TROY — Tuesday night’s season-opening match between the Troy Trojanettes and the Salado Lady Eagles featured many of the things expected in a great volleyball contest: hard attacks, well-timed blocks, beautiful service aces and a packed gymnasium.
But it also featured plenty of hitting errors and communication mistakes that are often found early in the season.
And in the end, the host Trojanettes had more of the former and less of the latter to prevail in a 25-22, 25-16, 25-23 sweep of the Lady Eagles.
“We haven’t been able to beat them since I’ve been here,” fifth-year Troy coach Rachel Melancon said. “So to be able to do it in three is even better.”
Salado returned only two starters from last season’s Class 4A playoff team, so first-year coach Kristi Wilk wasn’t too disappointed in the loss to the Trojanettes, who went two rounds deep in the 3A playoffs last year.
“We scrimmaged them Saturday and they really gave us the business,” Wilk said. “From Saturday to today, I’ve seen a lot of improvement.”
The Lady Eagles may have improved since the weekend, but they had no solution Tuesday for stopping Troy’s biggest weapon, Alexis Tippit.
The Trojanettes junior had her share of hitting errors but when she was on target, she was dominant and torched Salado with nine powerful kills along with two blocks and an ace.
“There were some times where our block was set up perfectly. We were there, but she hit it over the block,” Wilk said. “There’s not a whole lot you can do about that. You can’t teach that vertical. That’s just natural ability. She’s a great volleyball player and when she’s on, she can be hard to defend.”
Salado junior outside hitter Landry Rogers, one of the two returning starters, matched Tippit most of the match and finished with eight kills and two aces.
The Lady Eagles suffered from 25 hitting errors and four service errors, though, allowing the Trojanettes to keep the advantage.
“I was a little nervous about their nerves and them really wanting to show up for the fans and show how hard they worked,” Melancon said of her players. “But it worked out in our favor. And to get a win in three is good for our mental state.”
All in all, both coaches were glad the first match is out of the way so they can focus on improving.
“Troy is a good team. They can put the ball down, and I saw a lot of improvement since we saw them Saturday,” Wilk said. “We have two new setters and not a lot of experience on the floor. But we are scrappy and it’s just a matter of getting reps on the floor together. We will be OK.”
TUESDAY’S HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
- China Spring def. Harker Heights 25-21, 25-10, 25-13
- Troy def. Salado 25-22, 25-16, 25-23