The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Lady Bearcats in the first round of Region 1 play of the 2021 SDHSAA Class A Volleyball Tournament on Tuesday, November 2. In the second round on November 4, Milbank fell just shy of Florence-Henry and did not advance to the SoDak 16.
Milbank – 3 vs. Webster – 2
Set scores in the win against Webster were 23-25, 25-13, 20-25, 25-21, and 15-12.MHS coach Nancy Hoeke commented, “What a thriller! We had plenty of time to prepare for this match, and the girls did a really good job of knowing what we needed to do. They then went out and were able to execute. We played at a new level of intensity.”
According to Hoeke, the first set started slow and the nerves showed. The girls then put together a great comeback but were still making too many unforced errors. Hoeke said, “In set two, though, everything went our way. We used the momentum from the comeback in the first set to put the pressure on Webster.”
Going into the third set, the match was all tied up at 1-1. “We had a let down and an awful start,” Hoeke recalled, “and we fell behind 9-20.” Webster, however, made several errors to help Milbank edge closer, but the Lady Bearcats hung on to take the third set at 25-20.
“The girls showed a lot of determination at the start of the fourth set and didn’t want to be done,” Hoeke said. “We had good setups to Rachel Schulte in her first rotation and she answered with four kills. That really set the tone that this match wasn’t over! I felt the girls played with so much purpose and intensity — something they lacked all season.”
“It was the perfect time to decide to play this way,” Hoeke added. “The girls were making plays we had worked on the last couple of weeks, and it was paying off. It takes time to get out of your comfort zone and execute a new strategy. It was so rewarding to see them put it into action and finish strong.”
The Lady Bulldogs went 96 of 108 serving with nine aces for 89 percent.
Addisyn Krause led the pack at 30-32 with six aces. Her teammates followed in order at: Skyler Skoog 11-12 with one ace; R. Schulte 11-12; Averie Engebretson 13-15; Hallie Schulte 22-26 with two aces; and Casside Seezs 9-11.
On the attack, R. Schulte was 43-49 with 14 kills. Skoog was 45-52 with 10 kills, and Rylie Overby 19-23 with six kills. Seezs went 23-32 with five kills; Shaylee Schuchard 5-7 with one kill; and Krause, 5-5 with one kill.
Krause and Engebretson were tops in assists. Addisyn was 85-85 with 20 assists and Averie was 44-44 with 13 assists.
Krause was also tops in digs. She made 23. H. Schulte was right behind her at 22. R. Schulte had 18; Emily Wollschlager, 12; and Skoog, nine.
As a team, the Lady Bulldogs were credited with six blocks. R. Schulte had three, Skoog had one, and Overby and Seezs each had one solo and two assisted.
Milbank – 1 vs. Florence-Henry – 2
In Milbank’s loss to Florence-Henry on Thursday, November 4, set scores were 25-27, 16-25, and 13-25. The loss ended the Lady Bulldogs’ season.
The Lady Bulldogs were 50-55 serving for 91 percent. They made six aces. Addisyn Krause made five of the six aces and was 22-22. Averie Engebretson went 5-5; Hallie Schulte was 8-9 with one ace, and Casside Seezs went 6-7. Skyler Skoog was 4-5 and Rachel Schulte 5-7.
The girls fought hard in the first set. There were no easy points; it was a battle for every point,” Coach Hoeke said. “A good team like Florence-Henry exposes your weaknesses. Our defense and blocking weren’t fast enough and we weren’t reading correctly to get us in the spots to block and dig at the pace F-H was playing. It was also hard to score on their relentless defense.”
R. Schulte led the Lady Bulldogs’ attack. She was 49-55 with nine kills. Seezs was 9-23 with four kills. Krause was 4-4 with one kill. Engebretson 12-13 with one kill. Skoog 22-29 with one kill and Rylie Overby 17-23 with one kill.
Krause also led the team in assists. She went 65-65 with seven assists. Engebretson was next at 20-21 with six assists.
H. Schulte had 27 digs; Krause, 18; Skoog, 16; R. Schulte and Emily Wollschlager each had 14.
R. Schulte was also credited with Milbank’s only solo block of the match. Coach Hoeke summed up the season with, “I’m proud of the improvements the girls have made from the start of the season. All will return except our one senior, Tatum Berry, who provided great support and leadership to this team. Other than that, we look forward to an exciting season next year.”