The Taylor volleyball team defeated No. 16 ranked and Grant County rival Indiana Wesleyan in a five-set thriller on Sept. 18.
It was the first win against Indiana Wesleyan in three years which also was in five sets. It was the first win against a top 20 team since September 2017, which also happened to be against Indiana Wesleyan.
“It means a lot,” senior Nikki Parrett said on the significance of beating Indiana Wesleyan.
Coming into the match, the Trojans knew this would be one of their toughest tests to date. They have struggled all year with making too many errors, but still coming out with the win except on two occasions. Indiana Wesleyan was not a team that made many errors at all, meaning the Trojans had to be near perfect to get the win.
“Great teams separate themselves in games like this by being cleaner and smarter,” Head Coach Erin Luthy said.
The Trojans came into the match flying, pulling no punches and winning the first set 25-9. Just one error was one of the keyways that the Trojans were able to dominate the set, while Indiana Wesleyan had seven errors.
However, the second and third sets were a much different story. Indiana Wesleyan won these 25-18 and 25-17. In the second set, Indiana Wesleyan had an impressive 0.433 hitting percentage to lead them to the set win.
“You have outplayed them this entire match, so choose in this moment to outplay them,” Luthy said to the team.
The Trojans regrouped and won the fourth set 25-20 and the decisive fifth set 15-10. The Trojans are now 3-0 in games that have gone to five sets.
In all, the Trojans were able to keep their errors low at 19 while Indiana Wesleyan had 26. This helped them immensely in winning the game and not giving away free points.
Senior hitters Ryan Czerniak, Amanda Adams and Grace Isaacs led the team in kills. Czerniak especially helped the Trojans to this key win with her impressive 0.529 hitting percentage, making only one error and having 19 kills. Adams had 15 and Isaacs had 10. Freshman hitters Jaylynn Dunsmore and Sarah Scott added seven and six kills, respectively.
“You look over and everyone is getting hype when you get these kills, or these digs, or these blocks, and it feeds into you,” Czerniak said on what helped her to put in such a dominant performance.
Junior setter Kacy Bragg led the team with 49 assists. She and Isaacs also led the team in blocks, Isaacs with seven and Bragg with four.
Senior defensive specialists Stephaney Fifield and Parrett both put in impressive showings with 33 and 25 digs respectively for them. Parrett also added three service aces.
“Her (Parrett) serving presence set the stage for pushing them (Indiana Wesleyan) out of system play,” Luthy said.
Next up for the Trojans is a Crossroads League home match on Wednesday against Huntington where they will look to continue their strong start to league play. They will then travel down to Kentucky to play Thomas More and Georgetown over the weekend.