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Photo contributed

Regional champions, the Milford Lady Bearcats, pose with their plaque after their victory against Lexington on Thursday night. Pictured back row left to right: Head coach Christy Duis, assistant coach Shawn Lane, Scout Voyles, Julia Bushnell, Lexy Puetz, Emmaleah Marshino, Caley Mowrey, Brynlee Wright, Jahni Lavicka, volunteer assistant coach Michelle Wessels. Front Row left to right: Maya McEwen, Kaylee Warren, Samantha Conley, and Jakki Mowrey. Not pictured is Lily Atwood.

The Milford Lady Cats will continue their already very successful season on Nov. 4 during their sectional match up with DeLand Weldon. The team defeated Lexington on Thursday night in the regional championship game to move on to the first round of sectional play. The final score was 25-18, 25-20.

Leading the team in kills was Caley Mowrey with 16 for the night. Mowrey also picked up four blocks. Emmaleah Marshino and Maya McEwen each grabbed two aces a piece. Kaylee Warren had a total of 28 assists while Jakki Mowrey earned 14 digs for the night.

The victory marks the first time the Lady Cats have won their regional since 1996.

Head coach, Christy Duis, said she is pleased with the way her team has been playing not just during the regular season, but post season as well.

“I have been so proud of this team all season, but especially so during this week of regional play. We had great practices on Monday and Tuesday and I knew we were ready to go, but with a two plus hour bus ride to get to the games two nights in a row I wasn’t sure if that would impact our play and the answer was definitely no,” she said.

“We stayed focused and played at a high level throughout both matches to win this regional title.”

After making it to regionals for 4 out of her five seasons at Milford, Duis is glad to finally be able to bring home the trophy.

“It’s very sweet to finally win one. The loyal Milford fans have made it especially sweet with all of their awesome support for our team. We are very excited to finally bring this Regional trophy home for this team and all the Bearcat fans.”

The team is led mostly by the support of the upperclassmen on the team who have used their experience to pave the way this season.

“Kaylee Warren has been our starting varsity setter for three years now, and she is as solid and steady of a player as you will find anywhere around. She wasn’t going to let any balls hit the floor, and she put the ball in all the right spots to give our hitters success. Sam Conley is also in her third year at Varsity, second year as our libero, and she was getting to every ball and leading our team from the back row. Maya McEwen is also in her third year at varsity, but only first year as a middle, and she is such a smart player and gave us great production out of the front row. Jakki Mowrey was just everywhere covering the court, she has such quick feet, and her defensive play was outstanding. Lexy Puetz is a junior starter that is playing outside for us this year, and she has given us another weapon in the front row and she has stepped up in a lot of games for us this season. She also recently started playing all the 6 rotations for us and has been doing a great job in the back row as well.”

Along with the upperclassmen, Duis was specifically proud of the way the younger players remained composed throughout the game and also credited them with much of the teams’ success.

“Caley Mowrey is a force to be reckoned with at the net, both hitting and blocking, and she’s so tough to defend that she was able to lead us in blocks and kills both nights of Regional play. She plays more like a senior than a sophomore, and we can really score points with her in the match. Emmaleah Marshino has been great for us in the opposite position, and she moves to the ball very well and gave us some added spark in the front row and behind the service line as well.”

The team will face DeLand Weldon in the first round of sectional play and will need to keep their momentum if they hope to win. Duis is hoping that playing on their home court will give them the advantage and that her team can remain focused.

“We are very excited to be playing on our home court, that’s for sure. We know that Deland Weldon has two really good hitters that are seniors and have been strong for them all year, and had very good Regional matches. They also have a senior setter and libero, so they seem to look on paper a lot like us,” she said.

“It’s really going to be the team that comes the most ready to play and fired up that will win. Our game plan is to keep our level of play high, serve tough, and try to keep them on their heels. If we take care of things on our side of the net and play with energy and focus, we feel like the outcome will be in our favor.”

The sectional match up with DeLand Weldon will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Milford High School gymnasium on Nov. 4.