Even with slow starts in each set, Truman seemed to find the switch to flip at the right time Thursday night facing Fort Osage.
The Patriots volleyball team, behind the solid attack of Tapanga Johnson and Natalya Nalivaiko, swept the Indians 25-16, 25-16 at Fort Osage High School.
Truman never trailed in the first set, but were tied at 7, 9 and 10, before making the move to surge ahead by scoring 15 of the final 20 points.
Nalivaiko had two of her four kills in the first set during the run and added an ace while serving.
“At first it was back and forth and we weren't focusing,” Nalivaiko said. “... It is all in our head. We have to regain focus and stay positive throughout the game. Get our passes and get our sets and hits.”
Fort Osage (7-9-2) had the ball with the chance to take the first lead at 10-10, but a service error gave the Patriots (10-7-2) the advantage. Nalivaiko followed with a kill and Truman went on a 5-0 run.
After a kill by freshman Aly Young gave Fort Osage a point, Truman responded with a 7-1 spurt that all but determined the outcome and built a 10-point advantage.
“We played pretty consistently,” Truman coach David Gardner said. “We had errors early and kept it closer than we wanted. Once we settled into the game, we took care of business. Volleyball is one of those momentum games.”
The second set featured some of the same back-and-forth with three ties early, but this time the Indians jumped ahead on a kill by Young, one of two freshmen who started for Fort Osage. The number would've been one higher but freshman Danielle Brockmeyer was injured in pregame warmups and senior Faith Rinacke was inserted into the lineup.
Fort Osage built a two-point lead, its largest of the night, before a kill by Johnson gave Truman the ball back.
The Patriots went on an 8-0 run and forced Fort Osage coach Vanessa Gage to call a timeout. It worked momentarily as a combo block by Kendra Siefker and Ardaysia Fenner made it 11-6.
Truman led by at least six points from there on out and expanded the lead to 22-12 on an ace by Johnson, followed by a return error.
“We struggle, it has been a whole season thing, we are constantly working on it,” Gage said. “We get a few points down and struggle to battle back. We have little spurts where we do a lot of good things and then we get stuck in rotation and we struggle. That is one thing we have been focusing on this season.”
Fort Osage had multiple-point runs only twice after the early lead, including a match-high three in a row down 24-13 in the second set. The Indians staved off a loss on three straight serves, but a return error ended the match.