Cedar Rapids, Iowa – The seventh-ranked Tiger volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Semifinals with a thrilling 3-2 win over third-ranked Calvin (MI) College in Thursday's final NCAA Quarterfinal match.
Trinity won the first two sets 25-21 and 25-20, but Calvin stormed back to take the next two games by scores of 25-19 and 26-24. The Tigers finished the match with a 15-9 victory in the fifth.
Trailing 7-8 early in the opening set, Trinity scored five straight points to spark an impressive run. The Tigers built the lead to 20-13 before Calvin rallied to within four at 20-16 and 22-18. Calvin then fought off three set points, but the Tiger lead was too much in the end.
Trinity came out on fire in the second set, scoring nine of the first 10 points to take control early. Calvin chipped away at the lead and got within one at 17-16, but Trinity scored three unanswered points to regain the advantage. The Knights got within two points, but Trinity scored five of the final seven points to take a 2-0 match lead.
Calvin scored four points in a row to take a 9-6 lead over Trinity in the third, but the Tigers quickly tied things up 9-9 with a run of their own. The match was tied again at 13-13 when the Knights rattled off seven consecutive points to take command of the game. Trinity battled back to within three at 19-22, but Calvin scored the last three to make it a 2-1 match.
The fourth set was the closest of all, as neither team could pull away to take control. Calvin used a 6-1 run to take a 13-10 lead, but Trinity tied things up three points later. Down 15-17, the Tigers scored six of the next eight to take a 21-19 lead, but Calvin answered with three straight to pull back in front 22-21. The teams traded points down the stretch, but the Knights scored the final two to tie things up 2-2 in the match.
The teams traded points early in the fifth, but three consecutive scores for Calvin put the Knights in front 5-3. The Tigers roared back by scoring nine of the next 11 points to take a 12-7 lead. Calvin scored two of the next three to make it a 13-9 game, but Trinity scored the final two to finish off the win.
Trinity extended its winning streak to 23 matches, improving its overall record to 37-4 this season. The Tigers are just one win short of tying the school record for single-season victories.
The win puts Trinity in the NCAA Semifinals for the third time in program history. The Tigers were runners-up to Central (IA) College in 1999, then finished third nationally in 2002.
This is just the second meeting between Calvin and Trinity and the teams are now 1-1 after today's Tiger victory. Calvin defeated Trinity 3-0 in San Antonio during the 2017 season.
Lexie Acevedo and Avery Tuggle both turned in double-double performances for the Tigers on Thursday night. Tuggle finished her night with 13 kills and 12 digs, as well as turning in two service aces and three blocks.
In addition to her 25 assists and 12 digs, Acevedo also led Trinity with four service aces in the match.
Marisa Amarino led the Tigers with 26 assists and also recorded eight digs.
Emily Ellis paced Trinity's offense with a team-leading 15 kills and a .420 hitting percentage. She also led the way with six blocks, helping the team to record a total of 11 blocks overall.
Annie Rose Leggett had a team-leading 20 digs along with her seven kills and two blocks.
The Tigers will face off against sixth-ranked Johns Hopkins (MD) University tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. The winner advances to Saturday's NCAA Championship Match at 7:00 p.m.