The Milbank Lady Bulldogs finished fourth in the silver pool and eighth overall at the Milbank Invitational volleyball tournament Saturday, October 19, sponsored by Valley Queen Cheese. The locals went 1-3 on the day and moved their season record to 9-15 overall. Milbank battled a strong Langford team to start the day. The Lady Bulldogs won the first set at 25-19. In a close fight, Milbank was edged out at 25-27 in the second set before falling in the third set 16-25.
“We had such a good start against Langford,” stated head coach Nancy Hoeke. “We won the first set and had match point in the second set. I would sure like to play the second set over. Langford has an incredible hitter, and we went to work, especially in the third set. She jumped well above our block and put the ball down on the 10-foot line a few times which was nearly impossible to defend.”
In the final match of pool play, Milbank came back with a 2-0 victory over Mobridge- Pollock with set scores of 25-23 and 25-21. “This was a good match for us,” said Hoeke. “We played well and got done what we needed to.”
The Lady Bulldogs then moved into the silver bracket. Milbank fell to Sioux Valley, 2-0, with scores of 16-25 and 13-25. “This was a disappointing loss since we beat them earlier this season, although it did go five sets,” added Hoeke. “I’m not sure why we played flat. We did not play with enough desire and were just going through the motions and made too many mistakes.”
The loss put the locals into the third/fourth place match where they faced Clark-Willow Lake. The Lady Bulldogs took the first set at 25-22 but fell in the last two 12-25 and 13-25. “This was another disappointing loss, having beat them earlier this season,” expressed Hoeke. “Jaecy (Engebretson) got hurt at the end of the Sioux Valley match, so without her in the lineup, we lose a lot of hitting power and leadership. Clark-Willow Lake made it tough on our defense as they do a good job of mixing up their attack. They got a lot of kills on us.”
Jaecy Engebretson led the Lady Bulldogs with 32 kills on 89-99 hitting, one ace on 18-20 serving, 18 assists on 43-43 setting, 30 digs, and one solo block on the day. Madi Thue followed with 23 kills on 86-101 hitting, 24 digs and one solo block. Elsie Rogers and Amy Nelson each added 11 kills for Milbank. Rogers went 35-48 hitting and had one block while Nelson was 22-23 hitting, 19-26 serving with one ace, 118-119 setting with 32 assists, and 30 digs.
Also adding to the team totals were Tracy Pillatzki with seven kills on 24-31 hitting, one ace on 17-19 serving, and three solo blocks; Averie Engebretson, five kills on 19-24 hitting, one ace on 10-11 serving, 12 assists on 34-34 setting, and 10 digs, and Siri Bien, two kills on 3-4 hitting, and two aces on 34-36 serving. Other team leaders were Hallie Schulte with two aces on 37-39 serving and 57 digs; Cassidy Christians, one ace on 35-36 serving, 28 assists on 114-115 setting, and 40 digs, and Casside Seezs and Shelby Lee with one ace on 2-2 serving apiece.
Photo – Left to right, Amy Nelson (#11), Cassidy Christians (#2), Elsie Rogers (#12), and Madi Thue (in back).