TROY — With her Trojans already owning two regular season wins over Greenville this year, Troy volleyball coach Michelle Owen knew what led to the team’s performance Tuesday.
“I feel like it’s a combination of playing a team three times is rough, no matter who it is, and maybe looking ahead to next week,” she said. “And we are. We’ve been prepping for Franklin and Springboro next week since Monday. You don’t want to say that you’re looking past this game because you never want to look past a team, but when you’ve played someone twice with the scores we have, yeah, we’re focused on the sectional tournament.”
Even so, the Trojans were able to sweep the Green Wave Tuesday night at the Trojan Activities Center, winning 25-20, 25-18, 25-20 in the semifinal round of the season-ending Miami Valley League tournament and advancing to take on regular-season MVL champion Tippecanoe for a third time this season in the final round on Thursday.
Troy (18-2) hadn’t dropped a set to Greenville (13-7) in the previous two meetings between the teams, and even though the Wave maintained a lead as late as 13-12 in the first set, began the third on a 9-3 run and led that set as late as 15-14, the Trojans rallied each time to complete the sweep.
“That seems to be our issue at times this season — we get out to a deficit and have to battle our way back. We’ve got to work on how to win that first ‘game to five’ or ‘game to 10 points,’” Owen said. “We’ve been rearranging our lineup a little bit, so now we’re trying to find that new gel, so it was a combination of factors tonight.”
And with that lineup tinkering, everyone was able to get involved Tuesday.
Anna Boezi had 10 kills, five blocks and an ace, Macie Taylor had eight kills, 20 digs, a block, an assist and an ace, Brynn Siler had seven kills, five blocks and a dig and Hallie Westmeyer had five kills, five blocks, a dig and an assist to lead Troy’s offense. Kasey Sager added two kills, a dig and two blocks and Amber Poore had two kills, two digs and two blocks.
Morgan Kaiser had nine assists as well as five aces, two kills and two digs, Ella Curcio had nine assists, two digs and an ace, Ellie Fogarty had six assists, six digs and an ace, Brennah Hutchinson had six digs and two aces, Genna Coleman had three assists and two digs and Lauren Rice had three digs.
The Wave led throughout the first set but never by more than three points, and an ace by Boezi gave the Trojans their first lead at 14-13. Greenville kept it close all the way to 21-20 Troy, but Curcio served three straight points, including an ace, to give Troy a 1-0 lead in the match.
And in the second, Taylor served up a seven-point run, including a pair of aces, to spot the Trojans out to a 9-1 lead, and even though the Wave closed to within two at 20-18 late, Troy won the next three straight to go up 2-0.
“We definitely came out with more energy in Set 2,” Owen said. “That looked a lot better. So is that the right combination of people, that Set 2 lineup? We have to keep working tomorrow at practice and see what it looks like.”
Greenville led 9-3 to start the third set, but a five-point service run by Hutchinson helped close the gap and, with the score tied 15-15, four straight aces by Kaiser gave Troy a solid lead. The Wave tied the score at 20-20, but Kaiser tipped over a kill and Boezi served four straight points to close out the match.
And while the MVL tournament hasn’t lived up to the likes of the Greater Western Ohio Conference tournament of the past, with Troy and Tippecanoe both sweeping their ways to Thursday’s final, the match will still give both teams a look at some tougher competition right before next week’s sectional.
“Those matches were unbelievable,” Owen said of the GWOC tournament, which ended in 2015 with Troy defeating Beavercreek in a five-set match for the final championship. “The atmosphere, the students, the fans — both teams just had so many fans here, and both teams battled. The competition in the semifinals and final to get that trophy, there were some all-out wars between us and Centerville and Lebanon and Beavercreek. It hasn’t been the same feeling. It’s definitely a different environment this year — and even the (sectional) tournament is going to be different.”