This weekend, Trinity fell short of an Elite Eight appearance in a 25-19, 22-25, 25-21, 25-20 loss to the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the regional final in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
The Tigers opened NCAA Regional play on Nov. 14 against the No. 25 University of La Verne Leopards. They swept the Leopards 25-20, 25-20, 25-15.
“When we played La Verne we were again on fire,” said head coach Julie Jenkins. “That was a very good win, and a very good start to the tournament.”
Senior outside hitter Maggie Emodi had 15 kills in 30 attempts with no hitting errors and a hitting percentage of .500.
Senior middle blocker Erin Cusenbary had 10 kills and led the team in blocks with five in the match.
Sophomore setter Erika Edrington had a double-double with 15 digs, 36 assists and four blocks in the match.
On Nov. 15, in the semifinal round, they took out the No. 3 California Lutheran University Regals 26-24, 25-18, 11-25, 25-21 on their home court. Last year, the Regals beat Trinity 3-1 in the regional finals, and earlier this season the Regals won 3-1 again in a California road trip tournament.
“We felt so good after that match, and I think we thought that the tournament was ours,” Cusenbary said. “It was like every single game we played had led up to that one, and that one finally paid off.”
Edrington led the team with six blocks. She also dished out 37 assists and 19 digs in the match.
“Our passing was really great, and I think we just had a great mentality going into it,” Edrington said. “It was a great match””I wasn’t thinking too much””that was really nice that we could play in such a pressure situation without being too stressed.”
Cusenbary was a dominant force on offense out of the middle with a .533 hitting percentage and 17 kills, hitting only one error in 30 attempts.
“Erin Cusenbary had the match of her Trinity career,” Jenkins said.
Emodi also recorded a double-double in the match with 15 kills and 22 digs.
The Tigers’ season ended in the regional final match in a loss to the Athenas. This is the second straight season the Tigers have fallen in the round just before the Elite Eight division. They swept CMS in the Trinity Fall Classic earlier this season.
“The game against Cal Lutheran felt like a championship game for us””they had so many fans there and our parents were going nuts””it was just an atmosphere that I don’t think I will ever experience again because it was so intense and so crazy. Then we got to the next game and it hardly felt like a game,” Cusenbary said.
Emodi posted another double-double in the final match with 15 kills and 16 digs. She also led the team with six blocks.
Cusenbary had a hitting percentage of .323 with 14 kills and four errors on 31 total attacks. Senior outside hitter Layne Hubbard added 12 digs in the championship match as well.
“We didn’t pass as well, and it really put the pressure on our outside hitters,” Jenkins said. “It is extremely disappointing because I really felt like the level that we played at against Cal Lutheran””this team could beat anybody now””that we were really getting the confidence we needed.”
Cusenbary was named a first team All-American, Emodi was named to the second team All-American and Edrington was honorable mention.
The Tigers ended 30-10 on the season overall.