This past weekend the Troy volleyball team opened its season in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the Chattanooga Classic with a win against Eastern Kentucky 3-1, losses against Chattanooga 1-3 and Valparaiso 0-3, and a win at home against UAB 3-2.
The Trojans (2-2, 0-0 Sun Belt) came out strong in their opening game at the Chattanooga Classic, winning 3-1 against Eastern Kentucky (0-4, 0-0 Ohio Valley), who won 21 games last year. Senior outside hitter Blair Winston and junior outside hitter Symone Shaw led the team with 16 and 14 kills, respectively.
Sophomore setter Reina Terry recorded 27 assists, a team best, with freshman setter Alisha Hinrichs adding 17. Winston also set a career high of 19 digs. The team worked together, resulting in a win in the first game of the season.
However, Troy was unable to keep up the momentum from the win, as it was defeated in the last two matches of the tournament.
The Trojans faced the host, Chattanooga, for their second match of the tournament. After falling behind one set, the Trojans played and won an astounding second set, but lost their momentum afterward. The third set included seven ties and three lead changes, making for an intense match, but after a time out from the Mocs (2-1, 0-0 Southern), Chattanooga took control of the match.
Troy looked to bounce back against Valparaiso, but was unable to edge the Crusaders (3-0, 0-0 Horizon League) in three sets.
The Trojans looked to make a comeback in the third set after leading 16-9, but the Crusaders retook control to win the match 25-21. Shaw and Landis led Troy with seven kills apiece.
The Trojans regained their confidence on Tuesday, Sept. 1, winning an intense five-set match against UAB in their home opener. The Trojans came out on fire, winning the first match 25-20 while dominating the court. They kept the Blazers at a -.059 attack percentage in the first set, but let them come back in the second. Stepping up their game the Blazers won the second set 25-20 tying up the match. In the third set the Blazers were held at a .000 attack percentage by the Trojans’ defense and lost 25-18, putting the Trojans ahead.
The Trojans led 16-10 in the fourth set, and were ready to close the match with victory, but UAB refused to go down without a fight. The Blazers came back to win 27-25 to force a fifth set. In the decision-making fifth set, the Trojans dominated from start to finish, winning 15-6.
Head coach Sonny Kirkpatrick expressed his delight over the win against UAB after the match.
“Both teams played well, and I thought it was a really well-contested match,” he said. “I think that our conditioning, especially from this past weekend, pulled us through in the end. We made plays in the end of the match that we weren’t making at some points earlier in the game. Our team pulled together, and I’m really proud of them for that.”
The Trojans return to action when they play CSU Bakersfield in the first match of the Trojan Classic. Game time is set for 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 4.