Troy volleyball clinches share of MVL title with four-set win over Tippecanoe

TROY — The Troy volleyball team remembers the volleyball team remembers last year’s matches with Tippecanoe like it was yesterday.

They hadn’t forgotten that in Tipp’s run to the D-II Final Four a year ago, they had handed Troy its only two regular season losses and won the MVL title.

And a three-set win over Tipp earlier this year wasn’t enough.

But, Tippecanoe wouldn’t go down without a fight Thursday at Troy High School before Troy reversed last year’s sweep with a 25-20, 25-12, 27-29, 25-19 win.

Troy is now 19-1 overall and 16-0 in the MVL with two matches remaining, clinching a share of the MVL title.

Tippecanoe dropped to 15-2 overall and 12-2 in the MVL.

“We have talked about it a lot,” Troy coach Michelle Owen said about last year’s losses. “We don’t forget those things. We remember those scores”.

And while Howard Garcia knew the emotions would be running high on both teams in the rivalry, he said Troy handled it differently in those first two sets.

“They were emotional, but they were in control and used it to their advantage,” Garcia said. “We were playing with emotion, but we weren’t under control and it hurt us.”

Troy opened leads of 8-2 and 19-10 in the first set, but Tipp would fight back until a serve sailing long at 24-20 ended the set.

The second set was all Troy as the Trojans jumped to a 9-1 lead and were never headed in a 25-12 win.

With Anna Boezi pounding kills at the net, aggressive serving led by Andrea Prenger and Macie Taylor, Ellie Fogarty and Morgan Kaiser doing what they do all over the floor — Troy was clicking on all cylinders.

“We came out with a lot of energy,” Owen said.

And Tipp was struggling to get any kind of counter attack going.

While the Red Devils lost setter Hannah Wildermuth to an injury Monday, Garcia said that was not the problem in the first two sets.

“Hannah (Wildermuth) is the best setter in the conference,” Garcia said. “But, that is not an excuse. The difference in the first two sets was our serve receive. We weren’t making good passes, so everything had to go to the pins (outside). We could’t get the ball to our middles. That would have made a difference.”

After Troy had jumped to a 5-0 lead, Tippecanoe righted itself in a dramatic third set.

Troy served for the set at 25-24 and 26-25, but Ashley Aselage had kills for sideouts to extend the match.

Tipp had match point at 27-26, but Taylor hit a perfect that landed on the line on the left side to extend the set.

But, a Troy hitting error and a Olivia Gustavson kill forced a fourth set.

“You have to give them (Tippecanoe) credit,” Owen said. “They played their butts off in the fourth set.”

But, as they did in the first three sets, Troy jumped out fast in the fourth set.

Boezi started things with two spikes as Fogarty served four straight points and Troy led 6-1 after an ace by Prenger.

Tipp could not get any closer than 9-6 and appropriately at 24-19, Boezi finished things off with her 26th kill of the night.

“She is (a weapon),” Owen said. “That is a lot of kills for a four-set match. That is over five kills per set.”

Garcia said there were several issues for Tipp in the match.

“We didn’t get points on easy balls,” he said. “Troy was able to do that and we didn’t.”

Boezi added 15 blocks and three aces to her kill total, while Taylor filled out the stat sheet with 11 kills, five blocks, three aces and 24 digs.

Kaiser had 11 kills, 12 assists and nine digs and Fogarty had 25 assists and 19 digs.

Prenger served four aces, Kasey Sager had six kills and four blocks and Lauren Rice added 20 digs.

“Andrea (Prenger) has really been serving well,” Owen said. “Our libero (Lauren Rice) is hurting and she has been helping us out on defense as well. I felt like we didn’t block as well tonight.”

For Tippecanoe, Aselage had 14 kills and 10 digs, Alex Voisard had 11 kills and 14 digs and Alexa Mader had nine kills.

Olivia Gustavson had three blocks, Scott Hoskins dished out 24 assists and Grace Kinsman had 13 digs and three aces.

“We just have to on for her and look to finish the season strong,” Garcia said.

Owen knows what it is like to lose a key player to injury — losing Brynn Siler earlier in the season.

“We are familiar with that,” she said. “We are still working on that (making adjustments for an injury). Hopefully, Tipp can do that and have a long tournament run.”

Troy will host Stebbins Tuesday and travel to Piqua Thursday to close the regular season.

Tipp will go to Chaminade-Julienne Saturday, before playing four matches next week to close the regular season.