Troup wins on senior night
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Momentum was swinging Brookstone’s way.
Troup High’s volleyball team won the first set of Tuesday’s home match, but Brookstone won the second set to pull even, and the visiting team was leading 15-14 in the third set.
That’s when Anna Murphy, one of two seniors on the Troup roster along with Regina Hernandez, took over.
During a decisive stretch where Troup turned that one-point deficit into a 19-16 lead, Murphy had four kills and a block.
Troup didn’t look back and won the third set to reclaim the lead, and it captured the fourth set as well to win the match.
It was a big day for Troup, not just because it beat a team it lost to earlier in the season.
Before the match, the seniors were honored, and those two players then went out and made sure it was a winning night.
“They’ve been mentors to the team,” Troup head coach Leigh Bailey said of the seniors. “At practice, they’re coaching, they’re being leaders. The thing about them is, if someone is doing something wrong, they encourage them how to do it in a very positive way.”
In the third set when Troup regained control, it was Murphy leading the way.
“It felt like everybody was down because of the last set,” Murphy said. “I was trying to just give all my energy.”
After winning the first set 25-16 in comfortable fashion, Troup fell behind 6-0 in the second set and lost 25-15.
“I think we got a little bit cocky, and we started getting lazy,” Hernandez said. “That next set, we knew we had to bring it back to the basics.”
With Murphy providing her heroics, Troup won the third set 25-17, and it finished things off with a 25-16 win in the fourth and final set.
“We just said forget this last set,” Murphy said of the team’s mindset following the disappointing second set. “Let’s focus on what we did the first set. Let’s focus on getting that pass, and then the set, and then the hit. It’s one step at a time. Don’t get caught up in the score.”
Having lost to Brookstone earlier this season, Bailey felt getting the win on Tuesday was important for the team.
“We played (Brookstone) at Harris County, and they beat us,” Bailey said. “So I was really using them as a measuring stick. I feel like we’ve gotten better, but sometimes you have to see it.”
Troup improved to 18-16 overall, and it is 5-1 against Area 5-AAAA opponents.
Troup will finish the regular season against LaGrange and Hardaway on Thursday, and the area tournament begins on Tuesday at Chapel Hill.
Troup needs to finish fourth or higher in the area tournament to qualify for state, and if it finishes first or second, it will host a first-round match in the state tournament.
“I don’t think the season’s going to end anytime soon,” Murphy said. “I think we’re going to keep going. We have a great group of girls, and we’re all driven.”
Whatever happens in the next few weeks, it will be the end of the road for the two seniors who have enjoyed a lot of success during their time at Troup.
Most notably, Troup finished second in the area in 2016 and it reached the second round of the state tournament for the first time in the history of the program.
Jodi Dowden was the head coach of the team in 2016, and Bailey took over last year.
“I’ve been training with Troup for six years, from seventh-grade to now,” Hernandez said. “And coach Jodi, she was a big part of it, and then coach Bailey took over. There was an adjustment year, but we’ve picked it back up.”
Murphy said “we want to take it as far as we can. We want to have 2018 up there (on the wall of the gym) as region winners.”
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