With starting setter and sophomore Jordan Karlen sidelined with an injury, Milton head coach Wayne Hansen needed one of his girls to step up.
Luckily, Hansen had a pretty good backup plan.
Junior setter Emily Davis recorded a team-high 33 assists as Milton defeated Madison La Follette, 26-24, 26-24, 21-25, 25-20, in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal match Thursday, Oct. 24, at Milton High School
“I think Emily Davis, my back-up setter, did a great job tonight,” Hansen said. “She got my game ball tonight. She ran the offense as best as she could for filling in. Stepping in for Jordan is tough to do.”
Davis and the Red Hawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but La Follette answered back with three straight points. The Lancers earned its first lead of the match at 11-10.
Milton wrestled back the lead at 15-14, but the Lancers scored six of the next seven points to go up 20-16, forcing a Red Hawk timeout.
La Follette came out of the break with an ace and eventually got within a point of a first-set victory up 24-22.
It looked like the set was over after La Follette put a nicely placed kill on the right-side of the floor, but sophomore Noelle Washkoviak had a diving-dig to keep the play alive. The Red Hawks ended up scoring on the possession, cutting the lead down to 24-23.
Senior Abbey Falk deadlocked the game at 24-24 after she connected on an ace. Junior Nora Stuckey gave the Red Hawks a 25-24 advantage with a kill and a hitting error by the Lancers ended the first set.
“That (first set) was huge,” Hansen said. “I thought we were going to dig ourselves a hole.”
Milton almost found themselves on the other end of a late-set comeback in the second set. The Red Hawks built a 23-18 advantage, but a 5-0 La Follette run knotted the set at 23-23. But a Falk kill and a couple of Lancer errors helped Milton seal a 26-24 win.
The Lancers picked up their lone set win in the third with a four-point margin, but the Red Hawks closed out the match in the fourth with a 25-20 victory.
“We came back strong,” Hansen said. “We served a lot better.”
Senior Abbey Falk took advantage of Davis’ strong night with 17 kills. On the defensive end, junior Juliet Karlen collected 15 digs.