The Trinity University Volleyball team played and won three matches last weekend in the SCAC Championship. This was the Tigers’ 16th SCAC Championship victory in the program’s history.
The first victory of the weekend was against Centenary College, which ended in a 3-0 victory for the Tigers. Every player on the team played in the match, which is unusual for a conference tournament game.
“Playing Centenary was a good way to ease into conference. It allowed us to gain confidence moving forward. We new our following game against Texas Lutheran University would be hard.” said sophomore outside hitter Megan Reynolds.
The semi-final game against Texas Lutheran University was yet another win for the Tigers, who closed with a 3-2 victory.
“It was a great win, a high-pressure match, which came right down to the wire. I’d much rather have a semi-final match like that, which prepares the team for the final than beating someone 3-0.’ said Coach Julie Jenkins.
The championship represented Jenkins’ 16th SCAC title since 1992. The victory in the championship was her 800th career victory. Jenkins was also voted the SCAC Volleyball Coach of the Year for the 11th time in her career.
The first two matches were won by the Tigers, then Texas Lutheran came back to win the second two matches. The victory came down to the final match, which ended in the favor of the Tigers in a high intensity performance.
The following day, Saturday, Nov. 9, was the championship game of the tournament against Southwestern University. In the other semifinal, Southwestern defeated Colorado College, 3-0. Colorado College was aiming for its fourth straight SCAC title. Colorado College was the No. 2 seed in the SCAC and ranked No. 11 in the nation. They had also defeated Trinity in the last two SCAC championship games. Colorado still received an at-large bid to the NCAA playoffs. In the title game, the victory ended in favor of the Tigers with a 3-2 win.
“One of our goals going in to the final was maintaining consistently good composure. The girls really did do that. We lost game one and two, but they maintained good composure- the girls were concentrating, smiling, and because of that they were able to turn it on in the final three games. The girls were too high air during the first two games, but they really flipped the switch during the third game.” Jenkins said.
During this match, a school record of 128 digs was set. It is a significant statistic to reach over 100 digs as a team in a match, and the Tigers reached that statistic twice in a row, once in the semifinals and once in finals. Two players hit over 30 digs, which was the first time in Coach Jenkins’ 29 years at Trinity that such a statistic occurred. Offensively, junior outside hitter Layne Hubbard led the team with 18 kills and 26 digs. Hubbard was also the tournament MVP this weekend, as well as SCAC Volleyball Player of the Week. Maggie Emodi, also a junior outside hitter, made the All-Tournament team, as did senior setter Maryn Swierc. Emodi was also named the SCAC Player of the Year.
“When the SCAC commissioner handed us the trophy, he told us that previously, a team had gotten behind 2-0 in 252 SCAC volleyball tournament matches and only 3 had come back to win, so that was really a big accomplishment. Our team showed a lot of mental toughness by coming back after being down 2-0 which is something that will help us a lot heading into the regional tournament.” Said senior middle blocker Kelsey Daniels.
The Trinity Women’s Volleyball team will compete in the NCAA Regional Championships at 7 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 15 against UC Santa Cruz on Trinity’s campus. A victory would put the Tigers in the regional semifinals in Sam’s Gymnasium at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16 against the winner of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Southwestern, who will be looking to avenge their SCAC championship game loss. With another victory, the Tigers would reach the regional final here at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17 against either Cal Lutheran University, Hardin-Simmons University, Pomona-Pitzer College, and the University of Texas-Dallas.
Should the Tigers run the table and win the region, they would advance to the NCAA quarterfinals beginning Thursday, Nov. 21 in Holland, MI. The Tigers have not reached the NCAA quarterfinals since the 2009 season. Trinity has never won an NCAA volleyball title, but reached the championship match in 1999 when they lost 3-0 to an undefeated Central College team, who won three straight titles from 1998-2000.
The Association of Student Representatives has approved 200 complimentary tickets for the Tigers’ first game on Friday. Tickets can be picked up with a Tiger Card. Should the Tigers win, 185 additional tickets will be provided to Saturday’s game. Otherwise, student tickets are $4 and general admission is $6.