Troy Volleyball begins Fall practice season

TROY, Ala. (  – The Troy volleyball team began preparation for the 2016 season with its opening practice on Monday at Trojan Arena.

“It was a little shaky at the beginning just timing wise with the setters and the hitters and throwing in new defenses,” head coach Sonny Kirkpatrick said. “In the grand scheme of things I was pretty pleased with the entire practice. I think we’re a lot further ahead this year than we were last year.”

Troy looks to bounce back after a streaky 14-18 season in 2015. The team went 11-4 inside Trojan Arena tied the longest winning streak in the friendly confines with six straight wins. Troy also won eight straight games last year, which is the second best in program history.

The Trojans have four starters returning in seniors Symone Shaw, Leah Causey and Sara Landis along with junior setter Reina Terry. Shaw, the Trojans lone four-year letterwinner, recorded 197 kills last season and 51 total blocks. Causey, who started all 32 matches in 2015, added 213 kills along with 88 total blocks.

Landis is the Trojans’ returning kills leader from a year ago with 252 and ranked eighth in single-season block assists at Troy with 89. Terry tallied 933 assists last season, which ranked ninth in the Sun Belt.

This year’s Trojan team looks to replace key seniors lost in libero Ali Dowdall, middle hitter Darby Griff and outside hitter Blair Winston. With that enters six newcomers including five true freshmen.

Some key elements also return as five letterwinners return from last year. Among the five of them, they recorded 115 kills (led by Jordyn Saulsberry with 56), 261 assists (led by Alisha Hinrichs with 234), 211 digs (led by Avalon Nero with 155) and 20 total blocks (led by Saulsberry with 12).

The Trojans begin their season by traveling to Johnson City, Tenn., to take part in the ETSU Tournament. They will open the season with USC Upstate on Friday, August 26 at 3 p.m.

Troy will host its first match in Trojan Arena on Tuesday, August 30 at 6 p.m., against Southeastern Louisiana before hosting the Trojan Invitational on September 2-3.

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