By Rob Kiser
The match was not without moments of brilliance for the Piqua volleyball team.
But, Troy’s 6-foot-3 middle Katie Demeo stepped up in big moments and got plenty of help from her teammates as Troy recorded a 25-15, 25-21, 25-12 Tuesday at Garbry Gymnasium.
“They do (Troy has a lot of hitters),” Piqua coach Liana Michael said. “And it is really hard to simulate a 6-foot-3 middle in practice. We tried some things yesterday (Monday) to do that, but it is still different than actually facing them. and when you give her a ball, that doesn’t help anything.”
Piqua stayed close in the early going in the opening set.
An ace by Mikayla Schaffner had the Indians within 10-8.
Tips by Haley Michael and Ashley Brading had Piqua within 16-12 before Troy pulled away.
The second set was the highlight for Piqua.
Piqua erased a 13-9 deficit midway through the set with five straight points.
Ashley Ho had a block and a kill and Michael added a kill during the run.
“I thought we had moments when we were outstanding in the second set,” Liana Michael said. “I will take an Ashley Ho block and kill any time. I think Ashley Ho and Ashley Brading have really done a great job with senior leadership.”
Piqua was leading 19-17 after Troy returned a Tylah Yeomans serve wide.
But, after a sideout, Camryn Moeller served two aces and DeMeo followed with two big kills.
Following a Piqua time out, Troy added two more points, before a Michael kill and service point.
But, Troy finished off the set at 25-21.
“It started with miscommunication on the two aces,” Michael said. “I tried calling a timeout to turn things around, but it didn’t work.”
Two points by Lauren Williams and a kill by Mikayla Schaffner helped Piqua take a 4-2 lead early in the third set.
But, Troy would outscore Piqua 23-8 the rest of the way to finish off the match.
“When teenage girls get a mental block, it is hard to turn that around,” Michael said. “They have done a pretty good job with that all year, but the third set I just couldn’t get anything (to turn things around).”
Troy improved to 5-1 overall and 5-0 in the American North, while Piqua dropped to 5-2 overall and 3-2 in the American North.
Michael led Piqua with four kills, while Brading added three to go with three blocks.
Brading and Mikayla Schaffner each had one ace, while Macie Schaffner dished out five assists and Lauren Williams added four assists.
Yeomans recorded 17 digs and Kelsey Magoteaux added 15.
Piqua will travel to Trotwood-Madison Thursday, looking to get back on track — and looking to build on some moments of brilliance against a talented Troy team.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.