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Layton's big day goes for naught as Lady Tigers drop pair at Jay

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
It was one of the best offensive performances in the three-year history of the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers volleyball program. Unfortunately for junior Emily Layton, the Lady Tigers needed a little bit more.
Layton, a first-year player, racked up nine aces among 32 service points although T.R. Miller suffered a pair of setbacks to the host Jay (Fla.) Lady Royals Monday.
The Lady Tigers (6-12) stumbled 25-17, 25-13, and 25-15 in the opener. T.R. Miller suffered a crushing 25-18, 19-25, 18-25, 25-15, 15-6 loss in the finale.
Yet the real story was Layton.
"Emily just had a tremendous match, esecially with her serves. She was very consistent and found the holes in Jay's defense. Emily's all-around game is really starting to come together," Lady Tigers coach Sharon Peacock said.
After a straight set match loss in opener and a first set defeat in the second match, Layton caught fire in set two.
Layton began the set with nine straight points, three of which were aces. Layton later added her 10th, 11th and 12th points of the set that put the Lady Tigers in firm position to even the second match at one set each.
Layton continued her torrid serving in set three. With T.R. Miller down 15-14, Layton used a seven-point, two-ace string that put the Lady Tigers up for good.
Despite the 2-1 advantage in sets, T.R. Miller was unable to finish the deal. With the Lady Tigers up 10-9 thanks to a pair of points by Layton, Erin Byrne and Courtney Krehbiel, T.R. Miller scored just five defensive points and no offensive points the rest of the set.
The Lady Tigers' offense stayed shut down in the decisive fifth set. T.R. Miller managed just one offensive point, an ace by Krehbiel, although Krehbiel and Byrne each had a defensive kill for a point.
"We had played quite a bit better in the last week, but we took a big step backward in the first match and the first set of the second match. We really struggled with serve/receive. Our passing wasn't good. Then we turned around and put together a couple of good sets, but couldn't finish it," Peacock said.
The Lady Tigers went 2-1 and posted a second place finish in their pool at Saturday's Escambia County Tournament.
T.R. Miller opened up play with a 25-19, 25-16 victory over W.S. Neal.
Stacey Jackson had four aces to lead the Lady Tigers serving. Shandreka Foster had an ace, a kill and a block. Emily Layton and Courtney Krehbiel both had an ace. Terri Lynne Peacock had a kill with two assists. Rebecca Scott and Erin Byrne both added a kill.
In game two, T.R. Miller needed three sets to hold off Escambia County 25-16, 9-25, 25-15.
Byrne stepped up with the hot service hand of 11 aces in addition to a pair of kills. Rachel Morgan generated a team best six assists. Krehbiel put away three kills. Layton had an ace plus an assist. Megan Fountain and Foster each had a kill, while Jackson had an ace.
In the finale, the Lady Tigers dropped the pool championship clash against Northview (Fla.) 26-24, 16-25, 25-12.
Krehbiel served up nine aces and added two kills, while Layton had six aces. Byrne and Scott each led the hitting with three kills each. Peacock had six digs, two kills and two assists.
T.R. Miller will close out its regular season Thursday when it hosts Clarke County. Junior varsity action starts at 4:30 p.m. followed by the varsity match.