Two state tournament matches down and the Millennium girl’s volleyball team has yet to give up a game in its quest for a fourth straigh 5A finals berth.
After beating Centennial High School in the first round in three straight games. Sunrise Mountain High School traveled to Millennium to challenge the number two seed. The home team won 25-19, 25-17, 25-19,
Millennium was slow to start with Sunrise leading game one until the lead changed in favor of Millennium at 14-13. Tigers senior setter Bianca Perez, rallied her team moving the ball around on the attack, The slow start was due in part to the girls struggling to put hits away.
“We have so much depth on this team and since the beginning of the season we have gone to backups. We know if someone is struggling we can trust each other in every part of the game,” she said.
Junior Eryn Jones is a powerhouse finisher for Millennium and her attack was slow to start. Eventually, though, she dominated both at the net and also from the 10-foot line.
Senior Leila Chipepo was the constant force at the net for #7 Sunrise Mountain. Whether she was putting up single blocks, earning kills with quickness or playing smart and finding an open space on the other side of the court, she was a difference maker for the Mustangs.
Despite the effort at the net to slow down Jones, she found her way in game two and never looked back. With a double block in front of her, Jones has the ability to get up and over the top of the block leaving little opportunity to get underneath.
The extra efforts od junior libero Sofia Cortesio kept Sunrise Mountain in both game two and three.
Sunrise Mountain head coach Brandi Jans said Cortesio has risen to the occasion during the state tournament. She defended everywhere behind the 10-foot line and gave Sunrise second chances when hits that should have been kills were saved by her ability to see what is happening at the net.
“She has been reading hitters well and watches their arm and makes smart decisions. She reads the elbow and when it drops she knows to move in. I am super proud of her,” Jans said.
In this match, Sunrise Mountain struggled with serve receive. Jans said the players could not stop thinking about it and relied too much on the outside hitters. It put pressure on those players and the team really needed more options to find the holes on the other side.
Sunrise Mountain tried to work the ball around, but defensively Millennium made the adjustments. Communication on every play kept the girls in control.
“We work on different shots for our defense to be challenged and how to adapt to be successful to whats on the other side of the net and we did that tonight,” Perez said.
Jans said looking back on the season the team has blossomed after starting slow. Smart play and the senior leadership carried the team and continued to build confidence in each player.
Next up, Millennium (32-7) will take on #3 Gilbert in another home match, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11. Win this semifinal, and the Tigers play for their third state title in four years on Saturday.
Reach reporter at email@example.com.
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