The Milbank Lady Bulldogs came from behind to slip past Sioux Valley 3-2 on Tuesday, September 24, in their Homecoming week volleyball match at the Milbank Armory. The win lifts Milbank’s season record to 5-6.
“This win reinforces and proves to us that we are capable at this game and it helps grow our confidence,” stated Bulldog head coach Nancy Hoeke. “We made some rotation and lineup adjustments throughout the match Sometimes you just need to find the right combination of players.”
Milbank fell behind early in the first set 4-11 and continued to trail at 8-19. They took off on a short run with two kills by Jaecy Engebretson and an ace by Amy Nelson, but could not pull any closer. They fell 16-25.
“Sioux Valley served so smart and picked apart our serve-receive,” said Hoeke. “Our first passes were off and, therefore, we weren’t getting any offense going.”
The Lady Bulldogs also fell behind early in the second set, but inched their way back into the match. The Cossacks committed several unforced errors to bring Milbank closer at 11-14. The score tied at 16-16 with back-to-back kills
by Madi Thue and Elsie Rogers. J. Engebretson added three more kills to give Milbank the 20-19 lead. Tracy Pillatzki’s then belted out two consecutive kills to widen the gap to 23-19. The Lady Bulldogs finished off the set at 25-21 with kills from Thue and Pillatzki.
Milbank trailed in the third set 11-14. Thue and J. Engebretson attacked for the Lady Bulldogs to even the score at 15-15 and 19-19. Milbank pushed ahead to take the set at 25-21.
The Lady Bulldogs turned things around to take an early lead in the fourth set. They surged ahead at 9-4, but Sioux Valley came screeching back to even the score at 10-10. The score see-sawed, but Milbank fell behind at 16-18 and could not seal the deal. Sioux Valley took the fourth set at 19-25.
“Their hitters had a powerful fourth set,” said Hoeke. “They hit hard shots. Then, when they had us back on our heels, they started tipping to the middle. We could not stop them, and didn’t adjust fast enough.”
The match came down to the fifth and final set. Milbank fell behind at 1-6. With Hallie Schulte at the service line, the Lady Bulldogs went on a run to knot up the score at 6-6. J. Engebretson pounded down a kill and Pillatzki blocked a hard hit by Sioux Valley during the run. Thue belted out a kill to move the Lady Bulldogs ahead 12-10. J. Engebretson followed with a kill, and Sioux Valley committed a hitting error, which put Milbank one point away from the win. Thue served the ball which appeared out of bounds, but the ball hit the foot of a Sioux Valley player. This gave Thue the ace and Milbank the 15-10 victory.
“Sioux Valley made timely errors which kept some of the pressure off us,” said Hoeke. “We played to win and didn’t fall into the trap of playing not to lose. It was an exciting finish!”
J. Engebretson led the Milbank offense with 24 kills on 74-90 hitting, three aces on 18-20 serving, 10 assists on 36-36 setting. She had 19 digs. Thue followed with 15 kills on 37-41 hitting, three aces on 12-13 serving, and 12 digs. Pillatzki added seven kills on 20-27 hitting, 9-9 serving, nine digs, and one solo block.
Rogers contributed three kills on 13-16 hitting and four digs. Nelson was 9-12 hitting, 8-11 serving with one ace, 78-82 setting with 18 assists, and 13 digs.
Schulte was 21-21 serving with one ace, 7-7 setting, and 31 digs. Cassidy Christians added 13-13 serving, 35-35 setting with 12 assists, and 12 digs.
Photo –Tracy Pillatzki