Greenville volleyball team loses season opener at Troy


TROY – Entering the season, the Troy volleyball team had won 35 consecutive division matchups.

In Tuesday’s season opener, the Trojans set a few extra goals beyond just winning.

And against Greenville, Troy (1-0, 1-0 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) hit all the marks it set for itself, sweeping the Lady Wave 25-10, 25-9, 25-9 at the Trojan Activities Center, possibly answering some of the questions the team had about itself as it begins the quest for a sixth consecutive division championship.

“We set some goals before the game – we wanted to hold them to a certain point allotment, some individual stuff on our side of the net, team-oriented goals we wanted to focus on to see where we were at at the end of the night,” Troy coach Michelle Owen said. “We did a good job. We held them under 10 points in all three sets, our ace numbers were pretty high in each set. It was a good start for us.”

One of the questions everyone else has for the Trojans is how they will fare after losing two of their top three leaders in kills last season, middle Katie DeMeo – who is now playing Division I college volleyball at West Virginia University – and outside Miranda Silcott.

Against Greenville, Troy was able to do whatever it pleased with five players collecting five or more kills on the night. Sophomore Lauren Schmitz had eight of her match-high 10 kills in the first set alone, and senior Camryn Moeller – who led the team in kills last season – steadily piled up eight. Kate Orban finished with six while Carly Pfeiffer and Brianna Slusher each had five.

“… Which is good. We know to win the big games that we have this season, we have to have more than one person scoring,” Owen said of the balance. “We can’t have one person with 19 kills and the next having seven and then three. We have to get more balanced contributions from more of our people. That’s our game plan moving forward.”

Troy was also without one of its big returning weapons in Gabbi Johnson, who was DeMeo’s backup in the middle last season.

“We brought Brianna Slusher up, and she did a great job for us,” Owen said. “She had five aces tonight. That takes a little bit of the pressure off of Gabbi to get back quickly – but she’s itching to play.”

It was clear from the start how the match would go, too.

Troy began the first game on a six-point run with Schmitz putting down two kills and a block during the run. Three straight aces by Slusher made the score 12-3, but the Wave (0-1, 0-1 GWOC American North) scrapped their way back to within five at 13-8. After an error gave the serve back to the Trojans, Moeller served up a seven-point run – powered by four more Schmitz kills – to make it 21-8, and Troy cruised from there.

In the second, the Trojans methodically built a 19-8 lead before Slusher served the final six points of the game, including another ace, and Moeller closed the game out on a booming kill to give Troy a 2-0 lead in the match.

And eight-point service run early in the third game by Payton Riley put the Trojans firmly in the driver’s seat to close the match out, too. And later, a Riley ace and a kill by Orban put the finishing touches on the sweep.

Schmitz added an ace and seven digs to her totals, Moeller had an ace, nine digs and two blocks, Orban had a dig and a block, Pfeiffer had a dig and two blocks and Slusher had five aces, three digs and a block. Riley finished with two kills, two aces, two digs and a block, Dana Wynkoop had 34 assists, two aces and four digs, Alexa Holland had eight digs and Kearston Riley had one dig.

Greenville’s Baylee Petry had three kills and two blocks. Brooke Stachler had nine assists, Chloe Cox had nine digs, Josi Worden had two blocks, and Clair Monnin had one kill.

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By Josh Brown

jbrown@troydailynews.com

Contact Josh Brown at 937-552-2132 or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.

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