Millennium rallies for five-set win over Gilbert

September 22, 2021 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Gilbert's Sydney Mahon (16) swings away as Millennium's Olivia Pavelchik and Eryn Jones (12) attempt to block in Wednesday's match. (Azpreps365 photo)

Gilbert High was two points away from protecting its perfect power-ranking record Wednesday iand recording a sweep in its third set with Millennium.

Two points away from a sweep. Millennium changed the course of the evening, however, scoring the next two points to force a fourth set and then a fifth. Millennium ended up earning a back-end sweep as it defeated Gilbert, 20-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-11, 15-10 in a 5A match at Gilbert.

Coming back from a 2-0 deficit is rarely easy, but Millennium found the wherewhithal to accomplish the feat. Millennium improved to 5-1 in power-ranking matches. Gilbert slipped to 7-1.

"The girls knew they could play better than what the showed," Millennium coach Julie Vastine said. "What made the difference is we minimized errors we made early. This team has shown a lot of resilience and they believe in themselves. We took some punches early and fought back."

Gilbert never led in the third set, but the tie at 24 had the home crowd adding momentum. That was shutdown by Millennium's standout hitter Eryn Jones and a set-clinching block by Talea Mitchell.

Jones, who led all players in kills with 25, was a thorn all night for Gilbert. She contributed eight kills in the third set to help keep her team afloat.

The loss was a tough for Gilbert to take. It was Jones that drew the compliment from Gilbert coach Joe Hesse.

"We couldn't stop her," Hesse said. 

Millennium dominated the fourth set and was very much in synch in the fifth set. Thirteen of its 15 points in that set were earned via kill or block and it never trailed in the set.

While Jones enjoyed a big night, which included 14 digs, attack mates were plenty. Anne Brauckmiller (12 kills), S'Mya Dorsey (11 kills) and Mitchell (10) reached double digits. Libero Morgan Stewart (25 digs) and Bianca Perez (12 digs) chimed in defensively.

Millennium lineup prepares for the opening serve Wednesday against Gilbert. (Azpreps365 photo)

Gilbert's attack was led by senior hitter Naia Stewart and junior middle Sydney Mahon with 16 kills each. Becca King added 11 kills.

Millennium next plays this weekend in the annual Goldwater Invitational. It's next power-ranking match is at home vs. Centennial on Sept. 28. Gilbert regroups for its first San Tan Region contest tonight (Sept. 23) at home against Higley.