/Troy volleyball earns berth in SBC tourney
(PHOTO/ Troy Athletics) Freshman outside hitter Cheyenne Hayes led the Trojans in their 3-2 win over Appalachian State on Friday’s senior night. Hayes’ 17 kills and two aces were both team highs, while Troy punched its ticket as the eighth seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on Thursday.

Troy volleyball earns berth in SBC tourney

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Daniel Hunt

Staff Writer

The Trojan volleyball team completed its last remaining home matches of the season over the weekend, taking down Appalachian State 3-2 on Friday and losing to Coastal Carolina 3-1 on Saturday.

Despite being dismantled at the hands of the Chanticleers in the Trojans’ final regular season game, Troy made the final cut to play in this week’s Sun Belt Conference Tournament. After missing the tournament last season, the Trojans will look to make a dark-horse run when they play South Alabama on Thursday night.

Prior to that, four seniors were honored before the Appalachian State game, where Troy was able to come out on top after trading wins with the Mountaineers in the first four sets.

With the Trojans looking to avenge a 3-2 loss at Appalachian State on Oct. 29, the teams played a close first set. Tied at 11, Appalachian State went on a 5-1 run to get ahead 16-12. Troy battled back to even it up at 22 all, but the Mountaineers finished on a 3-0 run to secure a first-set victory.

Troy bounced back, dominating the second set with a 0.324 hitting percentage from the floor compared to just 0.086 percent by the Mountaineers. The Trojans downed the visiting team 25-17 to win the second set.

Things seemed to flip in the opposite direction for Troy in the third set as Appalachian State hit 0.346 percent from the floor to Troy’s 0.143 percent. Despite tallying 13 kills in the set, eight errors kept the Trojans from cutting into Appalachian State’s lead. The Mountaineers won the set 25-16.

In the fourth set, Appalachian State started on a 4-1 run. Facing match point, it looked like Troy might fall at home, but the team battled back to even the match up with a 25-21 win.

Again, with the score tied at 11, Troy’s Cheyenne Hayes took over the game. Two consecutive kills gave Troy a 13-11 lead, and one play later, she ended the game with two more kills to seal Troy’s victory.

It was a career night for the sophomore as she ended the night with 17 kills, two aces and a block. Sophomore Logan Page also contributed with 12 kills and seven blocks.

Saturday, however, was a different story. Conference-leading Coastal Carolina came into town for the Trojans’ season finale, having lost only one conference match this season.

Troy came ready to play, though, and stole the first set from the Chanticleers 27-25 thanks to two kills by Belle Waldrop to close out the set.

After that win, however, Troy followed up with some of its worst plays of the season in the following three sets.

Coastal Carolina looked lethal on offense in the second, hitting 0.464 percent from the floor and committing only one error. Troy lost the set 25-12.

Troy stayed competitive in the third but still managed to hit only 0.023 percent, while also recoding nine errors.

Coastal came into the fourth set with a lot of momentum, starting the fourth set on a 15-2 run — the largest the Trojans have given up this season.

The only two points Troy was able to score were off attack errors committed by the Chanticleers. Coastal won the set 25-9 and the match 3-1.

Troy hit -0.143 percent in the final set and 0.051 percent in the match, while also scoring the lowest points in a set this season.

Next, the Trojans will play Thursday in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where they will face fifth-seeded South Alabama. That match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.