By JOHN LUCAS
For The Record
Triton’s volleyball team snapped a three-match skid with its first sweep of the season, defeating visiting rival South Johnston 3-0 on Thursday by scores of 25-21, 25-16 and 25-21.
“We’re making progress,” said Triton coach Wendy Simmons. “It doesn’t look like it at times, but we’re slowly making some progress. I think our passing was better. And, of course, when your passing is better, that’s going to cause you to play better. We still had too many unforced errors that we need to figure out what’s going on there..”
Despite the loss, South Johnston coach Matthew Adams thought the match was an improvement over the Trojans’ performance the previous night in a 3-1 loss to Princeton.
“I felt a lot better about tonight than last night,” coach Adams said. “I think Triton played better than they did the last time we played them, for one thing. Their girls were just swinging. Just attacking. Sometimes we were out of system and I’ve got girls just hitting soft shots or pushing to back-middle, libero. Just not doing the best they can with every ball. We fought back a few times after being down, so I was proud of that, but I felt like we should have at least come out of here winning one set.”
The Hawks (4-5) were led by Sophie Saltzman, with nine kills, Ella Layn, with eight kills and 11 digs, Cheyenne Hensley, with 21 assists and 11 digs, and Meredith Morris, with 21 digs.
Freshman Gracyn Slaughter was brought up from the junior varsity team and immediately placed in the starting lineup. She was solid for the Hawks, providing three kills, two assists and five digs and led all servers with three aces on 11 service points.
“She’s been practicing some, but this was her first game varsity,” Simmons said. “I thought she did very well. I was very pleased with her performance tonight.”
Junior Hannah Jackson, in her first full match (she played sparingly Tuesday) since suffering an ankle injury at West Johnston Aug. 22, had eight kills, two digs and one ace on four service points.
Hensley had three kills and one block and held serve for four points. Grace Gaines had two kills, two assists, eight digs and two aces on 12 service points. Morris had one kill and one assist and held serve for six points. Saltzman had two assists, one block and three digs. Layn had two assists and one ace on three service points.
Triton was without Evie Pollard, due to illness, and Sarah Pope, due to injury.
Coach Adams praised junior setter Jessica Johnson for the energy and enthusiasm she played with for the Trojans (4-6) Thursday. She had one kill, three assists and eight digs in the contest.
“She was feisty,” coach Adams said. “I challenged them to get more excited, be more enthused. She made a few plays and was real excited. I love that. That’s what I want to see. Hopefully her energy can keep fueling the girls. We had better energy, we just didn’t make the plays to keep the energy going throughout the whole match.”
Courtney Garris had three kills, nine assists and three digs. LeeAnna Hines had three kills, one assist, two blocks, three digs and two aces on nine service points. Katon Blackmon had three kills, 16 digs and one ace on five service points.
Kelly Dorman had two kills and 10 digs and held serve for four points. Carmen Keene had one kill, two assists and five digs and held serve for three points. Kandis Adams had one kill and 10 digs and held serve for three points. Savannah Hines had one kill and one block. Torrie Allen had one kill.
The first set was tied at 12 when Triton went on a 10-2 run to take control. South rallied with a 7-1 run to cut the lead to two, but a Jackson kill, assisted by Hensley, and a South error ended the set.
Triton took control early in the second set, taking a 17-7 lead. South rallied to cut the lead to five, at 20-15, but Triton ended the set with a 5-1 run, capped by a Jackson kill on an overpass.
South continued to battle in the third set, which was close throughout.
But, with South leading 21-20, Triton went on a 5-0 run, capped by a Hensley kill, assisted by Layn, to end the match.
Gracyn Slaughter serves as ace against South Johnston after being called up from the Triton junior varsity.
Daily Record Photo/John Lucas