Trojans hang tough in loss to St. Francis
Riding the momentum of seven straight wins, the host Oak Ridge volleyball team entered Wednesday’s match against St. Francis with all the confidence in the world. Though the Lady Trojans hung tough with the nationally ranked Troubadours, the visitors ultimately pulled away, winning in three sets 25-14, 25-23, 25-16.
“There’s a difference between great teams and really good teams. Great teams finish and keep their composure. St. Francis is a great team. I think we’re a good team, but we’re not quite there yet,” Oak Ridge coach Becky Potter said. “We still haven’t peaked.”
Oak Ridge played with the Troubadours throughout. In the opening set, the Trojans held a 6-4 lead after a Tara McDermott/Mysha Davies block, followed by a powerful Davies kill. St. Francis stormed back and, helped by a Lea Felton kill and great service from Danielle Solone, took a 17-10 lead. The visitors continued to pour on the points and aided by another Felton kill, went on to win the set.
The home squad opened the second set with a bang as Nicolette Tsivakas’ long shot that caught the back left corner. Oak Ridge led 3-1 after a big Emily DeMure kill but St. Francis rallied back to take a 6-5 lead.
After the two teams traded off points, Maddie DeGeorge took ahold of serve for three consecutive points the Troubadours failed to return as Oak Ridge grabbed a 9-6 lead. St. Francis responded with Gabriella Palmeri’s huge kill on the next point and after an Oak Ridge penalty tied the game at 11.
Oak Ridge regained a slim 15-14 advantage when DeGeorge took the ball again and served an ace to the back right corner. The Trojans continued to pressure the Troubadours and were up 20-19 after a DeGeorge kill. St. Francis came back to lead 24-23 on a Karson Bisharat block and Dana Vestman iced the set for the comeback Troubadours with an ace.
Following the heartbreaking second set loss, Oak Ridge hung tough in the third set, holding a 5-3 lead after DeMure’s block. St. Francis came back to move in front 8-5 after an Oak Ridge ball hit the net, and proceeded to take control. The Troubadours took a commanding 19-11 lead and coasted to the easy set win to sweep Troy.
After suffering its first league defeat, Oak Ridge (14-8 overall, 4-1 league) will regroup Saturday at the Varsity NorCal Classic tournament at Vista del Lago.
“We’ll keep getting better and learn from this game,” Potter said.