Troup volleyball falls in the state quarterfinals

Published 10:48 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2023

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The Troup volleyball team put its blood, sweat and tears into this season and reset the bar for the program despite the Tigers’ 3-1 loss to Central Carrollton in the AAAA state quarterfinals on Tuesday.

“It was an amazing season, and the girls really came together as a team,” Troup coach Hutch Blair said. “They came together, and I’m so proud of them and they played their hearts out tonight even if we didn’t come away with it.”

Tuesday’s match started quite swimmingly for the Tigers, who won the first set 25-22. Unfortunately, Troup could not bottle that same level of play in their next three sets despite fine margins in each.

“Every point is lost on an error, and we had more than them tonight,” Blair said. “We can look at some of the errors we need to fix, but at the end of the day I’m super proud of them.”

One of the pivotal moments was in the second set with neither team able to get much separation early before the Lions rattled off eight straight points to make it 16-8 and eventually close out the set 25-18.

The third set also proved to be an absolute battle as Troup took a 16-13 lead late, but the Lions rattled off six straight points from there and eventually closed out the set 25-19.

After a bit of frustration boiled over between the third and fourth sets, the Tigers began to find their groove again before ultimately falling 25-23 on a set point.

There was a moment of controversy in the fourth set when the Tigers thought they scored a point to make it 23-22 late, but it was ruled that a second ball on the court, which was rolled on by someone from the crowd, meant the point had to be replayed despite the ball having no effect and the refs not blowing the whistle until after Troup scored a point.

Troup was left thinking about what might have been, but at the same time, the Tigers made a run that not many outside their locker room thought was possible.

“We have to keep up the momentum now,” Blair said. “We will have a break before we start tryouts again and summer workouts. We know what we can do, so we will look to build on this season.”

The Tigers will have to replace four of their top players next season as Haley Blair, Hailey Clark, Gracie Horton and Kaitlyn Walker are all set to graduate in the spring. Their impact on the program since Blair took over before the 2022 season is hard to put into words.

“They have had a huge impact on the program,” Blair said. “They have been leading the way for years now.”

Troup will still have some foundational pieces coming back. Asa Hall, Lanier Glisson, Madison Knight and Jamiya Reed are just some of the quality players returning to the fold next season.

“We have some girls that are coming back, and I expect them to build on their skills,” Blair said. “They have seen how far we can come, and I know they will want to get us back here if not further.”