Several key plays by Oak Ridge’s Conner Peterson late in the fourth set turned the tide in Friday’s nonleague match with host El Dorado, won by the Trojans 25-18, 25-22, 23-25, 25-22.
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On the comeback trail, the Cougars wanted to force at fifth game. Tied at 20-all, Peterson tipped in a winner, won a skirmish at the net and scored the 24th point on a kill inside the block. An El Dorado hit that sailed long ended it.
“All-in-all the team worked hard but we’ll need to fine-tune some areas to make them smoother,” Trojan coach Melanie DeMure said. “We have some new and inexperienced players with some veterans that’ll have to pick up the slack.”
Oak Ridge, which won the first two sets, played without injured starting setter Sam Greenleaf and Ben Kopania and Ben Gillingham. Kopania, Greenleaf, Nick Camagna, Miguel Maestras, Kellian Evans and Chase Barri return for DeMure.
Camagna’s kill won the opening set, Barri’s smash to the back row the next.
El Dorado, behind the play of Elijah Magat and Tait Miller, won the third set. Four times the Cougars pulled to within a point only to yield the next. They tied the fifth time, broke it on Magat’s dump and outscored Oak Ridge 4-2 the rest of the way.
The Cougars fought to tie the last set but Troy closed on a 5-2 run.
“We battled hard in every set and got everyone in tonight,” El Dorado coach Alan Magat said. “With nine seniors we’ll be a mature team. Our goal is to make the playoffs for the first time.”
Returning are Elijah, Miller, Dustin Brown, Landen Warren, Dominic Morgan, Matthew Ehly, Daniel Hayes, Weston Rademacher and Leo Rodriguez.