By Chuck Reherman
When it comes to Yukon’s rivalry with Mustang, the Broncos have held the upper hand.But, not in volleyball.
Yukon turned in what could be their best performance of the season and swept the Lady Broncos in three sets Tuesday night, highlighting senior night for the Millerettes.
It was the second straight year that the Millerettes have come away with the win. Last year, YHS spoiled Mustang’s senior night and the Lady Broncos came into this match looking to “return the favor.”
But, the No. 15 ranked Millerettes, 14-15, came out to take the early lead in the first set and went on to win 28-26. The Millerettes won the second set 25-21 and used a service ace in the third to score the final point and take a 25-23 win.
“That was a great win,” Millerette head coach Rachel Hilton said. “A great game for our seniors. We have a tremendous group of seniors again and you could tell they love each other and wanted it. Last year was exciting away on their senior night, so there was a little bit of pressure that we have to defend that title.
“We wanted to do it big and finish it out in three sets,” she said. “Even though it was close, we were able to end it soon and not take any additional sets. We did really well of not playing to stay alive, we kept in that attack mode. Even the errors we had were pressure on the ball errors, which we had talked about that we would take any day than try to play safe. We didn’t play safe and were able to finish strong.
“I think our blocking got stronger as the match went along, our hitting was good. We did struggle with our serve in the last set, we missed some key serves, but our serve receive was great. They had some really good top spin from the jump serves and we were able to dig them out all night.”
The Millerettes missed a key serve with the score 22-20 that cut the lead back to one, then missed another that tied the set 23-23.
Mustang served into the net to set up the set and match point and the Millerettes used a service ace from Kiley Baker to seal the win 25-23.
The first set of the match set the tone for the night and when the Millerettes came away with win, it gave them the momentum they would need to go on and win the match.
The Millerettes did get off to a 4-1 start in that set, but saw Mustang rally and tie 7-7, then take a 9-8 lead. Yukon came back with two points to regain the lead and pushed the lead to 14-11.
But, the Millerettes just couldn’t seem to pull away as Mustang came back to tie 16-16, then took a 19-18 lead. A Taya McReynolds kill tied the set 19-19.
Down 24-23, Mustang was serving for the set, but the Millerettes answered with a Vanessa Stanley kill, then took the lead on a kill from McReynolds, 25-24. Mustang rallied to take a 26-25 lead, but a McReynolds kill tied the set again. Payton Milhoan’s block gave the Millerettes the lead and the set ended when Mustang hit the ball into the net.
McReynolds had 13 kills on the night, Jasmine Liongco had eight, Vanessa Stanley six, and Kiley Baker five.
The second set was close early and the Millerettes pulled away to a 24-20 lead. Mustang closed to 24-21, but McReynolds sealed the win with a kill.
“Taya had some big swings, Kiley and Vanessa had good swings, it’s all our seniors stepping up big,” Hilton said. “The seniors didn’t play nervous, they played in control and that always makes for a good night from your team.
“In all three sets, we had a quick little thought of lets not get let this be like it has before where we get into the frantic struggle to keep the ball off the ground,” she said. “I’m trying to lead by example, I’m trying to show that I am confident and that we know what we have to stay in attack mode and stay focused. We can’t get comfortable when we get up and we have to earn every point to win.”