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Mill Creek advances with win over Roswell

HOSCHTON -- During Mill Creek's Class AAAAAA state volleyball second-round match against Roswell, there was one common theme in the Hawks' huddle during every timeout.

We want to practice tomorrow.

That will happen later this afternoon after Mill Creek pulled out a long and grinding 3-2 win over Roswell Tuesday night to advance to the Elite Eight on Saturday.

Mill Creek won 25-22, 17-25, 25-19, 21-25, 15-13 in a match where there was only one double-digit lead in any of the five sets.

Mill Creek (43-10) also avenged a 2-0 loss (25-14, 25-17) to Roswell back on October 4.

"When we played (Roswell) in the regular season, Harrison had just beaten us in a very emotional game and we were flat," said Mill Creek head coach Brian Williamson. "They played fantastic and we weren't very good. Tonight, we just didn't give up. We lost Game 2 bad, then dropped Game 4. But our fans kept us going and we just didn't want the season to end."

After Mill Creek had won the first and third sets while Roswell took the second and fourth, it set up a winner-take-all fifth and final set.

Mill Creek looked to be in great shape as the Hawks built a three-point lead as Cayla Graham nailed a kill to make it 13-10.

But Roswell came back and tied it at 13-all.

That only set the stage for Graham to finish with a kill and a block to seal the deal and send Mill Creek to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2009.

"This team has worked hard and the competition has been tough down the stretch," said Williamson. "But we stuck together and tonight was another example of that."

Graham finished the night with 17 kills while Emily Wylie had 10 kills and five assists.

Audrey Hoffman added nine kills, Trinity Garmon seven kills and Emily Rose six kills for the Hawks.

Meanwhile, the setters were doing their jobs as Kaitlyn Lattimer had 22 assists and Carley Eiken had 12 assists for Mill Creek.

The first set belonged to Mill Creek as the Hawks did a good job defensively and turned several blocks into points.

Tied at 17-17, Mill Creek took a one-point lead at 18-17 and never trailed again as the Hawks took the opening set.

Roswell cut the Mill Creek lead to one at 21-20, but the Hawks were steady in winning four of the final six points to close out a 25-22 win.

But Roswell (26-19) came back strong in the second set as the Hornets went up 10-7 and scored nine of the next 11 points to build a commanding 19-9 advantage.

From there, Roswell controlled the tempo and finished off a 25-17 win in the second set.

Mill Creek regained the momentum in the third set when neither team built more than a two-point lead, until the Hawks broke an 11-all tie and eventually went ahead 14-11.

Roswell twice cut the Mill Creek lead down to a single point at 17-16 and again at 18-17.

But the Hawks were steady down the stretch, winning seven of the final nine points to take the third set 25-19 and go up 2-1 in the match.

However, Roswell wasn't finished and the Hornets snapped an 18-all tie to pull away for a 25-21 win in the fourth set.

The set saw six ties and four lead changes while neither team could mount more than a four-point lead.

But Roswell rallied for seven of the final 10 points to set up the fifth and deciding set.