By Gazette staff
Milton High’s girls volleyball team snapped a four-match losing streak Friday night.
The Red Hawks used a balanced attack to sweep Janesville Craig 3-0 in a nonconference match. Milton won 25-15, 25-22, 25-20 on Bob Suter Court.
It was a strong finish to the end of a tough week for the Red Hawks and a tough stretch of matches overall.
“I think a big thing for us was having two practices back-to-back,” Milton coach Kaitlin Lundeen said. “We’ve had so many matches that we don’t get to have consistent practices.
“You have a match and you can’t really build off what you did the day before, because it seems something new pops up. So it was really nice to have two practices in a row, know what our goals are, know what we’re doing. And we came in with a stronger attitude.”
Lundeen said a more consistent block paved the way for the bounceback against Craig. Gwen Baker had a pair of block kills, and strong blocking overall helped the Red Hawks’ defense settle in.
Milton (7-5) got eight kills from Juliet Karlen, nine assists from Jordan Karlen and 10 digs from Alysse Kuglitsch.
Craig (4-5) was led by Mckaylie Justman, who had five aces and seven digs.
Britten Bertagnoli had a match-high 15 kills for the Cougars.
On Tuesday, Milton won the first set but lost 3-1 to Evansville.
The Blue Devils won 19-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-21.
Juliet Karlen had 10 kills, four aces and 12 digs to lead the Red Hawks.
WIAA competition coming up
The volleyball postseason begins Saturday.
Milton drew the No. 3 seed out of three teams in its regional pod. It will play second-seeded Evansville at 3 p.m. Saturday in Edgerton. The winner advances to play top-seeded Edgerton at 6:30 p.m. that same night.
“We lost to both Evansville and Edgerton, so obviously I couldn’t contend for a higher seed,” Lundeen said. “I feel like if we come in the way we did Friday, it’ll be a much different game (this time against Evansville).”
Winners of each regional pod Saturday will be reseeded for sectional play.
Before that, Milton had a Tuesday match scheduled against Monona Grove and another Thursday against Oregon.
“While they are important for our momentum and our comfort as a team, they’re not necessarily going to get us to sectionals,” Lundeen said. “We’re trying to improve this week in practice at certain things. We want to play well, and then we’ll be focused on sectionals.”
EVANSVILLE 3, MILTON 1
Milton 25 18 20 21
Evansville 19 25 25 25
MILTON (leaders) — Kills: Ju. Karlen 10. Assists: Jo. Karlen 17. Blocks: Stuckey 2. Aces: Ju. Karlen 4. Digs: Ju. Karlen 12.
EVANSVILLE — Kills: Louis 15; McDermott 12. Assists: Etringer 24. Blocks: Rinehart 2; Tinajero 2. Aces: Bettenhausen 2. Digs: Bettenhausen 23.
MILTON 3, CRAIG 0
Milton 25 25 25
Janesville Craig 15 22 20
Milton leaders: Aces—Emily Davis 4; Kills—Juliet Karlen 8; Assists—Jordan Karlen 9; Digs—Alysse Kuglitsch 10; Blocks—Gwen Baker 2
Craig leaders: Aces—Mckaylie Justman 5; Kills—Britten Bertagnoli 15; Assists—Abby Trapp 14; Digs—Justman 7; Blocks—Bertagnoli 1