Trojanettes ace first home testFree Access



Charlotte’s Jessalyn Sanchez serves against Knippa. MARRGARET GALLEGOS | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Charlotte’s Jessalyn Sanchez serves against Knippa. MARRGARET GALLEGOS | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Behind 11 aces, the Charlotte Trojanettes downed the Knippa Lady Crushers in straight sets (25-17, 25-19, 25-17) in their home opener on Tuesday.

The win was Charlotte’s fourth in a row and new head coach Chad Mills couldn’t be happier with their start, especially following an adverse weekend at the Pettus tournament, he said. Charlotte finished third in that tournament.

“It was great. It was very nice,” Mills said. “We had a little adversity over the weekend. I think that made them stronger. … I told the girls, ‘Hey, I know you’re upset about this last match.’ They just turned it on for me, won third place out there and it didn’t matter. I told them we were gonna carry this with us to the next game and they did. They just kept playing and doing good things.”

Leading the charge for the Trojanettes was hitter Jessalyn Sanchez. She finished the game with seven of Charlotte’s 11 aces and a team-high five kills.

Mills knows his team is likely to come across someone similar down the road, but he’s happy Sanchez is on his side of the court.

Charlotte’s Jenna Dillard serves in the match with Knippa MARGARET GALLEGOS | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Charlotte’s Jenna Dillard serves in the match with Knippa MARGARET GALLEGOS | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

“Being on this side, of course it’s great,” Mills said. “I’m preaching to her that I want to see that every time, that we need four or five to put pressure on the defense. I’m hard on her and she knows that. I’m pushing her to be even better because, if she first serves into the net or out, there goes our momentum.”

Sanchez picked up three of those seven aces in the final set. The junior knows exactly why thunder is coming down from her right hand.

“I feel like it’s just the jumping and strength and believing in myself,” Sanchez said.

The Trojanettes only surrendered the lead four times in the match, with three of those lead changes coming early in the third set. Their biggest lead was 10 points in the second set.

Trailing 17-16 in the second, Charlotte used a 9-2 run to steal the set. They would use an 8-3 run to win the third set 25-17 and claim the match.

Julissa Cantu tallied four kills, four digs, three assists and an ace for the Trojanettes. Mia Campos and Lucy Benavides each had two kills.

Jenna Dillard posted eight assists and two digs for Charlotte. Natalie Guana and Jasmine Santos also had a pair of digs to their names. Santos had two aces as well.

Charlotte (5-1) will next travel to the Nordheim tournament, where they won the championship a year ago.

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