The Lady Bulldogs volleyball team hosted a triangular Saturday, October 17, when Beresford and Miller came to town. “It was a lot of volleyball in one day,” stated Milbank’s head coach, Nancy Hoeke. “It took the place of our tournament. So, I was glad we were able to work it in and play two teams that we otherwise wouldn’t get to see.”
Milbank 2 vs. Beresford 3
Milbank started the day with a tight 3-2 loss to Beresford. “This was our first five-set match of the season, and it was a good test for us,” said Hoeke. “In the end, it’s disappointing not to be able to finish, but I like the fact that we put ourselves in a position to have a chance to win.”
Milbank had a solid 15-7 lead to start the first set. Beresford made some mistakes and the Lady Bulldogs took advantage of them to secure the win at 25-17. A tighter second set found Milbank on the short end at 13-14 and 19-23. They could not catch up, and fell 21-25 to even the match at 1-1. Set three was a bigger setback for Milbank. The locals trailed 2-7 to start and remained behind at 11-19. “We had our struggles — lots of frustrations and lack of energy and intensity,” said Hoeke. Milbank dropped the set at 16-25.
The lull didn’t last long, though, as the Lady Bulldogs came storming back in the fourth set. The match was tied at 14-14 before Milbank went ahead 19-16 and 22-19. Milbank took the win at 25-19 to push the match into the fifth and final set.
“I’m proud of the girls for pulling it together and competing,” said Hoeke. “With only parents in the stands, the gym was a quiet place. Our parents started cheering, and we were able to pull some energy from it and relax a bit. Sometimes it’s not the strategy or seriousness of the game the kids need.”
The final set turned out to be a nail-biter. Milbank had a significant lead at 11-7, but Beresford rattled off five straight points to go ahead 7-12. “That took its toll on us,” said Hoeke. Milbank pushed back to tie the score again at 12-12 and 14-14, but Beresford made the final two points to win the set at 14-16 and take the match at 3-2.
Rachel Schulte led the Lady Bulldogs’ attack with 12 kills on 36-45 hitting. Siri Bien followed with nine kills on 22-29 hitting and two aces on 21-23 serving. Averie Engebretson tallied eight kills on 21-22 hitting, four aces on 21-22 serving, 21 assists on 71-71 setting, and 16 digs. Madi Thue tacked up seven kills on 28-37 hitting, 14-16 serving, 12 digs, and one solo block. Casside Seezs added six kills on 22-28 hitting and 12-12 serving.
Hallie Schulte led the defense for Milbank with 30 digs. She also contributed two aces on 16-16 serving. Jessica Van Peursem added two aces on 11-12 serving and 14 assists on 36-36 setting. Shelby Lee was 5-5 hitting, and Lindsey Mertens made 12 digs.
Milbank 0 vs. Miller 3 Milbank suffered a 3-0 loss to Miller in the final match of the day. Set scores were 22-25, 16-25, and 16-25.
“Miller had a couple of hitters that were tough on us,” said Coach Hoeke. “They were hard to defend. We were without a couple of our starters due to other commitments, so that was a bit of an adjustment. But, it gave other players a chance to step into those spots and see what they could do.”
Bien led the Milbank offense with eight kills on 14-18 hitting and 3-4 serving. Rachel Schulte followed with five kills on 16-19 hitting, seven assists on 25-26 setting, 12-13 serving, six digs, and one solo block. Engebretson tallied four kills on 19-21 hitting, 7-8 serving, 13 assists on 42-43 setting, and seven digs. Seezs went 14-15 hitting with four kills and 5-7 serving.
Hallie Schulte fired up the defense with 27 digs. She also went 11-12 serving. Mertens contributed one ace on 5-6 serving, 9-9 hitting, and 12 digs.