Milaca volleyball begins fall with streak-snapping win

Milaca Volleyball celebrates following a block by Leah Meyer (10) during the second set against St. Cloud Cathedral, last Friday Aug. 25

Milaca volleyball came into 2017 on an 11-game losing streak dating back to Oct. 1, 2016. In its first game this August the streak was snapped.
Milaca wiped away Pillager, eked past Pierz and battled with St. Cloud Cathedral en route to a fourth-place finish at the eight-team Royalton Volleyball invite on Friday, Aug. 25.
The day started bright and early for the Wolves and they seized the moment. Ellie Banks blocked a stray pass, from a Pioneers defender, to the ground to capture a 25-21 opening-set win. Pierz fought back in the second to win 23-25, but Milaca held the tiebreaker for most points scored.
Next, the Wolves routed Pillager 25-12, 25-17, setting up an interesting contest with the defending Granite Ridge Champion, St. Cloud Cathedral for a spot in the tournament final.
“[The Wolves] surprised me this morning with their energy, Milaca coach Jamie Taylor said. “They started off the day great.”
However, Milaca’s energy was bulldozed by the height, talent and hard-hitting of the Crusaders in set one. Cathedral won the set 25-8 as Milaca searched for answers.
“We have our ebbs and flows and against a team like Cathedral they don’t have much of that. I guess that’s the next level,” Taylor said. “We have to get rid of the three-point, five-point gaps where we kind of self-destruct.”
In set two, they found their bearings. Against a team that outscored them 75-36 during their only meeting last season, Milaca changed their style.
“We adjusted. Taylor said. “We talked about what’s closed off now, because they have height, and what’s open. The first two matches we could hit where ever we wanted, but with Cathedral we had to be smart because they have a good block.”
Jincey Nystedt was able to register a few kills and Leah Meyer blocked Cathedral’s top hitter Colleen Zadoo to tie the game at 20.
Still, they couldn’t hold back the offensive depth of the Crusaders. Gabby Heying and Zadoo broke through with kills in the final points for a 25-22 finish. It went down as Milaca’s first loss of the season, but Taylor saw a win. Going point-for-point with the best team in the conference could be a recipe for confidence moving forward.
The Crusaders later beat Foley in the tournament final, while Milaca played Royalton for third.
The Royals and Wolves battled to the final points of the third set, but an errant attempt at a dig and a service error, trailing 13-12, ended the day.
Some of those kinks and inconsistencies continue but, so far, much less frequently compared to when their losing streak of 2016 was alive.