Trojans volleyball clinch playoff spot

Lady Trojans volleyball dominated Cheyenne in three (25-9, 25-13 and 25-13) on Monday and are now preparing for the regional playoffs.

In addition to end of the season games, the team also tuned up their hitting arms in a weekend tournament as well and took four of six games at the Longhorn Invitational.

The Trojans (17-15 overall, 7-5 Sunset League) beat Liberty (15-13, 4-2) 2-1, Tech (10-15, 7-5) 2-0, Durango (7-26, 0-7) 2-1 and Spring Valley (12-10, 8-4) 2-1. The girls lost to Sierra Vista (16-12,10-2) 2-1, and Legacy (24-7, 3-4) 2-0.

In the game against Sierra Vista the scores were close, 25-16, 22-25 and 15-10.

Trojans coach Jill Harris was more than excited about the weekend.

“I am super pleased with the way the girls played,” the coach said. “I hope this is a sign that we are coming to our peak at the end of the season. The girls are coming together as a team and playing together and they are more confident in their roles on court.”

The setter plays a major role on the court and can make or break a team. Jill Smith, the Trojans setter, has come a long way since she was a freshman and is a major reason the team is doing so well. Harris has compared the job of setter to the quarterback position in football in the past.

“Jill Smith is quarterbacking the team offensively by setting the balls to all positions on the court,” Harris said. “Lauren Ashford and Samantha Padilla are also leading the team with strong serves and defense.”

In addition to the defense and serving, a team has to have a strong offense and Harris said the hitting is really coming along.

“Lauren Koenig and Alexis Treib are swinging strong on the outside with a variety of hits,” she said. “Andi Bishop is scoring often with well-placed tips and Koral Hearn stalks the net looking for blocks and overpasses.”

The team also has a strong bench.

“Bethany Calvert is a strong reliable utility player,” Harris said.

The team will finish as the fourth place team and this means the girls will play at Virgin Valley on Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. in the first round of the playoff tournament.

“We are looking forward to the playoffs, but we know we are the underdogs because we are coming in fourth on our side and having to play the first place team on the other side,” Harris said. “We know it will be a challenge, but it is one we are definitely looking forward to facing.”

The girls still have one regular season game against Faith Lutheran tonight at 6 p.m. in a game that will not affect the standings. This will be their last regular season home game of the season and their last game against Faith Lutheran as a member of the Sunset League for the Crusaders will be leaving Division I-A and will be playing in Division I next year.

Harris says the team is ready for the playoffs.

Stats: Jill Smith 7 kills, 15 assists; Alexis Trieb eight kills, Lauren Koenig 6 digs and Koral Hearn 3 aces.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at Follow @vernheepvt on Twitter.