The No. 6-seeded Lady Bulldogs pulled off a 3-2 comeback victory over the No. 3-seeded Webster Bearcats on Tuesday, November 5 in the opening round of the Region 1A high school volleyball tournament in Webster. Jaecy Engebretson also reached a volleyball milestone. She recorded the 1000th kill of her career in the final set of the match.
“This win feels very satisfying,” said Milbank’s head coach Nancy Hoeke. “It’s a big win for a couple of reasons – post-season wins are always more fun because of the stress and the fact that it could be our last match. This entire season we have only beat one team that has a winning record. So, to beat 21-10 Webster is a pretty big deal. This win is for not only the team, but Bulldog Nation.“
Milbank travels to Groton Area on Thursday, November 7 for the second round of the tournament. Groton Area is the No. 2 seed and the Lady Bulldogs are looking for another upset. The match starts at 7 p.m.
Looking ahead to the Groton Area match, Hoeke said, “We need to limit our unforced errors. We also need to play aggressively and as a team. We have the potential (to win) if the girls do their job and don’t let their heads get in the way.”
Milbank 3 – Webster Area 2
Webster started strong in the first set and Milbank kept up with them until the score sat at 10-10. Webster
then went on a nine-point run to take the lead at 10-19. The Lady Bulldogs could not overcome the deficit and fell 15-25.
In the second set, Milbank surged ahead at 12-6 buoyed by an ace by Amy Nelson, but Webster knotted up the score again at 14-14 and eventually led at 20-23. A solid Bearcat kill pulled them to within one point of the win, but Bulldogs Elsie Rogers and J. Engebretson each belted out a kill to move the score to 22-24. Webster finished off the set with a kill and the 22-25 win.
In the third set, J. Engebretson pounded down four kills to help the Lady Bulldogs take a 10-5 lead. Milbank led 19-11 and remained on top until J. Engebretson found the open floor for a kill to give the Lady Bulldogs the 25-19 win.
Another kill from Engebretson helped put Milbank ahead 9-5 in the fourth set. Madi Thue added to the offense with several kills, and Hallie Schulte dropped in an ace to keep Milbank ahead at 19-14. Webster committed two consecutive hitting errors to give the Lady Bulldogs the 25-20 victory and push the match into the fifth set.
The final set was intense with the score tied eight times by 8-8. Milbank pushed ahead at 11-8 with a kill by Nelson and two errors by Webster. The Bearcats then knotted up the score at 13-13 and went ahead 13-14 with a set kill. Engebretson belted out three consecutive kills to earn the 16-14 set and match win for the Lady Bulldogs.
Coach Hoeke said, “When we got our passes in front of the 10-foot line, we were able to do a better job of placing the ball where we wanted to. Defensively, we made some great digs. It’s the best it’s been all season. We also needed to put up an effective block on Webster’s best hitters. When we did that and they got frustrated, they made a few more hitting errors.”
Engebretson led the Lady Bulldogs with 30 kills on 85-92 hitting and earned her 1,000th kill on the second to the last point of the match. She also added 10 assists on 51-51 setting, 8-9 serving, and 23 digs.
Thue followed with 13 kills on 38-46 hitting, 15-18 serving, 21 digs, and two solo blocks. Rogers tallied three kills on 19-21 hitting, four digs, and one block. Nelson added three kills on 8-11 hitting, 15 assists on 57-57 setting, one ace on 20-20 serving, and 22 digs.
Schulte led the Milbank defense with 39 digs. She also added 19-19 serving with three aces, 4-4 setting with three assists, and was 1-1 hitting. Other team leaders were Tracy Pillatzki, 17-20 hitting, 22-25 serving, 6-6 setting, 11 digs, and one block; Cassidy Christians, 11-11 hitting, 36-36 setting with 15 assists, 11-11 serving, and 19 digs; Averie Engebretson, 8-10 hitting, 12-12 setting with two assists, and two digs; and Siri Bien, 1-2 hitting and two digs.
Photo – Hallie Schulte and Amy Nelson