The Hannibal-LaGrange University volleyball team dropped its conference opener against William Woods University in four sets on Tuesday at Mabee Sports Complex.

The Hannibal-LaGrange University volleyball team dropped its American Midwest Conference opener against William Woods University in four sets on Tuesday at Mabee Sports Complex. 

The Lady Trojans (2-13) played the role of underdog as the visiting Lady Owls entered the match receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25.

After falling by 25-21 in the first set, HLGU gained momentum by taking the second game 25-18. The hosts kept their energy high to give themselves a chance at their third win of the year.

“It is vital that our energy stays up during every match no matter the score,” said HLGU coach Kyle Smith. “We had some opportunities with momentum we just let slip away.”

The Lady Owls capitalized on miscues and surged ahead to finish the match by taking the last two sets 25-13 and 25-12.

Rayleen Rivera led William Woods with 10 kills, and four other Lady Owls each supplied eight.

The Lady Trojans were missing a few key players due to injuries. 

Freshman Precious Gonsalez stepped up her game in order to keep HLGU within striking distance. Gonsalez finished with six kills and three aces in the defeat. 

“Precious is a really dynamic player for us in the middle,” Smith said. “She is explosive and brings high energy to the court. For her as a freshman to step up was huge.”

Andi Fudge led the Lady Trojans with seven kills and made 12 digs.  Brenley Stearns added six kills, while Taylor Audi posted 21 digs and Ashley Hill dished out 18 set assists for the hosts. 

HLGU learned some important lessons from the match that will help moving forward in the 2018 campaign, according to Smith.

“We have to continue to get more aggressive and work hard for every single ball,” Smith said. “For our conference opener this is a really great place to start.”

The competition for the Lady Trojans does not get easier.

HLGU is scheduled to host top-ranked Park University at noon on Saturday, when the Lady Trojans look to play with the same high energy as the underdog once again.