Troup volleyball team enjoying the ride
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
During a season when tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, the Troup High volleyball players are enjoying the ride.
Troup made its home debut on Tuesday, and after losing a hard-fought match to Brookstone, it bounced back to beat rival LaGrange in straight sets, 25-12 and 25-17.
While Troup is obviously hopeful that the remainder of the season will go off without a hitch, there is an air of uncertainty because of Covid-19, and the players and coaches are aware of that.
“I’m just excited to be playing,” said Macy Jeter, one of five seniors on the team along with Victoria Finley, Landen Sheets, Savannah Coker and Amauriya Brown. “We don’t know when it’ll be our last (match). That’s how we play.”
Troup, which beat Shaw and Pacelli on the road last week to open the season, suffered its first loss against Brookstone before taking care of LaGrange.
In every match so far, head coach Anna Andrews has been pleased with the urgency the players have shown, no doubt fueled by the uncertainty.
“They walked in last week against Shaw, and they said let’s play like this could be our last match, and fight for every point,” Andrews said. “That’s what I told them against Brookstone. Y’all fought for every point and never gave up.”
LaGrange, meanwhile, is almost back to full strength after playing short-handed last week because of Covid-19 issues.
For Tuesday’s matches against Brookstone and Troup, LaGrange was only missing one player.
“We just got the rest of the team back yesterday,” LaGrange head coach Tejay Dowden said. “We practiced yesterday for the first time in a week as a full team. So it’s been a challenge.”
LaGrange (1-5) was competitive against Brookstone and Troup, but it was unable to get the upper-hand in either match.
“We need to finish,” Dowden said. “We can get close, but we haven’t found out how to finish yet. So figuring out that extra push when you’re tired.”
After LaGrange and Troup both lost to Brookstone in straight sets, they locked horns in the day’s final match.
In the first set, Troup got off to a quick start, with senior Amauriya Brown’s kill giving the home team a 5-0 lead.
LaGrange found its footing, with a kill by Addie Eiland starting a 4-0 run to cut Troup’s lead to one.
Troup soon took control, though.
Troup went on a 5-0 run to take a 15-6 lead, and Brown did a lot of the damage with two aces and a kill.
Later with Jeter serving, Troup scored five consecutive points to win the set 25-12, and Landen Sheets had a pair of kills during that decisive stretch.
After a short break the teams returned to the court for the second set, and Troup built a 6-3 lead with Brown and Victoria Finley coming through with kills while Sheets had an ace.
Kills by Danasha Lewis and Katy Beth Bedingfield and a service winner by Carmen Lynch got LaGrange within one, but Troup responded with a 6-0 run to take a 12-5 lead.
Kirstin Vaughn helped jump-start the run with an ace, and Sheets had a service winner of her own and Finley had a kill to put Troup on top by seven.
LaGrange hung tough and got back within four, with Jenna Gynther’s service winner making the score 12-8, but Troup then went on an 8-2 run to build a 20-10 advantage.
Berkley Noles had a service winner during that stretch, while Savannah Coker, Sheets and Berkley Noles each had kills.
The lead was still 10 for Troup when LaGrange made a final push to get within five points.
An ace by Eiland, and kills by Lewis and Lynch helped cut Troup’s lead to 22-17, and LaGrange seemed to have some momentum.
Troup finished things off in style, though, with kills by Lilly Kate Doughman, Sheets, and Emma Walker putting the finishing touches on the 25-17 win.
Earlier, Troup lost to Brookstone 25-16 and 25-21, and senior Victoria Finley believes the loss will benefit the team.
“I think we played good, especially against Brookstone,” Finley said. “They’re a harder team, so that helped us.”
LaGrange then got its shot against Brookstone, and it lost 25-14 and 25-18.
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