Milford volleyball puts up a tough fight against Lakeland


(Photo courtesy of Jerry Rea).

Junior Sarah Rand serves during the 2021 volleyball season.

Erin Scheske, Assistant Editor

Milford and Lakeland arguably have one of the biggest rivalries in the Lakes Valley Conference. On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, the two teams went head-to-head in girls volleyball. The student sections were representing their favorite teams in full force, with abundant volume and spirit at this amazing game. The gym was clearly split in two: red and blue.

The game started off positive for Milford as they won the first set, 25-20 points. The Milford fans were going wild, as Lakeland was expected to win this game. “I was really excited after the first set because our team came with high energy and kept it throughout the set,” Senior Team Captain Maddie Feltmate said. Winning the first set was promising for Milford, as Lakeland has lost very few sets this whole season. The team was fired up for another competitive second set.

The second set began, and the competition was intense as Milford was neck and neck with Lakeland. During the last few points, Lakeland jumped ahead. Milford tried its best to catch up, but they could not, and lost the second set, 22-25. “Lakeland started playing more aggressively,” Feltmate said. “The energy in the audience was crazy and I don’t think our team adjusted to it quick enough.”

After the loss of the second set, the Milford girls came together and realized that they still had a chance to take the win. The third set began. As the set continued on, there were many arguments between the coaches and the players versus the referees. So much so that Lakeland’s head-coach got red-carded, as well as one of Lakeland’s Senior Outside Hitters. Getting red-carded rarely happens in high school volleyball, so it was especially surprising. The first red-card is essentially a warning, but another one can lead to player/coach suspensions from the game, and sometimes even a forfeited game under extreme circumstances. Luckily, most of the argued points ended in favor of Milford. With that being the case, Milford held strong and won the third set, 25-20. Milford’s student section was overjoyed and jumped off the bleachers to celebrate! The whole team was ready to bring home the win.

Milford decided to pull out all strings for, potentially, the last set of the game. The girls started off pretty even with Lakeland, but sadly fell behind in the middle of the set. With few points left to play, Milford began to bring it back. Although they put forth their best effort, Milford could not make up the points, and lost the fourth set by a very close 23-25 points.

Although this was a disappointment for the girls, they continued to play on. The fifth and final set of volleyball is only out of 15 points. The players began. Milford dropped behind quickly in the beginning of the set, as the score reached 8-1 Lakeland. Suddenly, Milford came together and began to bring it back. It was as if the stands could see a change in mindset from the girls. Milford kept pushing, but sadly could not bring it all the way back and lost the fifth set by an extremely close 12-15 points, losing the match, 2-3.

The loss to Lakeland was saddening to the players, especially since the game was so close. At the moment, the loss was devastating, but when put into the big picture, Milford has never been that close to beating Lakeland in over five years.

The team was disappointed by the outcome, but Junior Outside Hitter, Ashley Murray, said, “We are all very encouraging of each other, especially after the loss to Lakeland.”

“The team is very hopeful as we have not been that close to beating Lakeland the whole time I have been at Milford (three years). We look forward to potentially paying them again in the Lakes Valley Conference Tournament.”

Although Milford lost the game, the players are still very pleased with their efforts. This is also the first game, of the whole season, that any team has brought Lakeland to five sets. Milford is ready to face the Eagles, once again on Oct. 23 at the LVC Tournament.

Regardless of the outcome, this was one of the most spirited and exhilarating volleyball games Milford students have seen.