By Lindsey Schoewe
Volleyball Beat Writer
The Troy volleyball team (7-12) handed Louisiana-Lafayette a straight set loss on Friday at Trojan Arena but fell short to UALR on Monday in a five set shootout at home.
The Trojans took on Louisiana-Lafayette’s Ragin’ Cajuns on Friday at home and were able to get the victory in three straight sets (25-20, 25-21 and 25-21).
Junior outside hitter Marija Zelenovic finished the match with a team-leading 12 kills, while Trojan senior setter Alexandra Alexander recorded a double-double with her 27 assists and team-high 16 digs.
Zelenovic and senior libero Courtney Cohen both reached double digit dig totals with 10 each.
Originally a Sunday match at noon, the 11 a.m. Monday match ended with Troy losing a five set thriller to the University of Arkansas Little Rock (22-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-18 and 9-15).
The first set was back and forth until the end that UALR won 25-22 but Troy answered with a second set win 26-24 to even the match at 1-1.
After the intermission, UALR came back playing like it had done in the first two sets but Troy kept fighting despite falling 25-21 in set three taking a 2-1 match lead.
The fourth set was critical because Troy had to win or the match was over, but something had changed about UALR.
The Arkansas Little Rock Trojans were suddenly flat in the fourth set, letting balls drop and making mistakes that Troy capitalized on to win the set 25-18 even though UALR surged late to trim the lopsided deficit.
With the match knotted up at 2-2, it came down to a fifth and final set to determine the winner.
After struggling in the fourth set, UALR came out ready to play taking the final set 15-9.
For Troy this loss in five sets is already its fifth loss that required all five sets this season, but the team is staying positive.
“We are not going to allow any of these losses to bring us down,” Alexander said. “Instead they are going to motivate us and get us ready for the next team.”
Alexander racked up 52 assists in the long match while sophomore outside hitter Blair Winston led the Trojans with 20 kills.
Zelenovic recorded 15 kills on Monday while junior outside hitter Kayla Pickart had 10 of her own.
Cohen paced the team with 23 digs while defensive specialist/libero Ali Dowdall finished with 14 and Curran had 13 digs in the heartbreaking loss.
The Trojans are 2-3 in conference play but Troy is looking to improve that record this coming weekend as it rounds out its two week home stand with matches against Georgia State and ULM before the team hits the road again to travel to Texas to play Sun Belt newcomers Texas State and UT Arlington.
Junior defensive specialist Kelley Curran commented on how great it has been to play at home the past two weeks.
“It is always great playing in front of our fans at home; we can’t do what we do without the Trojan faithful,” Curran said. “The difference having our fans makes can’t be understated, and it was especially great seeing so many people there for our Monday game, it just goes to show how loyal Trojan fans really are. So we are definitely going to be working hard this week in practice to make sure we give them something to cheer about come Friday and Sunday.”
Troy volleyball returns to Trojan Arena Friday at 7 p.m. to face off against Georgia State.