MISHAWAKA — Anecdotally anyway, Triton proved the far less skittish team in its high school volleyball matchup with Mishawaka.

During warm-ups Monday at The Cave, a ball belonging to the Cavemen happened to randomly bounce into an open trash can.

Three Mishawaka players took turns looking into the receptacle, each deciding that she didn’t want to dare reach in.

A Trojan manager happened by, and without flinching, reached down and retrieved the ball for the opposing side.

OK, it had nothing to do with the outcome, but it was still an amusing preface to a battle in which Triton (17-6) constantly hung around, but the Cavemen (11-12) ultimately hung on.

Mishawaka prevailed in three tight sets, 25-22, 25-21, 25-20.

“They got the lead and played nice, controlled volleyball, which you expect out of a Steve Anderson-coached team,” second-year Trojan coach Derek Eveland said. “That’s the way we wanna play, and against most 1A and 2A schools, that’s how we have played, but we came up here against a 4A and got behind. Usually, we come back, which we did in each (set), but when you get behind, it’s so much extra hard work to get over that hump.”

The Cavemen, including their largest lead of 11-5, stayed in front throughout the opening set except for 22-22, then nabbed the final three points.

The hosts jumped to a 16-8 advantage in the second set, saw the Trojans close to within two on three occasions late, but finished that one out by taking five of the final six points.

In the final set — just like the second one — Triton’s largest and final lead was 2-1. At 10-10, Mishawaka went on a 10-5 run. The Trojans got no closer than 23-20 after that.

Triton, serving at 90.1% going in, finished with eight service errors on 64 tries to the Cavemen’s four. The Trojans also had a handful of other unforced mistakes and were whistled for a half-dozen violations, the same as Mishawaka.

“I would say the errors were a little high for us,” Eveland said. “When we do have errors, it’s typically when we’re up, but when we have a four-point lead, we can swing away, and if we miss, it’s not a big deal. We didn’t have that lead tonight.”

Triton standout sophomore middle hitter Addyson Viers led all players with 13 kills and four blocks. Senior Taren Yates added seven kills and a team-high 17 digs, while senior setter Maddie Doll recorded 17 assists.

“I was really happy with Addyson Viers,” Eveland said. “Early on, each time we set her, she got a kill, but it was hard to find her enough. We have other girls that can hit, too, but she was pretty good. (Junior libero) Kinsey Atkins did a good job of digging. We struggled some on serve-receive, but if you throw that out, it was pretty even. I thought we battled, didn’t give up.”

The Cavemen notched six aces, three of those by senior Emily Eggleston, to the Trojans’ two.

Junior Emily Adams led a balanced Mishawaka attack with nine kills. Eggleston added seven, senior Emma Brothers five and junior Kryslyn Shelton five.

Triton’s attention — if not already the case beforehand — quickly shifted afterwards to Tuesday’s showdown at Pioneer for Hoosier North Athletic Conference supremacy.

The Trojans entered it at 5-0 in the league, while the Panthers (17-8 overall) headed in at 6-0 with a chance to complete a run of the conference table.

“They’re really disciplined,” Eveland said of Pioneer, which has won every meeting with Triton since both teams became HNAC members in 2015. “It was good to have the Mishawaka match on the schedule, and we play Plymouth Wednesday, but the only match that really counts to us this week is Pioneer. It should be for the conference.”