Heading into Thursday’s battle for first place in the Moore League, the Lakewood and Millikan girls’ volleyball teams had different emotions after both went to five sets in their most recent contests.
The Rams had a come-from-behind victory against Poly on Tuesday while the Lancers were coming off a close loss to Mater Dei— a match Lakewood coach Mike Wadley said he felt the team could’ve won.
Ultimately, the Lancers (7-3, 2-0) overcame the Rams’ tough serving to sweep Millikan 25-19, 25-20, 25-16 Thursday in another edition of the Battle of the Blueprint.
“Ashleigh (Atsaros) is doing a really good job with (Millikan),” Wadley said of Millikan’s new coach. “You can see right away the difference between the way they’re moving, the way they’re moving to the ball, the way they’re attacking and blocking. It’s a total difference.”
Another difference maker in the match was Lakewood’s setter Fatima Hall. The junior distributed the ball for a balanced attack as she finished the match with 17 assists, six kills, five blocks, four digs and one ace.
After the team’s disappointing loss, Hall said that today was all about getting back into the rhythm of how they want to play and execute.
“We just wanted to come in and do our job,” Hall said. “We wanted to make sure everyone did their job right and work together and stay at the same level throughout.”
Millikan (5-3, 2-1) didn’t make it easy for the Lancers as Natalie Paulson and the Rams used their serving to keep Lakewood off balance.
In the first set Lakewood took an 11-5 lead, but the Rams battled back behind some solid serving from Paulson and timely blocks from Olivia Martinez.
Paulson finished the match with five kills and four aces, while Martinez had three kills, two blocks and one ace.
In each set, Millikan battled their way to late game ties, but couldn’t complete the comeback to force extra sets against the Lancers.
In the third set, Paulson landed awkwardly after a kill and sat the rest of the match after cutting the Lancers lead to 11-6.
“It wasn’t the same team that we had Tuesday night,” Millikan coach Ashleigh Atsaros said. “Consistency is key— that’s what championship teams have. They come on the court and play the same game every time. I feel like we underestimate ourselves.”
Lakewood’s Shayna Martinez had a match-high 11 kills.
Lakewood will be back on the court Friday when they compete in the Dave Mohs Tournament and Millikan will be off until they play Wilson on Sept. 21.