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High school volleyball: Grateful and driven Millard advances to 2A semifinals

RICHFIELD — Millard High School’s volleyball team made a strong statement in the first day of the 2A state tournament playoffs in Richfield Thursday afternoon.

The Eagles were able to beat Altamont 3-0.

“We’re just looking forward to having another opportunity to play,” said coach Delise Fullmer. “All season our theme has been grateful and driven.

“We’re just grateful that we got a full season, we’re grateful we got to play and now we’re grateful that we’re here.”

The first set against the Longhorns started out with Altamont establishing an early 6-2 lead. Millard soon tied things up, but Altamont’s Emrey Maxfield, a senior, was able to hit key spikes to put the Longhorns ahead again.

Millard followed the lead of seniors Malia Cannon and Eliza Swallow and at the net, as well as Mary Degraffenried as they scored seven unanswered points to take a 17-15 edge.

“They spread it out so well offensively,” Fullmer said, adding that the entire team was firing on all cylinders as it closed the first set 25-19.

“They’ve always been underdog players with a lot of fight in them,” Fullmer said. “These girls have been playing together since about fourth or fifth grade. They have just a strong sense of teamwork. They’re playing for each other and there isn’t a selfish kid on the court.”

The next two sets were not as close as Millard sprinted to 25-17, and 25-21 victories.

The tournament concludes Friday. The Eagles are two matches away from holding the state trophy.

In the regular season, the Eagles secured the Region 18 crown outright.

“It was a tough region,” Fullmer said. “To really earn it this year meant the world to these girls.”

While the prize is with in sight, the Eagles are just focused on the next match, which is against region rival Enterprise.

“Every point we make, every serve and even every mistake, we’re just grateful for it,” Fullmer said. “If they just play the way they can, we’re going to be satisfied.”