Volleyball starts 2017 with four straight losses


Daniel Hurst


The Troy volleyball team got off to a rough start to the 2017 season, losing all three games at the South Carolina Invitational before losing again on the road to Kennesaw State.

The Trojans (0-4, 0-0 Sun Belt) opened their season in Columbia against North Florida on Friday, the first of a four-game stretch that marks a slow start under new head coach Josh Lauer.

Troy showcased impressive flashes against the Ospreys in the Trojans’ season opener despite the 2-3 loss. After struggling in the first set, the Trojans settled in by winning the next two sets. North Florida was on the brink of collapse, but was able to pull out a close fourth set 25-23. North Florida never looked back as they won the fifth set 15-6.

Troy amassed 55 kills to go along with nine aces in a solid outing. The Ospreys only managed three aces. Sophomore Kiara Barnett and Freshman SarahGrace Wilson collected three aces apiece for a Trojan team that also committed 36 errors to North Florida’s 22.

The following day, the Trojans took on the host team South Carolina. Statistically, Troy played exceptionally well, outperforming the Gamecocks in kills, aces and assists.

Despite those stats, the Trojans were hurt by 21 errors. South Carolina was able to take advantage, as they swept Troy three sets to none and improved to 2-0. The Gamecocks offense remained steady throughout the match, and they scored. They were able to score 25 points in all three sets for the sweep.

Saturday’s schedule was a tough one and didn’t provide the win that Troy was looking for. The Trojans followed up the South Carolina game with a matchup against the Mercer Bears, a team that entered the match with a 1-1 record.

Troy opened the match a little sluggish, losing the first set 16-2525-16, but quickly bounced back to win the second set 25-20. The Trojans kept the remaining two sets competitive despite losing 25-21 and 25-23 in the third and fourth sets, respectively.

Following the tournament, Troy stopped in Kennesaw, Georgia, on the way home to take on the ASUN Champions, Kennesaw State, on Sunday. This was a standalone match.

Troy came out of the gates hot, taking the first set 25-23. However, the same problem came back to haunt the Trojans: errors.

Coming into this game, the Trojans had amassed 80 errors in just three appearances on the court. Against the Owls, the streak of errors continued to the tune of 33 mistakes this time around.

The massive loss of momentum from those errors in the second set hurt Troy’s chances, as the team lost the set 25-1515-25. Troy would not score over 20 points for the rest of the game on its way to a 3-1 defeat.

With the tough road stretch behind them, Troy can look forward to four straight home games. The Trojans will take the court again on Friday in the annual Troy Invitational. The first match of which starts at 6:30 p.m. against Northwestern.

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