Lady Cougars defeat Milano in tough sets
The Rosebud-Lott Lady Cougars defeated the Milano Lady Eagles in a tough 3-2 game that went down to the wire on Sept. 7.
The first point of the set went to Rosebud-Lott as they would gain the 3-1 lead from an impressive ace by Kaley Robertson (3) and the lead spread to 6-1. The drought ended on a failed serve by Rosebud-Lott for an 8-2 game. The Rosebud-Lott lead grew to 13-5. Milano tried to creep in with an ace for a 16-10 game and a kill by Brightan Willberg (9) to give Rosebud-Lott an 18-11 lead. A block by Zakiya Larkin (15) would give Rosebud-Lott a 22-13 lead. Milano tried to gain momentum on a failed kill by Rosebud-Lott for a 24-17 game, but Rosebud-Lott still manage to win the first set 25-18 off a kill by Willberg.
“We have a very young team,” Coach Amanda Spencer said. “We only have two seniors and two juniors, all of the rest of them are freshman and sophomores. Every single one of them but three have no varsity experience, so even some of our older kids don’t have much varsity experience, so we worked all weekend on whether we’re up or down to making sure we keep our energy level high. So, we have a few kids on the court who are challenging each other. In the first game we missed five serves, and that’s more than what we usually miss, and then it just escalated from there. So, the first game we just came out on fire and were making very few hitting mistakes.”
The first point of the second set went to Milano and the set stayed even until an ace by Robertson gave the Lady Cougars a 4-3 lead. The Lady Eagles came back and pulled through with an ace for an 11-8 lead. A combined block by Rosebud-Lott would shorten the lead for a 17-16 game. Soon after that, an ace by Willberg would reduce the lead for a 17-16 game. Shortley after that, an ace by Jacqueline Salazar (5) would tie up the game at 18. Milano then took the lead on a kill. The set continued to stay tight but a block by the Lady Eagles would give a 23-22 lead to the Lady Eagles and Milano would hang on and win the second set 25-23.
The first point of the third set went to Rosebud-Lott as Milano rose to a 4-1 lead on kill by Milano and an ace by the Lady Eagles for an 8-3 lead. Another Milano ace by the Lady Eagles gave Milano a commanding 12-5 lead. Milano kept up their superb serving with another ace by the Lady Eagles for a 17-6 lead. The Lady Cougars tried to come back with a kill by Mercedes Buhl (11) for a18-9 game. The Milano lead grew to 24-12 on a failed kill by Rosebud-Lott and Milano win end up winning the third set 25-12 for a 2-1 lead in the match.
“When you miss 17 serves, it doesn’t really matter who you’re playing,” Spencer said. “So, we just kept missing serves and we missed them at critical times. So, you rally, come back, miss a serve, give them the momentum. Milano’s always good. They’re well coached and they get the most out of their kids and place the ball well. They were picking up our hits, and making us make a mistake, so a lot of unforced errors on our part.”
The first point of the fourth set went to Rosebud-Lott and the game stayed even until Rosebud-Lott took a 6-4 lead, followed by a block by Buhl and Lakya Jackson for a 7-4 lead. This was soon followed by another kill by Jackson to grow the Lady Cougars lead to 13-5. The Lady Cougars kept up the offense with a kill by Buhl for a 19-10 lead. Milano scored three straight points for 19-13 game. Rosebud-Lott regained the momentum and their lead grew to 23-16; and they would win the fourth set 25-17 on a serve out of bounds.
The first point of the fifth and final set went to Rosebud-Lott. The game stayed even until a kill by Milano gave the Lady Eagles a 7-4 Milano lead. The Lady Cougars tied it back at 8. Rosebud-Lott would not stop there as their lead grew to 14-11 and the Lady Cougars would win 15-11 to clinch the game.
“In the huddle, they talked about playing under control and not panicking, trying to hit it soft to keep it in and things like that instead of just playing our game and tracking the ball more.” Spencer said. “Our leader in the huddle said we need to play hard, and again we missed too many serves. We were just lucky enough that Milano had some unforced errors also in those games. So, we had some rallies where Regan came in and got some key serves in and got us back in the game because she got six in a row. When you don’t miss your serves, you can win games.”