EL DORADO HILLS — The Delta River League’s top two varsity volleyball teams battled Thursday and although host Oak Ridge gave St. Francis a solid jab, the Lady Trojans couldn’t knock the Troubadours down.
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Troy dropped the match 1-3 in a loss Oak Ridge coach Becky Potter called “disappointing.”
“We were not the same team that we were when we played against Ponderosa (the week before),” Potter said.
Potter thinks the Trojans have a stigma about St. Francis. The coach also said the Troubadours are “a very physical team … very athletic” — making them tough to beat.
The Lady Trojans started out strong in game No. 1, keeping up with St. Francis in points and curbing their opponent’s momentum on short runs. The physicality of the match showed itself early in the Troubadours’ defense as their blockers denied Oak Ridge team co-captain Haley Simmons her usual potency at the net.
St. Francis frequently sent Troy to the floor as players tried, successfully and unsuccessfully, to save the ball. Simmons did find some rhythm to complement Mysha Davies’ effectiveness at the net but the Lady Trojans dropped the first game 22-25.
The second game started out the same — Oak Ridge in-step with St. Francis. But an eight-point Troubadour run appeared to suck the wind out of Troy’s sails, following strong play from Davies and team co-captain Alexa Becker. Trojan errors also contributed as St. Francis took the second set 15-25.
Not wanting to let its loud and proud — and uniquely dressed — fans down, Oak Ridge came back in the third game thanks to a 9-2 run that forced the Troubadours into a timeout.
Tara McDermott’s clean and precise sets helped make Simmons’ job easy but after the timeout, the action turned physical. Troy maintained their advantage on Arden Zuber’s tip over the net before the Troubadours went on short runs — at one point taking the lead 15-17.
Oak Ridge regrouped on McDermott’s serving and Simmons’ kills to reclaim the lead and never look back — taking advantage of Troubadour errors and more great play from Amelia Crye, McDermott, Zuber and Becker.
The crowd erupted after Becker’s kill gave Oak Ridge its first win of the night, 25-21.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, St. Francis came back with a vengeance in the fourth set and stepped up its defense, especially with the block, to frustrate Simmons and Rachel McVicar, who slammed spikes to no avail.
Short runs kept Oak Ridge in the game but Troubadour blocks, Troy’s out-of-bound shots and only a few errors on St. Francis’ side squelched the Lady Trojans’ efforts to catch up. St. Francis jumped to a 15-24 lead and held off an Oak Ridge rally to prevail 20-25.