Jacksonville Daily Progress
Troup's quartet of attackers — Cheney Cover, Josee Ross, Paeton Nolan and Madison Hampton — delivered kills from every direction and in just about every form possible in the Lady Tigers' 3-0 (25-13, 25-12, 25-11) District 18-2A victory over West Rusk's Lady Raiders at Tiger Gymnasium Tuesday evening.
The No. 19-ranked Lady Tigers upped their slate to 18-12, 6-0 in conference, with the win, while West Rusk tumbled to 1-5 in league matches.
Cover blasted down a team-high eight kills, with Ross and Nolan each adding seven, while Hampton finished the onslaught off with five kills as the Lady Tigers as a team collected a total of 30 kills in breezing to the three-set win.
Troup fell behind 5-3 to the Lady Raiders in the opening set, but settled down afterwards to go on an 11-2 run that quickly put the Maroon and White in the drivers seat the rest of the way.
The Lady Tigers trailed only at one juncture early on in the middle game and held the lead wire-to-wire in Game 3 to win going away.
The Lady Tigers have been displaying fine mid-season form with the victory being Troup's seventh in-a-row.
“I think that we are peaking at the right time,” Troup head coach Arden Johnson said following the match. “I think we have the right rotation now that fits now.”
With five seniors and four juniors back off of last year's 24-17 squad that went two rounds deep in the state playoffs, Johnson said that what the Lady Tigers went through last season has helped figure into this season's success.
“We only lost two from last season, so I absolutely believe that the experience that his group got playing together last season has helped them this year.”
Johnson, a former volleyball standout at East Texas Baptist University, also put together a difficult non-conference schedule that would prepare her team for district and, hopefully, another trip to the playoffs this fall.
“We played in several big tournaments and I don't think we played anybody below (Class 3A), “ she said.
While defiantly in the drivers seat of the 18-2A race as it nears the halfway point, Johnson said that there is no time for the Lady Tigers to let up now.
“We have to keep pushing and keep playing aggressive,” Johnson said. “There are a couple of teams behind us that are 3-2 and anything can happen.”
Nolan tossed in three blocks for the Lady Tigers, while Ross and Cover had one each.
Carly Dyess had 21 assists to lead Troup in that department and Bethany Mason was the dig leader with 10.
Troup travels to Hawkins on Friday while West Rusk returns home to face Arp.