Trojans talk their way to win at LaVille

LAKEVILLE — Good communication is key in all sports, but perhaps nowhere is it more important than on the volleyball court.
Triton’s players talked each other up Tuesday night, and the Lady Trojans rode that rapport to a three-game Northern State Conference victory on the road at LaVille, 25-20, 26-24, 25-19.
“Communication is an absolute key for us,” said Triton Assistant Volleyball Coach Jamey Viers, filling in for a sick Terrin Meister. “When we are playing our absolute hardest, and when our intensity is up, our communication’s up. As soon as we drop our heads and our intensity is down, then our play goes down.”
Triton broke an 11-11 tie in the first game with five straight points on its way to a 25-20 win, then kept the momentum alive with a 2-0 finish to win 26-24 after a back-and-forth second game as senior outside hitter Megan Howdeshell finessed a kill to put the Trojans up 25-24, and some poor LaVille communication resulted in a campfire ball for the game-winner.
“We’ve been working very hard on trying to finish plays,” said Lancers head coach Leslie-Ann Bloss. “Unfortunately, I think that the girls’ mental game is not there yet on a lot of them. We’ve been working on finishing plays, mental attitude, that kind of stuff. They’re athletes; they’re game is there, I know that. But sometimes they can’t get over when they make mistakes and things like that.”
LaVille led early in game three and even held a brief 17-16 advantage in the final game before the Trojans ran out the game 9-2 to grab their seventh win of the year at 7-10 overall.
“I told the girls in the locker room that I was very impressed that they came together as a team and that our communication improved. I’m just very proud of them,” said Viers.
Triton was led by a match-high 13 kills from Howdeshell, while setter Marissa Ross had a strong all-around game with eight kills and two aces to complement 30 assists.
“We have a young setter Krystal Sellers, and if she is having an off night then we have to pull Marissa off her hitting game and she has to set all the way around,” Viers said. “This is one of the best games Marissa was able to hit and serve and dig and set. It’s one of the first games that she’s had all season where she’s been able to do that.”
LaVille was led by sophomore outside hitter Kelsey Gurtner’s 10 kills, three aces and four blocks as the Lancers slid to 3-9 overall.
“She and I have been working a lot on being smarter with the ball,” said Bloss of Gurtner. “A lot of times she forces hits, and it caused her to make a lot of mistakes in the past so she’s been working on when to tip the ball, when not to hit it full force. Basically I’ve been telling her that a good outside hitter can hit anything. It doesn’t matter, you go after absolutely everything, and the worse thing that can happen is you hit it out or something like that, but just don’t be timid and go after every set. That’s what she’s been doing, and I think she’s improved a lot.”
The Lancers return to action tonight at Culver Girls Academy, while Triton travels to Argos for a game Thursday.
LaVILLE 0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-19)
At Lakeville
Triton stats
Kills: Megan Howdeshell 13, Marissa Ross 8
Aces: Ross 2, Howdeshell 1, Shana Anderson 1
Assists: Ross 30
Digs: Anderson 3
Blocks: Anderson 5
LaVille stats
Kills: Kelsey Gurtner 10, Shelby Low 7, Lynae Hostrawser 4
Aces: Gurtner 3, Kyla Coblentz 3
Assists: Kaitlyn Phillips 15, Katie Berger 10
Digs: Coblentz 2
Blocks: Gurtner 4, Berger 4
Records: Triton 7-10, LaVille 3-9
JV score: LaVille 2, Triton 0 (25-23, 25-17)