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No. 3 Tigers Best No. 2 Juniata for Triumphant Return to Calgaard

No. 3 Tigers Best No. 2 Juniata for Triumphant Return to Calgaard

SAN ANTONIO - No. 3 Trinity University Volleyball defeated No. 2 Juniata College (PA) in yet another national top-five matchup just eight matches into the 2022 season. The Tigers took down the Eagles, 3-1, to conclude the first day of the 2022 Trinity Fall Classic.

The Tigers (6-2) put together another excellent day on the block with 15 rejections as a unit, led by senior middle blocker Emily Ellis (Georgetown, Texas / Georgetown) for a second-consecutive eight-block performance including last Sunday's outing. Junior outside hitter Mackenzie Logan (Calgary, Canada / Bishop Carroll) joined the impressive display at the net with a career-high seven blocks of her own.

Senior rightside Sarah Williammee (Denver, Colo. / East) powered the Trinity offense with four of her team-high nine kills in the final points of the fourth set, twice tying the match back up and once forcing match point on the Eagles. First-year Reagan Whatley (The Woodlands, Texas / The Woodlands) tied the senior's team-high with nine successful swings, five of which to set the tone in the opening set.

Trinity needed just 39 kills on the night to get past the Eagles as the blocking effort helped to cause 31 total attack errors from the nation's second-ranked squad, which drove Friday night's opposing hitting percentage down to .182.

First-year libero Jenna Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas / Antonian) continued her strong play from Sunday as well, coming one dig short of her early career-best with 13 digs against No. 2 Juniata.

No. 3 Trinity Volleyball returns to Calgaard Gym Saturday morning to kick off the second day of the 2022 Trinity Fall Classic against University of La Verne (CA) at 11 a.m.

The Tigers round out the second home tournament of the season with University of Scranton (PA), scheduled for a 6 p.m. first-serve.

Trinity 3, Juniata 1

Whatley was relentless out of the gate with five of her team-high nine kills on the evening in the first frame, doing so on nine swings (.444 att. %). A 7-2 run in the heart of the first that featured one of Whatley's kills and a Logan block helped to build a six-point margin that held to a 25-20 first set.

The Tigers capitalized on the early momentum with a resounding 25-15 second-set output. The envirmonment inside the Bell Center Friday night helped Trinity force 19 errors on the Eagles across all phases in the frame including 10 in service and serve-receive. Ellis collected three of her blocks in the second. Juniata was able to clean up its execution to respond with a 25-19 third-set tally. Whatley returned for three more kills in the third.

Trinity worked out just a four-point margin early in the fourth that did not last as the Eagles remained within two for nearly every point after an 11-8 advantage. As the margin held, neither side could capture the momentum. Cue Williammee: the tournament MVP from the Trinity National Invitational two weekends ago fired all four of her kills past Juniata after the 19-18 mark in favor of Trinity, twice forcing tied scores at 23-23 and 25-25 but also match point at 24-23.

As the Tigers reach the fifth of six match points in the closing moments, Trinity ran out of its 15 substitutions, leaving sophomore setter Trinity Herrera (San Antonio, Texas / Clark) to patrol the front row and forced senior rightside Sara Flynn (Seattle, Wash. / Roosevelt) into service. The Tigers collected the victory on a rally that began on a serve from the 2021 All-American.

Up Next

No. 3 Trinity Volleyball finishes the 2022 Trinity Fall Classic Saturday with matchups against La Verne (11 a.m.) and Scranton (6 p.m.)

The Tigers then take the road to open Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana September 24-25.