The Milton volleyball team dropped its first conference match of the season, falling to Fort Atkinson, 18-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-20, in a Badger South Conference match on Thursday, Sept. 26, in Fort Atkinson.

The Red Hawks then headed to the Waukesha North Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 28, where they collected a 2-2 record.

Fort Atkinson 3, Milton 1

The Red Hawks (20-8, 3-1) won the first set, but the Blackhawks strung together three straight set victories to take the match in four sets.

“The first set, we played our game, our tempo and passed great, and we won,” Milton head coach Wayne Hansen said. “The second, third and fourth set, Fort decided the tempo by great serving and making plays. We did not serve-receive well as a team.”

In the second set, Miton trailed by one point at 13-12, but a 5-1 spurt gave the Blackhawks an 18-13 advantage and Fort Atkinson didn’t look back after claiming the five-point lead.

It looked like Milton had grabbed control back of the match in the third set when the Red Hawks built a 14-10 lead. But, another 5-1 burst from the Blackhawks knotted the game at 15-15. The next 10 points went split down the middle to make it 20-20, but Fort Atkinson scored five of the next six to take the set.

The Blackhawks faced less resistance in the fourth set than in the third, never trailing in the set and building an 8-2 advantage early on.

Sophomore Jordan Karlen led the Red Hawks with 32 assists, while senior Abbey Falk collected a team-high 11 kills.

Nora Stuckey added in three blocks, while senior Courtney Weberpal served up five aces in the defeat. Junior Juliet Karlen recorded 17 digs.

The play fom junior Paige Emerson stuck out to Hansen in the loss.

“Paige had 25 good serve receptions and played her back row position the best I’ve seen this year,” Hansen said. “So much so, I only subbed her out once to give her a break. Her passes were pinpoint, so Jordan could run our offense. Fort recognized that and stopped serving to her.”

Thursday was also cancer awareness night, with teams and fans wearing pink.

Waukesha North Invitational

Milton recorded a 2-2 mark at the invitational Saturday, finishing second in the silver bracket. The Red Hawks defeated Milwaukee Ronald Reagan, 25-7, 25-12, and Cedar Grove, 25-16, 25-18, but were bested by River Valley 25-17, 26-24, and Whitnall, 25-18, 25-22.

“It was poor play by us, even though the two teams we lost to were pretty solid, we didn’t play to our potential and it showed,” Hansen said.

Jordan Karlen racked up the stats at the tournament, collecting 76 assists, 36 digs, 14 kills and eight aces.

“Jordan Karlen was my player of the tournament,” Hansen said.

Milton took on Madison Edgewood on Tuesday, Oct. 1, but results were not available by publication time.

The Red Hawks will host Stoughton in a Badger South match on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m.

“The girls now realize that this is nearing the end of the season, and play is going to get tougher,” Hansen said. “We need to play together as we did in the beginning of the season. I have high expectations, and know they will come through.”

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