No. 2 Volleyball Splits Opening Day of East*West Classic
ATLANTA - No. 2 Trinity University Volleyball defeated No. 7 Johns Hopkins University (MD) in five sets Friday morning for the team's fourth-straight victory over a nationally-ranked program in a rally from a 2-1 deficit through three sets but fell to the host of this weekend's East*West Classic, No. 14 Emory University (GA), in four sets when faced with the same challenge in the evening.
Senior middle blocker Emily Ellis (Georgetown, Texas / Georgetown) forced 12 kills and a pair of blocks on the seventh-ranked Blue Jays in the opener on a .421 hitting percentage.
On the day, senior rightside Sarah Williammee (Denver, Colo. / East) claimed the total kills category with 19 kills, 11 of which came against the 14th-ranked Eagles in the evening. First-year outside hitter Reagan Whatley (The Woodlands, Texas / The Woodlands) tied Ellis's 18 kills on the day with 11 in the early matchup, came one dig shy of her first collegiate double-double and ended Friday's action with 19 digs overall.
Defensively, senior libero Nadia Kern (El Paso, Texas / Montwood) led the back row with 28 digs (3.50 per set) while junior middle blocker Maddie Fate (New York, N.Y. / Croton on Hudson) notched a team-best seven blocks (0.88 per set).
The second-ranked Tigers will log the third No. 1-v.-No. 2 matchup in program history Saturday morning as Trinity Volleyball will take on fellow Region 10 heavyweight No. 1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges (CA) at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Trinity 3, Johns Hopkins 2
The Tigers had their early-season streak of sweeps abruptly ended Friday morning at Woodruff Arena as Trinity dropped the opening set of the East*West Classic on an 11-point margin. Self-inflicted wounds were the primary cause of the first lost set of the 2022 campaign as the Tigers tallied seven unforced errors on the attack.
Faced with the team's first true adversity on the season, Trinity returned to sender with a 25-15 second-set tide-turner. A balanced, calculated attack began in the middle with Ellis as three of her four kills in the frame came in the first five Tiger points. Whatley and senior rightside Sara Flynn (Seattle, Wash. / Roosevelt) worked the pins through the latter portion of the second for three kills apiece.
A more modest five-point spread in favor of the seventh-ranked Blue Jays continued the see-saw affair, but just as it did in the second, Trinity returned with a reciprocated 25-20 tally to force the winner-take-all fifth set. The Tigers continued to find success in the middle as five more kills from Ellis were supplemented by a three-for-three mark from Fate. Five of the eight kills between the middles were logged in the 15-5 set-opening run that kept Johns Hopkins out of reach.
Poise under pressure earned the Tigers their first victory of the season outside the confines of Calgaard Gym as nine total errors by the Blue Jays allowed Trinity to take a commanding lead from start to finish in the final frame.
Emory 3, Trinity 1
Trinity opened the evening matchup slow falling to a four-point deficit at 9-5 in favor of the 14th-ranked host Eagles that carried to a 13-9 tally. Five straight kills for the Tigers, including two of Williammee's six for the set, helped to drop an 8-0 run in the heart of the first to course-correct en route to a 25-19 set victory.
Back-to-back 25-22 outputs in favor of the host put Trinity back in a similar trailing position to the morning match. In both sets, the final tied score was logged at or after 20-20 before the Eagles found ways to slip past the Tigers.
Another Ellis kill immediately after jump-started a 7-2 run that answered an early 6-1 deficit in the fourth. Back-to-back kills from Flynn capped the stretch to force a timeout by the Eagles' bench at 9-8, TU. Despite working out to a four-point lead at 18-14, Emory slipped by one final to claim its home victory.
No. 2 Trinity Volleyball will look for the program's 40th victory all-time when ranked second in NCAA III Saturday morning in its third No. 1-v.-No. 2 contest since the end of the 2021 spring season against the top-ranked Athenas of Claremont-M-S.
The Tigers then return to San Antonio next weekend for the Trinity Fall Classic September 16-17.