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Girls volleyball: Millennium too much for Mesa

Mesa girls volleyball coach Amy Strawn (middle) tries to talk the Jackrabbits out of a early match funk. (Jason P. Skoda/MyNewsMesa.com)

Early season freedom girls volleyball matches are all about discovery.

There are some power points on the line, but finding an identity in early going is just important.

Coaches get a certain amount of feel of their team’s strengths and weaknesses in the preseason camp and scrimmages, but once the uniform goes on for the first time and the referee gets in the stand the true enlightenment begins.

Amy Strawn got a peek under the hood of the Mesa squad on Tuesday in its home opener and it wasn’t exactly what she he had hoped out of the Jackrabbits.

Mesa was swept by Millennium as the Tigers won 25-16, 25-21, 25-11.

“We were a step slow,” Strawn said. “We were reacting instead of anticipating. Some of the girls were lacking the confidence that they need and believe they can actually do this. I figured we’d put up a bigger fight than that though. I really did. I thought we’d do better.”

After falling behind 10-2 and never recovering in the first set, the Jackrabbits battled well in the second set and had a 20-16 lead with service control.

They ended up losing as the Tigers went on a 9-1 run to go up 2-0. Not many teams recover from a 0-2 deficit so closing out that four-point lead was a must.

“We can’t let that happen,” senior libero Brandi Lang said. “We were having fun and playing well (in the second set), but they got back into it and we didn’t recover.”

It was a similar theme most of the night as Millennium’s Terayah Stukes dominated the net, and hit flushed attacks all match long.

“She’s a great athlete,” Strawn said. “Holy cow. She works hard and gets her money worth on every ball she gets to. She is a hard hitter, and a good competitor.”

The Mesa student body broke out some Jackrabbit volleyball fatheads. (Jason P. Skoda/MyNewsMesa.com)

The Jackrabbits will get a chance discover a little more about themselves on Thursday when Mesa travels to Gilbert.

“They played well and we didn’t have it tonight,” said junior outside hitter Annie Hatch, who led the team in kills at eight. “You want to be strong in the first one. It was disappointing, but we will bounce back.”

– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to jskoda@mynewsmesa.com.

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