By Josh Brown
TROY — For the past four years, Troy dominated the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division, going a combined 20-0.
Thanks to the realigned GWOC American North Division this season, they almost matched that win total in one season.
The Trojan volleyball team (18-4, 15-0 GWOC American North) completed two runs through its division opponents, as well as a run through the sister division, the American South — and the last win was a Senior Night exclamation point on Thursday in a 25-14, 25-10, 25-21 rout of Piqua Thursday at the Trojan Activities Center.
“I just told them, 15-0, that’s a lot of wins, that’s pretty fun,” said a jubilant coach Michelle Owen after the match. “We’ve never had that before. It’s just been a 5-0 next to our name. I told the girls that before the game — you don’t want to look back on this in five, six years, when you click that ‘2016’ … and see a 14-1 where there could’ve been a 15-0. We definitely wanted to make sure we took care of business tonight. I’m very proud of them.
“For us to come through, especially the North division that second time when everyone was playing better. You definitely have a target on your back when you win that many games, so everybody’s out to get you. Butler had that 14-game winning streak we had to deal with last night, Piqua was very active on social media with their comments before the match tonight. We had plenty of motivation to come out and play well tonight, in addition to Senior Night.”
As happy as Owen was, though, she came out of the locker room smiling and laughing with the loud music still blaring, the team still celebrating.
“Oh no, I don’t dance,” she said with a big laugh. “I told them I don’t do all that.”
She just might, though, if the Trojans can get a win at the district level this season. The Trojans have been to the district final three of the last four years, falling each time. This year, Troy will face a difficult run to get back, though — as the fourth seed, they will face No. 20 Franklin in the first round, likely see GWOC American North rival Butler, the No. 6 seed for a third time and then likely No. 2 Springboro in the sectional final.
“Now tomorrow, we’ll refocus our efforts for next week,” Owen said. “We’ve got Franklin Monday, we’ve probably got Butler. We’ll have to refocus our scouting reports and see what we need to work on from this week. We’ve definitely got things we need to work on on and off the court. Our goal is to get back to the district final game.”
Thursday against Piqua, there was plenty to dance about for the freshly-minted five-time division champion Trojans.
Troy made it clear who the better team was in the first eight points of the match. Camryn Moeller served up an 8-0 run, with the Trojans scoring every point with a kill or ace, no need to depend on errors by the opposition. Two aces and a kill by Moeller, three kills by senior Miranda Silcott and a kill by senior Chloe Johnston made it 7-0, then Gabbi Johnson finished off a frantic rally with a tip kill that made it 8-0, and the Trojans cruised to a 25-14 win.
Piqua hung around in the second game, only trailing 11-9, before a kill by Payton Riley gave the serve to Troy senior Katie Jackson. She didn’t let go of it until the next-to-last point, serving 12 straight with one ace and making the score 24-9 before finally hitting a serve long. Gabbi Johnson put down a kill on the next point, though, and Troy took Game 2 25-10.
The Trojans’ service game was on all night, with senior Victoria Holland piling up three aces, Moeller with two aces, seniors Katie DeMeo, Miranda Silcott and Jackson each with an ace and junior Dana Wynkoop with an ace.
DeMeo and Moeller had five kills apiece and Silcott and Riley each added two in the third set as Troy pulled out to a 21-14 lead and completed the sweep.
Before the match, the Trojans honored their six seniors: DeMeo, Silcott, Holland, Jackson, Johnston and Caroline Pratt.
“We served tough,” Owen said. “We were definitely in system a lot early. We moved some kids around in that third set — we wanted to make sure our seniors were getting the ball a lot, getting the recognition they deserved tonight, so we did make some adjustments to make sure that happened. The six of them played well, and that’s definitely what we wanted, for them to go out with that positive experience tonight on their home court.
“This year, without the GWOC Tournament, it was the first time in quite a while that Senior Night really is Senior Night. That’s kind of a cool experience, as well.”
The Trojans will face Franklin in the first round of the Division I sectional tournament at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Butler High School.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.