Haas Pavilion was resplendent with noise Saturday night as an enthusiastic crowd cheered the Mills volleyball team to their first victory of the season.
The Cyclones faced off against William Jessup University’s Warriors in four games with a 3-1 win for their second match of the season. “They played really well,” freshwoman Andie Schmitt said, “I’m proud of my teammates.”
As a team that didn’t win a single match last year, returning player and sophomore Vaughan Bradley-Willemann said, “It was a really huge deal.”
Mills took a strong lead in the first game accompanied by the support of the crowd. Throughout the first game fans kept trickling in until the stands were full. One cluster of students held a sign that read “Blow them away.” William Jessup came back to take the lead at 13-14, but Mills fought back with battles at the net and returns that had the away team chasing for the ball. In the end, a 28-28 tie resulted in a 28-30 game for William Jessup, their only win of the match.
The close loss made the Cyclones hesitate and the Warriors took a 5 point lead in the second game. The Mills women kicked back in gear and crept up in the point score to 20-22 and finally to a lead at 25-24. Rousing cheers of “Let’s go Mills” fell into a rhythm with stamping feet that shook the stands. A final score of 30-25 Mills tied the Cyclones and the Warriors at 1-1.
The win gave the team a boost, and they took the first point in game 3 and began to dominate the court. By 10-3 William Jessup was falling all over the court in their attempts to return the ball. Mills never relinquished their lead and ended the game 30-22 Mills to take the lead overall.
The final game began with the crowd on their feet as Mills took the first point again. It was a tight score with a pause at 19-18 when the referee had a Mills player wipe sweat from the floor. In the last points, Mills pulled ahead to win 30-28 for their third game win, giving them the best of 5 and thus the match.
The match follows an 0-3 loss to Simpson University on Friday night. New coach Daniel Rasay said, “They were a different team tonight.” He likened the girls to deer in headlights in their match against Simpson, but said they were “a little more consistent and more comfortable” for their win.
After a season of silent stands, returning and new players alike find the new, loud crowd awesome. “It feels amazing,” said Bradley-Willemann. “It gets you riled up,” she said.