The host Lady Trojans finished as the tournament runner-up to Shaw, dropping a 2-0 (23-25, 15-25) decision in the championship match of the single-elimination showdown.
Carrollton reached the championship match by knocking off Callaway 2-0 (25-22, 25-20) in the opening round of the four-team tournament bracket after battling through a three-game round-robin from the morning’s pool play.
In pool play action, Carrollton opened by defeating Callaway 2-0 (25-22, 25-9), then topped the Carrollton JV 2-0 (25-7, 25-17) and finished up by suffering a tough, 2-0 setback to the Lady Raiders (23-25, 24-26).
“I think everything went really well. I hope to host this tournament again in the future. I thought our girls did great on defense. We need to work a little bit more on being aggressive on offense. Our blocks were there. We dug balls that we’ve never dug in the past. Our serves were very consistent. So as long as we get more aggressive on the net, I think we’ll be able to hang with the team that just beat us,” Austin said.
Carrollton and Shaw had squared off three times in a three-day span by the end of Saturday, with the Lady Trojans making a trip to Columbus on Thursday for a match with the Lady Raiders. Austin said that’s the type of competition she wants her team to face in order to get ready for the postseason.
“They’re very competitive. We hope to have them on our schedule in the future. We’re wanting to go deep in the state playoffs, and they’re the kind of team that we’ll be paired up with,” Austin said.
The Lady Trojans now turn their focus to the stretch run of the regular season, beginning with a tri-match at Therell on Tuesday.
“I feel pretty good about them. They’ve grown a lot. We’ve been working all summer and I feel like we get better every game. Most of these girls played varsity last year — we only lost three — so their chemistry is on. They can move and talk well together, so I’m just looking for some aggressive net play,” Austin said.
As for Saturday’s first-ever Carrollton Invitational Tournament, the Lady Trojan coach said she got strong performances up and down her roster.
“Olivia Huffman on defense was unstoppable. She’s our libero, and she dug everything. Jordan Camp, our No. 1 outside hitter, she’s injured, but she’s still playing on the front row. Then just blocks, we got a lot of blocks. All three of our middle hitters got a lot of blocks, and that’s huge. That’s Kat Burger and Simone Richardson — they’re seniors — and then Hannah Baldizon, who’s a junior. They were all three great,” Austin said.
“Kate Marshall, Faith Swint and Anna Humphrey, they were all around and everywhere. Then I have to say that our setter [Lauren Sanders] is our most valuable player. She’s at one end of the court to the other. Our right-side hitter who plays opposite of Lauren Sanders is Mary Kate Groninger, and she’s been instrumental, too. Front row, back row — she’s smart and she knows where to put the ball.”
In junior-varsity action from Saturday:
The Lady Trojans’ junior-varsity squad also competed on Saturday, facing an all-varsity slate in dropping a 2-0 (9-25, 6-25) match to Shaw, a 2-0 (7-25, 17-25) match to its Lady Trojan varsity counterparts and then a 2-0 (7-25, 18-25) decision to Callaway in pool play. In the first round of the tournament, Carrollton fell to Shaw 2-0 (12-25, 12-25).
On Thursday, the Carrollton JV defeated Shaw’s JV in a 2-1 triumph (25-21, 12-25, 25-23) down in Columbus.