By Josh Brown
PIQUA — Four straight division titles.
Entering Tuesday night, a total of 24 straight division matches.
And, arguably most important to the Trojans, six straight wins over the rival Piqua Indians, postseason included.
It’s been a long time since the Troy volleyball team hasn’t been in control.
The Trojans were even in charge during the brief stretches when they fell behind in Tuesday’s Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division matchup at Piqua, giving away a few too many points early for coach Michelle Owen’s liking — but they leaned on their big three of Katie DeMeo, Miranda Silcott and Camryn Moeller when they needed to and completed a 25-15, 25-21, 25-12 sweep of the Indians at Piqua High School.
DeMeo, Moeller and Silcott combined to score 46 points through kills, aces and blocks — only two less than Piqua (5-2, 3-2 GWOC American North) scored in total. The Indians, meanwhile, only managed to score 18 of their points on their own.
“In the first set, we had a ton of errors,” Owen said. “They had 15 points, and 10 of them were on our errors. Missed serves, blocking errors, hitting errors — we told the girls that if they score 15 with all of those errors, they shouldn’t score more than 10.”
A four-point service run by Silcott early, including a pair of aces, gave Troy (5-1, 5-0 GWOC American North) an early lead, but three service errors and a number of missed hits kept Piqua close at 12-10. The score was still close at 16-12 when the Trojans flipped the switch, scoring seven of their final nine points on kills or aces to put the set away and take a 1-0 lead.
Piqua put in a better performance in the second set, with Ashley Ho, Tylah Yeomans and Mikayla Shaffner all scoring kills early to keep the score even at 4-4. Troy led by as many as five at 12-7, but the Indians won seven of the next eight points — the first five on Troy errors but then capped off by a kill and a block by Ho — to take a 14-13 lead.
“We just got tight in some situations in the second set,” Owen said. “As a whole, our setter-to-hitter connection was just a little off tonight. We weren’t setting our outsides well, the connections just weren’t there. But we found a way to win Set 2.
“This is a hostile environment for us. This is by far one of the most hostile places we play. Their students are right in your face on that side of the court.”
Piqua held the lead as late as 19-17 after an ace by Yeomans — but once again, Troy regained its control and took over. Silcott hit a kill from the back row to give the serve to Moeller, who ran off the next six straight points. Moeller had three aces during the run and DeMeo had three kills to make it 24-19, and DeMeo eventually finished off the set with another kill to put Troy up 2-0.
DeMeo finished with six of her match-high 14 kills in the second set alone — four of them in Troy’s final six points.
“We did a good job of attacking the people we wanted to at the end of that game,” Owen said. “Rotationally, they had a couple of their weaker players in the back row that we knew we could go after. That’s really what I told the girls. We were serving at a couple specific people and getting them out of system enough where they were sending easy things over and we could really use our offense.
“Katie’s 6-foot-2. You can send up an average ball to her and she’s going to make something good happen with it because of her vision. We took advantage of that in that second set, and then in Game 3 we really refocused our effort and our energy.”
After a pair of Troy errors to start the third set, the Trojans rolled from there. Moeller had five kills and DeMeo added three — while Piqua had one early kill by Shaffner that made the score 3-1 Indians and then didn’t score another point on its own the rest of the way. After the score was 13-7 Troy, four of the Indians’ final five points came on Trojan service errors, and a kill by Gabbi Johnson sealed the match.
“I told our girls we need to go out and win Game 3 the way we’re capable of,” Owen said. “We set a goal of where we wanted to finish in that last game point-wise — and we met that goal, so we were happy with that.”
DeMeo finished with 14 kills, three blocks, three digs and an ace, Moeller had 12 kills, three aces, 10 digs and two blocks and Silcott had five kills, four aces, two blocks and six digs. Johnson had two kills and Lauren Schmitz had a block and a kill to round out Troy’s offense, with Katie Jackson piling up 26 assists, an ace and two digs.
Caroline Pratt had seven digs and an ace, Kearston Riley had six digs, three aces and two assists, Alexa Holland had seven digs and an assist, Payton Riley had a block and two digs and Chloe Johnston had a dig.
The Trojans will host the Troy Invitational Saturday — the final time the tournament will be held. And the Trojans will be looking to fix some things, even after Tuesday’s dominant finish.
“There were still a lot of things I wasn’t happy about in that set. We need to go home, watch film, learn from some stuff. We’re very much looking forward to having healthy players — our two players that are out right now should be back this weekend, early next week at the latest. We’re very excited to getting them back out on the court, get a little more balance in our rotation.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.