By Josh Brown
TROY — After last week’s signature win over Fenwick, Troy volleyball coach Michelle Owen kept her team on a tight leash the following night against an easier opponent.
Against a similar opponent, Xenia, the leash began a little looser … but tightened as the match went.
In the end, though, an error-filled second set proved to be a merely a speedbump as the Trojans (13-1, 10-0 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) steamrolled the American South Division-leading Buccaneers in three games, 25-7, 25-19, 25-6 Tuesday night at the Trojan Activities Center.
“It’s tough to always keep our momentum and focus,” Owen said. “Last Thursday, we set really strict guidelines for our match against West Carrollton. I didn’t want us to go to Fenwick and play great, then come back here and give up way more points that we should. Tonight, we set some guidelines coming in, but they weren’t as strict. After that second set, though, we set a point limit for the third.
“We made a lot of mistakes in Set 2. We obviously subbed some kids in, but they were still errors that we can control. Passing an easy dig, a free ball too close to the net, not quite getting our block where it needed to be … just little things. That’s why it was so frustrating. In Games 1 and 3, though, we controlled every aspect of the game. To let them score that many is just not really acceptable. We can’t just play with too many errors. We have to get better for tomorrow night.”
Of course, the goal is to get to the point where the Trojans can be unleashed entirely, to be facing opponents that will test the team in ways that Fenwick did. Wednesday night, Troy gets one of those chances, traveling to GWOC crossover rival Beavercreek.
“That will be a fun match,” Owen said. “Beavercreek is a fun environment. The gym is a little smaller, so everything seems a little louder. It’s a super important match for us, too, with seeding coming up next week. We always like to talk about controlling our own destiny, where we go on the bracket and who we want to play, and a win tomorrow would kind of seal that for us.”
Troy’s control of Tuesday night’s match began from the service line.
The Trojans aced Xenia (5-11, 4-6 GWOC American South) right off the court, piling up 18 total aces. A run of 11 straight points served by Victoria Holland in the first set put Troy up 22-5, and Holland had three of her match-high seven aces during the run. Fittingly enough, an ace by Katie Jackson ended the game.
A run of five more points in a row by Holland early in the second set turned a tie game into a 10-5 Troy lead. The Trojans led by as many as eight at 17-9, but those little errors kept the Bucs in the game, as close as three at 22-19. But back-to-back kills by Miranda Silcott and Lauren Schmitz and an ace by Silcott put Troy up 2-0.
The final set was far less close. Five straight serves by Camryn Moeller, then four more by Kearston Riley gave Troy a commanding 10-1 lead, then Dana Wynkoop served nine straight to make the score 20-3 — a run that included two aces, as well as two kills and a block by Katie DeMeo and kills by Moeller and Lauren Schmitz. Silcott, DeMeo and Moeller combined for four kills in the final five points, with Moeller scoring the final one to finish things off.
Silcott finished with 10 kills, three aces, two blocks and five digs, DeMeo had nine kills and two digs and Moeller had eight kills, four aces and 13 digs to lead the offense. Gabbi Johnson added five kills, two blocks and three digs, Schmitz had four kills and two digs, Payton Riley had a kill and a dig and Chloe Johnston had a kill.
Wynkoop had 17 assists, two aces and three digs, Jackson had 17 assists, an ace and two digs, Holland had five digs to go with her seven aces, Caroline Pratt had six digs and an ace, Kearston Riley had six digs and Alexa Holland had a dig.
“It’s important for the other kids to have some experience and be able to make plays when they need to,” Owen said. “We have to serve well again tomorrow at Beavercreek, execute our gameplan and use our middles — so we’ll have to pass well, too.”
After Wednesday’s road matchup at Beavercreek, the Trojans return home Thursday to face division foe Greenville.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.