Volleyball: Millennium defeats Hamilton in 4 sets
September 7, 2017 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
Millennium waits out an ice delay in 4th set prior to finishing 4-set win over Hamilton. (AzPreps365 photo)
There wasn't a hole, gap or crevice that Millennium's girls volleyball team couldn't defend Thursday night. That's the way it's been all season so far. It's making the Tigers dangerous and certainly a title contender with their brand of play.
Millennium ventured to the East Valley and with all its prowess in tow took down Hamilton, 25-21, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21 at T. Dale Hancock Gym.
"We have started fast," Millennium coach Julie Vastine said after watching her team move to 11-2. "I think the best way to describe us is relentless. We surprise a lot of teams with our defense. They are used to getting kills on a lot of balls we're getting to."
Millennium is 4-1 in power ranking matches, the lone loss a 4-setter last week to Xavier Prep. They posted a 7-1 mark in winning the 32-team Goldwater Festival last weekend.
Not only is Millennium's digging rocking (led by Nicole Hoff, Terayah Stukes, Annika Payne and Alyssa Avitia), but so was its play by its middles. The Tigers took control in the second set at 12-9 thanks to four successive blocks and never trailed in the set again.
Their offense was fine as well. Junior hitter Ashley Antoniak led four players in double figures in kills with 16. Middle Rylee Johnson (10), outside hitter Stukes (10) and right side Alana Rennie (10) were the others.
"We're focusing on our middle presence and I thought we did very well with that tonight," Vastine said, props going to Sedona Sherman and Johnson for outstanding play.
Hamilton (3-2) droppd its second tough match in three days. The Huskies lost in five to defending 6A champ Corona del Sol on Tuesday after building a 2-0 lead. Coach Sharon Vanis has been testing out rotations in the early going trying to find the right combination after a preseason iankle injury has idled a key contributor in junior outside Taylor Jacobsen.
"We are in that mode of trying to find what works best," Vanis said. "I don't know I've used the same rotation or lineup yet....
"Millennium is very good. They don't let anything drop. They can frustrate you."
Hamilton was led by senior captain Darian Clark, who registered 17 kills and 14 digs. Senior middle blocker Nya Buckner added 11 kills. Sophomore Bailey Williams led defensively with 18 digs. Senior setters McKenna Smith and Shannon Ryan netted 16 assists each.