By Josh Brown
TROY — For Troy volleyball coach Michelle Owen to reach 200 career wins was special.
To do it on a night where her whole family was present? Icing on the cake.
So after the Trojans (10-2, 8-0 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) dispensed with winless Trotwood (0-8, 0-7 GWOC American South) in a 25-9, 25-13, 25-4 sweep Tuesday night at the Trojan Activities Center, Owen was able to celebrate her 200th victory with her players, her husband and assistant coach Jeff and their twin sons Callen and Carter.
“We don’t bring the kids to too many games, but we decided to start trying to bring them to more games this year,” Owen said. “We wanted to bring them tonight, and once we figured out that tonight was going to be a good opportunity to win this match, we brought them along. It’s very cool. They don’t grasp the entirety of what it means, but they’re excited and they know how much volleyball means to us and our family.
“To have them there, and to have Jeff there, you can’t ask for a better situation. They’re my whole world. Between them and the girls on the team — they’re my second daughters — it was just perfect.”
Since Owen took over 12 years ago, the Trojans have won the division title more than half of those years, including the last five straight. Owen’s Trojans won their first GWOC North Division title in 2008 and another in 2010, and then the team has won every title since 2012 — including last year when the conference realigned and turned it into the American North Division.
“If you would’ve told us when we started … I mean, when we took over, Butler was really good and Piqua was good, and we were just trying to be competitive with those people,” Owen said. “I mean, 100 wins wasn’t even something that was on our radar — it was just trying to get our girls to the place where we were competitive and we could compete for that title. Then we won that first title, and it was trying to be hungry for our next title. And when we won back-to-back title for the first time, that felt incredible. And now that we’ve had that first class to go through and win four in a row — Lauren Freed’s class — and then for us to continue after that performance, even with the changes the league has undergone, it’s all just a credit to our girls. The girls have risen to the challenge and found ways to do it.”
And for Owen, the key to it all has been the support system around her, as well as the incredible amount of talented players to come through their program in the past decade plus.
“It’s obviously a neat milestone,” Owen said. “We’ve coached a lot of kids, done a lot of things and gone a lot of places. And obviously, it would not have been possible without a lot of people. Jeff for one, having him on staff and the things that he does with our JV … I know he has far more than 200 wins because he’s had incredible seasons throughout his JV career. But the support that I have from him with our kids and our family is unbelievable.
“Not possible without him. Not possible without the support of all the families we have in our program. We have some great kids and great girls that have done some amazing things for us. We’ve had a lot of really successful seasons, and that’s because of the caliber of girls that have come through, the caliber of girls we have playing at the next level right now and that we’ve had playing at the next level throughout our 12 years here. The credit goes to the girls, for their work ethic and their focus and how hard they’ve bought into our systems and our program and what we’ve tried to do.”
As for the match itself, after the Trojans knocked off Versailles — which was state-ranked in Division III at the time — on Saturday to set up the 200th win opportunity, it was practically a foregone conclusion.
Troy almost had as many aces (28) as a team as it did kills (30) on the night, going on long service runs in each set to easily pull away. In the first, Morgan Baber had a string of three straight aces during a five-point run and Emmie Jackson had two straight aces to cap off a four-point run as the Trojans steadily pulled away.
In the second, though, errors and a lack of focus kept the Rams close, only down 12-11. But after Owen called a timeout, Jackson served the score to 18-11 with three aces and Dana Wynkoop served up a seven-point run to end it, including three more aces — two straight to close it out. And Set 3 was never in question after Kearston Riley served the score from 1-1 to 12-1, piling up four aces during the run. Baber served eight straight, along with three more aces, to give Troy match point at 24-3, and the Trojans finished off the milestone match in dominant fashion.
Camryn Moeller led the offense with 12 kills, Brianna Slusher had nine, Carly Pfeiffer had five, Gabbi Johnson had two and Baber and Wynkoop had one apiece. Service-wise, Baber had nine aces, Jackson had five, Riley and Slusher each had four, Wynkoop had three, Moeller had two and Anya Coleman had one. Wynkoop also had 26 assists, Baber had 20 and Alexa Holland had one.
Troy’s defense didn’t have much to do, with Slusher having two blocks and Moeller one. Holland led the team with six digs on the night, Moeller and Riley had four apiece, Coleman had three, Wynkoop had two and Jackson had one.
Troy travels to West Carrollton Thursday.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.