Lady Trojans return to court

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2001

For the first time in almost two weeks, the Troy State volleyball team will return to action Thursday as they play host to Florida A&M at 7 p.m. in Trojan Arena.

The Trojans are looking to snap a four-match losing streak after starting the season with three wins in the Trojan Labor Day Classic in Troy.

Both teams figure to be a little rusty after the break during the recent national tragedy, but head coach Ginger S. Lowe feels the Trojans are ready for the Rattlers’ challenge.

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"We’re ready to play someone other than ourselves," Lowe said. "It is a long time to go without playing anyone. Florida A&M is a very good team."

Offensively, four Trojans are averaging more than two kills per game. Senior outside hitter Erika VanHootegem has led the way with 3.59 kills per game, followed by sophomore middle blocker Rachel Hassen with 2.78 kpg. Freshman setter Erika Leitzke has stepped into the lineup and dished out 273 assists for a 10.11-per-game average. She was named to the all-tournament team at both the Trojan Labor Day Classic and the Mississippi State/Ramada Inn Classic.

The Rattlers enter tonight’s contest with a 4-0 record but have not played since Sept. 7-8, when they claimed the New Orleans Tournament title with wins over UNO, McNeese State and Centenary. Fiorella Aita Junek (4.27), Shante Haymore (3.93) and Ivelina Petkova (3.33) are all averaging more than three kills per game for FAMU.

"They are a tall team, with a strong attack and a large block," Lowe added. "For us to be successful, we need to keep them out of their offense. We won’t be able to outhit them, so we need to play smart, solid defense."

TSU leads the all-time series, 12-8, but has dropped five straight matches dating back to the 1998 season. Last year’s match in Troy drew a crowd of 405, marking the largest crowd since 407 fans saw Jacksonville State upend TSU, 3-2, on Oct. 7, 1997.

Other Notes:

The Troy State Athletic Department will honor those who lost their lives in the tragic attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and western Pennsylvania with a moment of silence prior to Thursday’s match.