TROY — In a matchup of two strong Miami County volleyball programs in Miami East and Troy, it always makes for some early season interest and excitement.
And Wednesday’s matchup at the Trojan Activity Center did not disappoint.
In the end, Miami East was able to get the win in three straight sets 25-16, 25-20, 25-22.
In evened the Vikings record at 2-2 after a tough opening weekend which featured losses to St. Henry and Ottawa-Glandorf.
“Our early season schedule is brutal,” Miami East coach Dan Peterson said. “And there is a good reason for that. That is how you get better.”
Troy had opened the season Tuesday with a straight-set win over Greenville.
“We had scrimmaged Miami East twice this summer,” Troy coach Michelle Owen said. “So, there were no surprises tonight. We knew what we were in for.”
Which was a talented mix of veteran players led by Meg Gilliland and Ava Prince — and some impressive young players as well, including freshman Jaycee Roeth, Whitni Enis and Khalia Lawrence — who had the kill on the match’s final point.
“I think the difference for us was aggressive serving,” Peterson said. “We were serving aggressive all night. When they did have success, it seems like they would score five points and four of them would be serving errors on our part.”
Owen agreed with East’s advantage was serving.
“They were better on first contact than we were,” she said. “That is passing the ball and serving. We knew that was something we were going to have to do a better job of tonight. One of the problems we have is a lot of girls with shoulder injuries, so we can do a lot of serving in practice. And we don’t have a lot of depth. We only have nine girls on varsity.”
The first set was back and forth and when Brynn Siler and Maddie Frey had kills Troy was within 17-16.
“We wanted to be the first one to five, the first one to 10, the first one to 15 — we wanted to win the little battles,” Owen said. “We didn’t do exactly that in the first set, but we were close.”
After an error by Troy, Ava Prince served out the set.
She had two aces in the run, Gilliland had two kills and Roeth had a block.
Gilliland finished off the set.
That momentum seemed to carry through the second set, with Gilliland again finishing it off at 24-20 on a Prince serve.
“I told Meg (Gilliland) she is that girl,” Peterson said. “The girl people come to watch play. That’s her time.”
Troy seemed to gain some life in the third set when Kayla Huber stepped to the service line at 6-6 and served four straight points. She had two aces and the other two serves were returned long to make it 10-6.
“She is a girl we brought up from JV because of our numbers,” Owen said. “She served them tough. She did the same thing against Greenville Tuesday night.”
Miami East would fight back and it went to the wire.
Siler had a kill to get Troy within 23-22.
After a net serve by the Trojans, Enis had a kill to finish it off.
Gilliland pounded 19 kills and added three blocks for the Vikings.
Prince filled out the stat sheet with six kills, five aces, 23 assists and eight digs.
Roeth had three blocks, Emma Stapleton had eight digs and Maya Bowsher added seven digs.
For Troy, Kasey Sager had seven kills and four blocks and Siler had eight kills and eight digs.
Frey added five kills and Huber served three aces.
Ellie Fogarty had 20 assists and 12 digs and Brooklyn Jackson led the Troy defense with 14 digs.
You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]