Sports M VB falls to Pequot.jpg

Milaca’s Morgan Majerus attempts to get the kill over a pair of Pequot players in the Section 6AA Semifinal contest on Nov. 4 in St. Cloud. The Wolves struggled against the tough team, falling 3-0.

The historic season for the Milaca volleyball program has come to an end.

In the Section 6AA Semifinals on Nov. 4, the first time the Wolves had advanced that far in the playoffs, second-seeded Pequot Lakes proved to be too much for Milaca, sweeping the match 3-0 at the neutral site of St. Cloud Tech High School.

Against the extremely tough Patriots, who are ranked seventh in the state for Class AA, the game plans and system that had gotten the Wolves this far into the season weren’t able to find success said Milaca Head Coach James Taylor. “What we had done against other teams, our hits and our defense has worked and scored. It wasn’t working tonight,” said Taylor.

Early on against Pequot, it appeared that what the Wolves had done to that point in the season would lead to success as the two teams fought evenly to a 4-4 tie in game one.

From there, the Patriots would start to get their offensive game going.

Using its strong hitting to score, Pequot would finish the match rolling, going on a 21-8 scoring run to take the first set.

“They definitely had big arms on them. Their swings were like crazy. Our blockers were trying to get touches but they were swinging so hard, it would go anywhere off of our blocks,” said Milaca senior libero Lexy Gall on the Patriots’ hard to stop hits.

Back for game two, it saw a similar 4-4 tie before Pequot again took off to earn a 25-12 win to grab a commanding 2-0 advantage.

Struggling to slow down the Patriots’ offense was combined with Pequot slowing Milaca’s own offensive attack said senior Paige Maurer. “We couldn’t find the holes to hit. They had a really good defense and we just couldn’t find the offense against them,” she said.

In that third set, the Milaca team that had gotten it this far was able to respond to play up to the level of the talented Patriots. “We really pushed back in that third game,” said Taylor.

Fighting hard with their season on the line, the Wolves found themselves trailing at 22-19.

However, the Patriots were able to close out the set and end Milaca’s season by grabbing the 3-0 sweep with a 25-21 victory to advance to the section final.

Despite picking up the loss, that third and final set of the historic Wolves’ season showed the fight and strong play Milaca has shown all season and will be how Taylor remembers the tough, senior heavy team. “I’m going to look at that third game, that’s who they were,” said Taylor.

In the loss, Maggie Westling led offensively with five kills while Macy Mach added 13 assists and 13 digs.

With the defeat, Milaca finished the year with a historic 23 wins, the most in program history while only suffering seven losses.

Advancing to the Section 6AA Finals, Pequot Lake was defeated by Sauk Centre in a 3-2 five set battle to send the Mainstreeters to state.

Big turnaround

Looking back to last season for the Wolves, the squad that only saw two wins in a COVID-19 shortened year.

This year’s turnaround to improve on that mark by 21 games was something exceptional said Maurer. “Last year, looking at our record, it wasn’t good at all. The growth we had was something special,” she said.

Now, entering into the offseason for Milaca, the Wolves will look to replace 12 seniors from this year’s roster.

Wolves claim accolades

A trio of Milaca players were named to the Section 6AA All-Tournament team.

Neelie Zens, Maggie Westling and Ashley Juetten were named to the team after their strong performances that advanced Milaca to the semifinals.

Load comments