Troy volleyball downs Southern Miss in straight sets

Published 6:39 pm Monday, September 1, 2014

Troy didn’t play up to head coach Sonny Kirkpatrick’s expectations, but he will take a win any day of the week.

The Trojans swept Southern Miss, 3-0 (25-19, 27-25, 25-21) in front of a lively crowd at Trojan Arena Monday afternoon. Kirkpatrick said the team played well over the weekend at Clemson, but didn’t bring the same intensity to the court Monday.

“I don’t think we came out and played as well as we did last weekend, but it’s a great win,” head coach Sonny Kirkpatrick said. “We had a great crowd. The crowd was phenomenal. It was very close to last year in the conference tournament and I couldn’t be more thankful for the folks that spent their holiday with us.”

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In the third set, Troy jumped out to a big early lead. However, Southern Miss clawed back tie the game late, before the Trojans took home the game and the match with a kill from Kia Cheatham.

Kirkpatrick feels the team showed character in the final set of the sweep.

“Adversity shows character, it doesn’t build it,” Kirkpatrick said. “We have a really nice team. It is the next woman up mentality. Luckily, we were mentally strong enough to pull through and get the win.

Blair Winston led the way for the Trojans with 12 kills, and Preseason All-Sun Belt player Marija Zelenovic dropped in nine kills.

Tineille Waggoner recorded 28 assists as she led the Troy offense to a .236 attack percentage.

“We had some bright spots,” Kirkpatrick said. “But I saw them play last week, and we weren’t anywhere close to that level. We will get back that to level, and the girls are very dedicated to making sure that we are doing what needs to be done to be successful.

Troy welcomes in Mercer, Jacksonville State and Alabama A&M to Trojan Arena later this week for the 2014 Trojan Invitational.

The Trojans open the tournament against Mercer Thursday at 7 p.m.