,” said head coach Nancy Hoeke. “So, we used a lineup we hadn’t practice with. That always causes some confusion, but it ended up that the girls did a great job and made it work!”
The score was tied seven times up to 10-10. Milbank then committed unforced errors and fell behind 11-15. They couldn’t overcome the deficit and fell 18-25.
“After being tied at 10-10, we made 10 errors to give Clark the match,” said Hoeke. “When every error is a point for the opponent, we have to become better disciplined and not make so many mistakes. The girls looked a little dejected at the end of the first set. I told them, ‘“This isn’t over! We just need to make some adjustments on defense and then compete harder and raise the level of intensity and come out in the second set strong and not get behind right away.’”
Milbank then soared ahead 7-1 in the second set. Clark-Willow Lake pulled to within three points at 13-11, but the Lady Bulldogs settled in and took control at 19-15. Tracy Pillatzki and Madi Thue each belted out a kill, and Jaecy Engebretson and Averie Engebretson dropped in three serving aces to seal the win at 25-17.
“The girls did a much better job of playing with intensity and fighting for each point in the second set,” added Hoeke. “Jaecy and Madi were ‘on’ with their attacking… Hallie’s (Schulte) passing and defense was really good. She is very accurate and passes the ball in a way that allows us to be offensive.”
In the third set, Milbank took an early 6-1 lead. Thue and J. Engebretson attacked the net and pounded out several kills to widen the margin to 17-10. The surge by the offense continued, and the Lady Bulldogs maintained control at 24-21. Milbank won the set at 25-21 on an error by the Cyclones.
Milbank also jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the fourth set. The Cyclones came back to even the score at 7-7 and again at 12-12 before the Lady Bulldogs took charge. Milbank went on a short run with kills by J. Engebretson and several errors by Clark-Willow Lake. A. Engebretson had two consecutive aces to put Milbank up at 23-16. Milbank won the set at 25-20 on a big kill by Thue.
“Cassidy (Christians) filled in Amy’s spot and was in the setter’s position,” Hoeke said. “She was up for the challenge… to make it work at a position she hasn’t practiced at. So, that was a real bright spot for us. It was really fun to see the girls compete hard and stay mentally tough and overcome the conditions of a loud, noisy crowd and a hot and humid gym.”
J. Engebretson led the Lady Bulldog attack at the net with 20 kills on 64-72 hitting. Thue followed with 12 kills on 33-38 hitting. Pillatzki added seven kills on 21-26 hitting, and Elsie Rogers went 14-17.
Milbank ended the night with 15 serving aces. A. Engebretson led the team with seven aces on 16-18 serving. J. Engebretson followed with four aces on 13-17. Christians added three aces on 16-17 serving, and Thue had one ace on 7-10. Hallie Schulte went 19-21. Pillatzki was 4-6.
For the offense, A. Engebretson led the team with 18 assists on 52-56 setting. J. Engebretson followed with 13 assists on 40-42 setting, and Christians went 34-36 setting with seven assists.
For the defense, Schulte led the team with 28 digs. Christians followed with 20, and A. Engebretson had 18. Thue tallied 17 digs. J. Engebretson had 16. Pillatzki was credited with seven digs; Rogers had three digs and one solo block.
Milbank’s junior varsity team fell 2-0 to the Cyclones. Set scores were 24-26 and 22-25.
The Lady Bulldogs host Sioux Valley on Tuesday, September 24. They travel to Hamlin High School on Thursday, September 26, and to a varsity tournament at Dakota Valley on Saturday, September 28.
Photo – Cassidy Christians