09/09/09 — Trojans dump Coker

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Trojans dump Coker

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 9, 2009 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Back to full strength ... almost.

With players still recovering from flu-like symptoms, the Mount Olive College volleyball team might have found the perfect remedy Tuesday evening -- a victory at home.

Coming off a brutal eight-game road swing, the Trojans opened their home schedule with a 25-16, 25-22, 25-17 shellacking of Conference Carolinas rival Coker (S.C.) College. The three-set sweep snapped a nine-match losing streak that started in last year's conference tournament final against Anderson (S.C.) University.

"I think is definitely a step up from our previous matches," said MOC setter Joanie Werling. "We worked a lot better as a team, more positive, had fun with it and pushed (late in each set). We wanted to win in three games."

Mount Olive (1-8 overall) dropped six straight-set matches in weekend tournaments at Tusculum (Tenn.) and in-state rival Lees-McRae College during a seven-day period. The Trojans had won just two of 26 sets before blitzing Coker with a balanced attack at Kornegay Arena.

Werling dished out 33 assists among six hitters. Transfer Christiane Maul pounded out a match-high nine kills, while Caitlin Skislak and Racey Bartley provided eight kills apiece.

"We had to do what we know how to do and execute to the best of our ability, and that's what we did," said Werling.

The Trojans claimed their third straight decision over the Cobras (1-8, 0-2 CC) and 13th overall in 16 meetings since 2001.

"We're getting closer to being in full strength with some of the situations our kids have prevailed through," said first-year MOC head coach Cole Tallman. "There is still a little bit of recovery time (left)."

Coker secured an early lead in the opening set, but Bartley served three consecutive aces during a 9-2 run. The Cobras pulled within 12-11 before the Trojans collected 13 of the next 18 points to close out the set.

Maul's solo block and Skislak's roll shot down the line put MOC ahead 1-0 in the best-of-five contest.

Mote's save off a shanked serve-receive pass, Maul's service ace and back-to-back kills from Mote gave MOC a 24-20 lead in the second set. Coker fended off two set points, but Cynallyhia Indriago failed to close a solo block against Skislak, who pounded out a set-clinching kill off Werling's assist.

Mount Olive, again, put together another late push in the third set. Kailey Preece (six kills), Maul and Mote combined for four kills as the Trojans forged ahead 21-14.

The Cobras, who suffered their 35th loss in their last 39 matches, earned two points before Maul logged a solo block against Jordan Hancock. Two points later, Mote used the block to record a kill and seal the Trojans' sweep.

"Volleyball, a lot of times, comes down to details," said Tallman. "They handled it the way they've been practicing."