Trinity University’s volleyball team currently holds an 18–4 season record, which includes a 10–0 mark in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) conference play and eight consecutive match wins. Over the course of the season, the team has defeated several ranked opponents, including No. 2 Colorado College.
Assistant Coach Marion Hazelwood believes that this win was a significant turning point for the team.
“We had just come off of two big losses in Illinois, both against ranked opponents. It was a huge opportunity for the girls to show mental toughness because going into a big weekend of matches right after two heart-breakers is incredibly hard. Our team’s energy switched the momentum our way, so we have just been trying to build on that everyday,” Hazelwood said.
During this game, first-year middle blocker Emma Funk recorded a career-best six blocks, while firing in 10 kills and posting five digs.
“Emma went up for a swing on match point versus Colorado College and won the match with a kill. That level of confidence as a [first-year] is rare,” Hazelwood said.
In regards to her success under pressure, Funk said, “In the moment, I focused on staying disciplined and reading the court for any possible spots to tip or hit to. After the play, I was extremely relieved and excited.”
Funk’s performance during the weekend of matchups against Colorado College, the University of Dallas, and Johnson & Wales University earned her a nomination as SCAC Defensive Player of the Week. This award was won by senior Sarah Mullens three weeks prior.
Katrina Lieberman, a junior setter from Tustin, California, has been nominated as SCAC Offensive Player of the Week twice this season.
“I earned these awards because of how strong our team is as a whole. I can’t run an efficient offense without both amazing defensive players and incredible hitters to put the ball away. I am so fortunate to play on such a well-balanced and talented team,” Lieberman said.
On Lieberman, Hazelwood said, “Katrina maintains a level of consistency on the court that is hard for any player to provide. She’s a positive voice for the team and sets a good example for getting into the gym, doing her job and maintaining a good attitude.”
The Tiger volleyball team is currently ranked No. 10, according to the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division III Poll.
“I think this ranking has motivated us to work even harder to try and move up in the rankings. Our always goals stay the same: to keep working hard and get better every day,” Lieberman said.
Going into the rest of the regular season and post-season, Lieberman hopes to see the team perform at their fullest capabilities.
“I think the biggest goal that I have is that we play to our highest potential and do everything we can to win! Hopefully we make it farther this year than in the past, and if we continue working as hard as we have been, I think this can be accomplished,” Lieberman said.
Hazelwood shares a view similar to her teammate’s.
“This team is truly something special. We have so much depth in our roster, and each player is still continuing to develop in every aspect of their game. If we can continue to build on what we have accomplished so far, we will definitely compete at a very high level when tournament time comes around. Our team comes to practice every day with a good attitude, eager to learn and improve and they’re excited to see how far they can take our season this year,” Hazelwood said.
Although it’s Hazelwood’s first season working with the Tiger volleyball program, she’s found herself blown away by the team’s performance and attitude.
“My experience for my first season has exceeded all of my expectations. I knew it would be enjoyable to coach a team like this one, but it is rare to have an entire team of players who are as dedicated and hard working as this team is. The way they have fully committed to this team and its success reminds me daily of why I love this sport. But more than that, they aren’t just great athletes — they’re great students, people and leaders. Not to mention, they’re extremely fun to watch! I consider myself very lucky to work with them, and I’m excited to see them succeed,” Hazelwood said.
Next week, the team will participate in the SCAC Divisional against Colorado College, the University of Dallas and Johnson & Wales University, where they hope to continue building on their current eight-game win-streak.