Taking on DeForest on the road — as both teams finished runner-up in the Badger North and South conference tournaments — Milton volleyball finished on the wrong side of a 3-1 loss to the Norskies on Oct. 11, falling 25-16, 22-25, 23-25, 22-25.
Both teams traded points early on in the first set until 3-3, when the Norskies slowly pushed ahead, never leading by more than two points before Milton rallied. Trailing 11-12, Milton scored four straight points to take the lead 15-12. Once in front, Milton charged ahead to a comfortable 25-16 lead, taking 14 of the last 18 points.
The second set followed a similar pattern, with both teams trading off points back-and-forth, with no team taking consecutive points until the Red Hawks led 12-11 and took two points to lead 14-11. Slowly building a margin of three points, Milton edged closer to taking the second, up 18-15. But the Norskies had other ideas. Earning three quick points to tie the game at 20-20, DeForest powered through to take the second set 25-22 out from Milton’s grasp.
Continuing the pattern, the third set again featured back-and-forth points, neither team able to secure much momentum in their favor. The score remained within one point until the Red Hawks wrestled consecutive points to lead 19-17. But just as in the second set, DeForest fought back to tie it at 21-21 before taking the lead 24-22. Milton held off one set point before the Norskies secured the third set 25-23 to lead 2-1.
The fourth set mirrored the first, with the Red Hawks able to take a solid lead over the Norskies, 12-7. But as DeForest had done all night, they fought back, tying the score at 15-15. Trading off points once again, the score reached 22-21 in DeForest’s favor before the Norskies took three of the last four points to take the set 25-22 and the contest 3-1.
“They played to win, and executed well to get back in the match,” head coach Wayne Hansen said. “I feel if we would have kept our intensity up, we could have won.”
Despite the loss, Hansen said it was a good match to see potential postseason matchups.
“This will give a great idea of what we will face down the road,” he said. “The girls need to understand that we play very well against different types of competition, and with that, things go our way more often against weaker competition, and against tougher competition, we need to finish plays.”
Milton, the fourth seed, opens postseason play by hosting 13-seeded Madison La Follette Thursday.