Volleyball wins seventeenth SCAC championship

The Trinity Volleyball team won the SCAC title for the second year in a row with a 25-23, 25-20, 25-20 sweep of Southwestern on Nov. 8.

The Tigers opened up the conference tournament Nov. 7 in the semifinal match against the University of Dallas after receiving a bye in the first round from their first-place finish in the regular season standings.

It was a straightforward 25-10, 25-21, 25-18 win for the Tigers.

“I thought our players really did a nice job of setting the tone for the tournament that they were going to come out and play hard every single point and want it more,” said head coach Julie Jenkins.

Senior outside hitter Maggie Emodi led the team in kills with 14, and had 17 digs for a double-double in the match.

Senior middle blocker Erin Cusenbary was second on the team with nine kills, and five blocked shots and a .500 hitting percentage.

Senior Audrey Hazelwood played in her first game of the season after coming back from three knee surgeries throughout her career. She hit two kills in the match with no errors.

“Coach’s goal for us is to have a balanced offense, so it is always nice when we can get everyone playing and everyone scoring,” Cusenbary said. “So for us to be able to move the ball around and keep the defense guessing as to where we are going I think is invaluable to us as a team.”

Saturday’s championship match was a rematch of last year’s with Trinity facing off against the Southwestern University Pirates. Last year’s, match went to five sets with Trinity emerging victorious on their home court.

The score was very close throughout most of the first game, but  Trinity was able to pull away at the end with a narrow 25-23 win.

“That first game was one of the most intense games I have ever coached,” Jenkins said. “Not only because it was never more than a one or two point lead—it stayed that way the entire way—but it was also because there were such long rallies.”

The next two sets were equally close with the Tigers winning 25-20 in both.

“This year it was good that we were able to handle them in three, and not really play down to their level from the very beginning,” Emodi said.

Emodi once again led the Tigers with 16 kills and 21 digs, recording her second double-double of the weekend. Sophomore setter Erika Edrington also posted a double-double with 36 assists and 15 digs.

Both players were named to the SCAC All-Tournament team for their efforts this weekend.

Senior outside hitter Layne Hubbard was named the tournament MVP for the second year in a row. She had nine kills, 17 digs and a hitting percentage of .321 in the championship match. She is the first player in SCAC history to receive this honor in two years in a row.

The Tigers carry a 28-9 record going into the first round of the NCAA playoffs. They faced five of the seven teams that are in the regional tournament during the regular season.

“I think it is huge help because we know what to expect. It does help us—it helps us a lot—they know what to expect and I think it is going to be a great regional championship,” Jenkins said.

Today, they play La Verne University (Calif.) in Thousand Oaks, CA in the first round of the regional playoffs.