Vermillion scored the first point in each of its three volleyball games against Milbank Saturday, but after that it was the Bulldogs who were in control of the match.
The highly-regarded Milbank club, which has been in the state "A" championship match three times in the last five years, cruised to a three-game victory over the Tanagers in the season opener at the VHS gym. In the first game Vermillion's 1-0 lead disintegrated into a 6-1 deficit, and Milbank quickly pulled away to win 25-7.
The Tanagers were competitive in the second game although their 1-0 lead turned into an 11-1 deficit before they were able to get back onto the scoreboard. Vermillion dug down deep and rallied from a 22-12 disadvantage to creep to within five at 23-18 and 24-19 before Milbank ended the game with a 25-19 win.
The third game saw the Tanagers leading 4-1 after Sierra Allen's point. After they fell behind 14-7, the Tanagers creeped to within 14-10 on Elise Hughes-Berheim's service point. But Milbank, sensing the kill, zoomed from 16-11 to 23-11 and then quickly applied the final two points that ended the match at 25-12.
Coach Lenni Billberg's Tanagers were led on the court by Hughes-Berheim's nine digs, Michelle Blythe's six kills and two digs, Allen's four blocks, eight digs and three kills, Molly LeCates' nine set assists and three digs, Lexi Regnerus' four digs and Lizzie Bye's two digs and three kills.
Milbank was paced by Sami Nygaarad's 23 set assists and six digs, Megan Nedved's 16 digs and nine kills and Mandy Frogner's 13 kills.