By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — The Troy volleyball team knew exactly what to expect in its first official Miami Valley League match against Greenville.
The Green Wave knew exactly what the seven-time defending division champion Trojans would throw at them, too.
And in the end, Troy’s never-ending supply of weapons and veteran leadership was too much for Greenville’s scrappy defense to handle in a 25-13, 25-19, 25-11 Trojan victory in both teams’ season opener to kick off play in the MVL Miami Division Tuesday at the Trojan Activities Center.
And even though Troy (1-0, 1-0 MVL Miami) swept Greenville in both matches last season, Troy coach Michelle Owen remembered the way the Wave pushed the Trojans in all three sets the last time the teams met.
“We knew that they’d be better,” Owen said. “I expected them to come out and play us hard. They were competitive with us last year — when we played them that second time last year, they challenged us.”
The Wave (0-1, 0-1 MVL Miami), meanwhile, was ready to face a loaded Trojan team.
“We knew coming in that Troy would be tough,” Greenville coach Michelle Hardesty said. “They’re loaded with seniors, and they’re impressive. We wanted to be challenging to them.
“We had some really impressive moments. I’m pleased with the way we played at times. This was a great preview of what we have going into the season. Troy challenged us in areas that we need to get better.”
Most of Greenville’s impressive moments came on defense early, too, as the Wave managed to dig up some of the Trojans’ big guns’ biggest blasts, keeping points alive long enough to force Troy into mistakes and even taking an early 6-5 lead.
A service error and a four-point service run by Emmie Jackson — whose serve would prove to be huge later on — put Troy in control of the set, though, and the Trojans began to spread the ball around to all of its hitters and pulled away to claim Set One.
“You always have those first-game jitters,” Owen said. “We have some new kids in new spots, and as a team we’ve been dealing with some things this week, so the question was how would we go out and perform. And not being able to really scout Greenville, we didn’t know what we were going to get.
“I was really happy with how we came out, though, especially in Set One. We played purposeful volleyball and were very focused, and our attention to detail looked good.”
And even though Troy led throughout the second set, it still seemed more sluggish than in the first, with Greenville keeping things close and only trailing by two as late as 13-11 before a four-point service run by Morgan Baber gave Troy a seven-point lead at 18-11, and the Trojans basically held that lead from there.
“Set Two, we got a little lazy, I felt like,” Owen said. “We started to take some things for granted, our touch wasn’t quite as detail-oriented and I felt like the score reflected that.”
In the third, though, Troy’s service game left no doubts.
Kate Orban served Troy out to a 3-0 lead with a pair of aces, then Jackson rattled off eight straight points to stake the Trojans out to a 12-1 lead. Jackson had two aces during that run, and middles Brianna Slusher and Anna Boezi had a kill and a block each to put the match out of reach.
And to close things out, Jackson served the final four points of the match to close things out, finishing with four aces, 15 digs and an assist on the night.
“All preseason, her serve has been kind of inconsistent. So I was really happy for her to be able to go out there tonight, serve lights out, not miss and really put it where I wanted it,” Owen said. “And she passed the ball well, too. She’s worked really hard in the preseason to earn that libero spot, so I was really happy to see her play the way she played.
“In Set Three, we focused on our contact, and we really challenged our girls to get some blocks, too. We hadn’t really blocked well all night. And our block really stepped its game up.”
Slusher led the balanced Troy offense on the night with eight kills and added an ace, four digs and three blocks. Lauren Schmitz added five kills, an assist, an ace, seven digs and two blocks, Boezi had five kills, two digs and three blocks, Carly Pfieffer had four kills, a dig and a block, Hallie Westmeyer had four kills, and two blocks, Orban had three kills, four aces and three digs and Morgan Kaiser had a kill, seven assists and four digs. Baber finished with 15 assists, two aces and a dig, Genna Coleman had four digs, Emily Huber had three assists and a dig and Brennah Hutchinson had two digs.
Emma Klosterman led Greenville with five kills, two aces and one block, Abbie Yoder had three kills and one block, Annie Hayes had two kills and one block, Libby McKinney had one kill and one ace and Josi Worden, Ashley Strosnider and Susie Blocher each had one kill.
Next up for Troy is a trio of road matches — at West Carrollton Thursday, Miami East Saturday and Xenia Monday — before returning home to face Fairborn on Aug. 27. Greenville, meanwhile, travels to Fairborn Thursday and the Darke County Tournament at Franklin Monroe Saturday before its home opener against Butler Monday.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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