Trojans sweep JSU

Published 2:18 pm Thursday, September 18, 2008

Meghan Gilroy and Megan Henderson connected for a kill 12 times Tuesday night, as the Troy Trojans took down Jacksonville State in straight sets 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-18). It was the team’s first victory in the confines of Trojan Arena.

“I felt comfortable out there and I was getting good sets,” Gilroy, Troy’s junior middle hitter and leading attacker, said. “I was seeing the court well and their middle couldn’t stop me.”

Henderson agrees.

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“Like she (Gilroy) said the hitters were seeing the court and I felt like I was connecting with them,” Henderson, Troy’s sophomore setter, said. “Our timing was really on tonight. They were cutting the shots that were there and finding the spots where the defense wasn’t.”

Gilroy totaled 12 kills on the evening to lead Troy (8-4) and Henderson had 27 assists in the match. Gilroy had a .435 attack percentage and Henderson added two kills and three digs in the match.

Troy head coach Sonny Kirkpatrick said it is good to have a duo like Gilroy and Henderson.

“We would be in a lot of trouble without those two,” Kirkpatrick said. “They were brought here to help us build the program and they love the pressure out there. They both believe in their teammates and they are helping us build towards where we need to be. They work so hard in practice and I think their hard work has rubbed off on the rest of the team.”

The Trojans jumped out early on the Gamecocks in the first set, but JSU fought back for a tie at 17-17 before Troy pulled ahead for good at 19-18 and won 25-23. JSU kept it close in the second set as well, but senior middle hitter Aubre Smith put down a kill to end the set at 25-22.

Troy jumped out to a 22-12 lead in the third set before the Gamecocks mounted a comeback, but freshman middle hitter Brittany McClelland blocked a hit for the final point of the match and a 25-18 set victory for Troy.

“It is good to reward our fans after that great effort last week,” Kirkpatrick said. “It was nice to get a win against a quality opponent. (JSU) will be at the top of their conference this year.”

Sophomore libero Emily Strader compiled 11 digs in the match and junior outside hitter Kerry Heinz added eight digs and four kills. Senior setter Meghan Washlow had six digs and one block.

Smith contributed nine kills and three blocks and McClelland had four blocks.

Last weekend, Gilroy led the Trojans in their second straight tournament victory with 42 kills in three matches, all Trojan victories.

She was named the MVP of the Courtyard by Marriott Chanticleer Invitational in Conway, S.C.

“It was really great to get that award,” Gilroy said. “I didn’t know how to react because our whole team had played so well, but it was nice to be named MVP. It definitely gave me a boost of confidence.”

Gilroy was named to the all-tournament team and Henderson and Smith joined her on the team.

Troy hits the road again for a tournament this weekend. They travel to Birmingham for the UAB/Samford Invitational Friday.