6A Recap: Mill Valley Brings it Home
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When the season started, it was Blue Valley North and Olathe Northwest as the favorites to bring home the 2023 state title. As the season got started, Blue Valley North made a strong case that this indeed would be their…
When the season started, it was Blue Valley North and Olathe Northwest as the favorites to bring home the 2023 state title. As the season got started, Blue Valley North made a strong case that this indeed would be their year by racing out to wins in their first 25 matches. Olathe Northwest started the season without one of their main players and lost their first two before racking off ten straight. Mill Valley dropped their opener, then was dropped by Blue Valley North and Olathe South in an early season tournament. The defeat to Olathe South made me lose track of them for a bit but after realizing they had a double-digit winning streak going, they jumped back on our radar.
When the pools were released, I picked the four Kansas City area teams advancing to the final four. The order I had them was off as Mill Valley earned the top seed from their pool after a three-set win over Olathe Northwest to finish 3-0 on day 1. In the other pool, Blue Valley North won their pool, which gave a Blue Valley North vs. Olathe Northwest semifinal, my pick for the finals. Mill Valley would then face Blue Valley West in the battle of the Jaguars. Blue Valley West was the first team to give Mill Valley a loss this year.
In the semifinals, seniorstayed hot after a 32-kill pool play performance by pacing Mill Valley with 8 kills. Freshman added 5 in the -23, -20 sweep. On the other side of the net, freshman counterpart Peyton Kubik had 7 kills. led the way with 9. Mill Valley made a big difference in the contest at the net, tallying 12 blocks as a unit with garnering 5. Mill Valley played like a team full of confidence and never seemed to be rattled in the contest, even when West made slight runs. They stayed steady with good back row passing by and Riggs.
The other match featured a clash of titans with Blue Valley North and Olathe Northwest. They played early in the season minusand the Mustangs got the sweep. They played a few weeks later at full strength and a much tighter match, still won by the team from Blue Valley 2 sets to 1. It’s difficult they say to beat a team three times but that didn’t stop , , and squad from making it three times a charm in a 2-1 win. Pierce and went off for a combined 38 kills but it wasn’t enough as Parks had 19 on the other side. Blue Valley North was able to find a groove in the first set to pull away 25-22. The next set saw the Ravens gain momentum as they ran away with the second, -17. The third set saw both teams go on small scoring runs but in the end, it was some good defensive plays and timely blocks for Blue Valley North to seal the deal, -21.
Mill Valley would enter the championship match with a slight 2-1 advantage in the head-to-head matchups on the season. The most recent faceoff was an October 11th sweep by the hands of Mill Valley. Both sets were entertaining with the first going extra and the second the distance at 25-23. In that match, both teams hit poorly from a percentage standpoint but the Mill Valley defense showed big with 16 blocks. The championship match proved different as Mill Valley hit for a .353 clip and Burke hit for over .400 alone with 13 kills on 25 swings and only 2 errors. The first set was what you expect from a championship match as each team exchanged blows but in the end, Mill Valley was the first to 25, winning -23. They didn’t let off the gas going on a run mid-set to get some breathing room and winning the state title in two sets.
Olathe Northwest would bounce back to win the third-place match.
Members of the state all-tournament team include:
Ashlyn Blazer; Mill Valley,; Mill Valley, ; Blue Valley North, ; Olathe Northwest, ; Washburn Rural, ; Mill Valley, Peyton Kubik; Blue Valley West, ; Blue Valley North, ; Blue Valley West, ; Blue Valley North, ; Olathe Northwest, ; Olathe Northwest