Photo by Mona Mirpour
The Trinity University volleyball team completed three consecutive weekends of away games, earning seven wins in 10 matches.
At the University of Texas-Dallas Invitational on the weekend of Sept. 6, the Tigers split four games with two losses and two wins. The team improved their record the following weekend in the East to West Battle at Washington University in St. Louis, where they defeated No. 6 Juniata College team and unranked California Lutheran University before falling to the tournament host.
In Denver this past weekend, the team took on Austin College. After dropping the opening set, the Tigers won the next three sets to earn their first Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) win of the season. They followed this win with victories against Texas Lutheran University (TLU) and host Johnson & Wales University at Denver, by scores of 3–2 and 3–0, respectively. The victory against TLU was the team’s first five-set match win thus far in the year.
“We always have things we want to improve on in our game, even when we win. The only way to continue the momentum is to keep improving and growing as a team. Our coach always creates practice plans that are intended to challenge us and our mental toughness. She reminds us that any team is capable of beating us if we don’t give every game and practice our best effort, which motivates us to respect every team we play. This mentality will help us to keep the momentum going for future games,” said sophomore middle blocker Emma Funk.
The Colorado trip marked the team’s third consecutive weekend of travel and the second consecutive weekend of out-of-state travel. Funk explained that there are pros and cons to these trips.
“Traveling can be stressful and exhausting when it doesn’t go smoothly. This weekend, it took us three hours longer than we’d planned to get to our hotel in Denver because our plane was delayed, and when we arrived, our hotel didn’t have rooms for us. But on the other hand, away trips always help the team grow closer since we’re spending so much time together. We make a lot of memories that we talk about long after we get back from away trips,” Funk said.
Funk explained that the team is able to manage these schedules by prioritizing what’s important to them.
“Managing your time well is extremely important during the season. We all know that during season, academics and volleyball come first, so our social lives often barely exist. If we’re not in practice, we’re usually studying or making up work we’ve missed from traveling so often. Fortunately, our professors are understanding of how busy our schedules are, and work with us to manage them,” Funk said.
The team is currently ranked No. 10 in the nation by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Senior team captain Maggi Linker explained that although this is a notable honor, the rankings list is not a priority for the team.
“Being ranked is always nice recognition, but our main focus right now is on the start of conference play and making sure that we are getting better every game. The most exciting game on our schedule is always the next one,” Linker said.
In other notable honors, sophomore middle blocker Emily Ellis earned the SCAC Volleyball Player of the Week title for her impressive performances in the St. Louis games, as well as the title of AVCA Division III Player of the Week. Junior Avery Tuggle then earned a SCAC Volleyball Player of the Week title for the second time this year as a result of her strong showing in Colorado.
“I earned these awards because my teammates, along with my coach, push me every day in practice and in the weight room. They are constantly helping me to improve and really bring out the best in me. They help me meet my full potential every day,” Ellis said.
The team’s next tournament will be in Kerrville at Schreiner University, beginning Saturday, Oct. 5th. The Tigers will face Centenary (LA) College, Colorado College, the University of Dallas and Southwestern (TX) University.
“I think that the next away tournament we have at Schreiner has some exciting games. We will be continuing our conference play that weekend, and these are some of the match-ups we are always excited for,” Ellis said.