The Trojan volleyball team picked up three wins at home at the Trojan Invitational this past weekend with victories over CSU Bakersfield 3-1, Alabama State 3-0, and East Tennessee State 3-1.
Troy (5-3, 0-0 Sun Belt) opened up play on Friday, Sept. 4, against CSU Bakersfield (1-6, 0-0 WAC). After struggling in the first set, the Trojans bounced back, gaining the lead with an aggressive offense and winning in their first two sets.
The Roadrunners bounced back with a win of their own in the third set.
The Trojans were ready to end the game in the fourth, however, and after multiple lead changes, Troy conquered the match 3-1.
“It was an up-and-down performance,” said head coach Sonny Kirkpatrick. “We really had to battle in that fourth game to get a win, and I’m proud that we were able to do that.”
Senior middle hitter Darby Griff and senior outside hitter Blaire Winston led the team offensively with a combined 27 kills and three errors. Defensively the team improved greatly on blocks, led by junior middle hitter Leah Causey, who had six.
The following day, the Trojans came ready to play against Alabama State (1-5, 0-0 SWAC). Troy gained a lead in the beginning of the game and refused to let it go. The Hornets came close at times but fell short in each of the first three sets to the Trojans, who picked up their second win of their tournament.
Troy’s third and final match of the tournament against Eastern Tennessee State was electric. The Bucs (3-3, 0-0 Southern Conference) started
the first set with energy, winning 15-25. The Trojans made a comeback in the next three sets, however, playing fierce defense and offense.
The team recorded 15 total blocks throughout the match, holding ETSU at a .154 attack percentage.
Junior outside hitter Symone Shaw and junior middle hitter Sara Landis led the team’s offense with 11 kills each, with a team percentage overall of .206. Defensively, Ali Dowdall led with 15 digs and Landis led with six blocks.
The Trojans ended their time at the Invitational with an MVP award for Griff in the match against Alabama State. Winston and Dowdall were selected to all-tournament team.
Troy continued its long weekend at home against Southeastern Louisiana. After winning four games in a row, the Trojans were beat by the Lions 1-3.
The Trojans kept it close in the first and second sets, but were unable to get ahead of the Lions.
The home team dominated the third set, winning 25-16 and looking to make a comeback. The fourth set did not come out in the Trojans’ favor, however. They lost that set 25-17 to close out the match.
The Trojans had an attack percentage of .141, higher than the Lions’ .117, but the late start with the first two sets cost Troy a chance at victory. Griff led the Trojans defensively and offensively with nine kills and six blocks, and was also named Sun Belt Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week.
This weekend the Trojans will be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at the Crimson and White tournament, facing Alabama on Friday, Sept. 11. The match is set to start at 11 a.m.