No. 2 Volleyball to Open SCAC Play; Tigers Sweep Conference Weekly Honors
SAN ANTONIO - No. 2 Trinity University Volleyball is set to open the 2022 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season this weekend in Shreveport, Louisiana on the campus of Centenary College. The upcoming SCAC-opening weekend will begin Saturday with Austin College (11 a.m.) and the host Ladies (6 p.m.) Saturday, followed by University of Dallas on Sunday (12:15 p.m.).
The Tigers (8-2) picked up a second undefeated weekend in the Trinity Fall Classic last weekend, which featured another statement victory in four sets over then-No. 2 Juniata College on Friday night, followed by shutout wins over in-region foe University of La Verne (CA) and 2021 NCAA III tournament qualifier University of Scranton.
The victory over the now-No. 4 Eagles on Friday concluded a seven-match streak against nationally-ranked opponents by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. During that stretch, Trinity notably defeated the defending NCAA III champion University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, then-No. 6 Berry College (GA) and then-No. 7 Johns Hopkins University (MD).
Head Coach Julie Jenkins currently sits at 998 victories as the leader of the Trinity program, in position to become the seventh coach in NCAA history to reach the 1,000-mark at one institution and just the second to do so at a NCAA III program. Last season, Coach Jenkins collected her 1,000th victory in her career overall in the same SCAC Divisional weekend in Shreveport on October 1, 2021.
AVCA Rankings – Trinity Takes No. 2 Back
The AVCA moved the Tigers back up one spot following last weekend's victory over Juniata, the same ranking they received after the opening weekend that featured sweeps over UW-Eau Claire and Berry.
Trinity is currently on a streak of 64 consecutive AVCA polls as a member of the nation's top-25, the second-longest streak since the poll began in 1992. The program's longest streak (88 polls) occurred between the 1998-2005 campaigns.
The top spot remained in the hands of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges (CA), which remains undefeated three weekends into the 2022 season. Colorado College is the third-highest ranked member of Region 10, and the other ranked member of the SCAC at No. 20. Five of Trinity's 10 opponents thus far have remained in the AVCA top-25.
SCAC Players of the Week – Williammee and Ellis Sweep
After entering the 2022 campaign without a SCAC Player of the Week award on her record, senior rightside Sarah Williammee (Denver, Colo. / East) earned her second offensive conference honor in three weeks, and was joined by senior middle blocker Emily Ellis (Georgetown, Texas / Georgetown) as the defensive selection.
Williammee was named the Trinity Fall Classic MVP thanks to a team-leading 24 kills on the weekend, including a team-high nine in the victory over the second-ranked Eagles. The 2021 SCAC Championship tournament MVP currently ranks 16th in NCAA III in hitting percentage amongst rightside hitters at .302 and leads the Tigers with 80 kills.
Ellis earned the fourth SCAC Player of the Week award of her career thanks to a strong eight blocks against Juniata, which led to 13 rejections for the weekend in eight sets played. The 2019 All-American holds the second-most career blocks of any active NCAA III player, on top of the highest active career mark in hitting percentage (.384).
Preview: SCAC Opening Weekend
Trinity remains NCAA III's leader in blocks per set (2.89) powered by Ellis and junior middle blocker Maddie Fate (New York, N.Y. / Croton on Hudson) who rank ninth (1.24 b/s) and seventh (1.27 b/s), respectively, in NCAA III.
Along with the impressive defensive effort in the middle, the efficient attack on the opposite pin has led to a versatile scoring repertoire. Senior rightside Sara Flynn (Seattle, Wash. / Roosevelt) ranks ninth among NCAA III rightside hitters with a .348 hitting percentage in combination with Williammee's .302. The duo is 1-2 in Trinity's kills category, combining for 154 successful strikes.
The Tigers have also brought an infusion of youth to the 2022 campaign as first-year outside hitter Reagan Whatley (The Woodlands, Texas / The Woodlands) has kept pace with the senior duo on the right with 71 kills to complete the three-headed monster on the attack. First-year libero Jenna Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas / Antonian) took control of the back row for last weekend's Trinity Fall Classic and has 71 digs on the season along with a team-leading 11 service aces.
On the 'Roos: The Tigers open up the 2022 SCAC campaign with Austin College, the 40th meeting between the programs since 1991, a series the Tigers lead 36-3. The Kangaroos are 6-6 on the season, but have dropped five of their last six matches.
On the Ladies: Trinity meets Centenary for the 22nd time on Friday, undefeated against the Ladies during that time. Centenary ranks 16th in NCAA III in team attacks per set (38.57) and is just outside the top-50 in digs per set (17.23) led by senior libero Jaycie Proctor with 5.17 digs per set (16th in NCAA III). The Ladies are also 6-6 on the season entering the weekend, though 2-4 against NCAA III opponents.
On the Crusaders: The 25th meeting between Dallas and the Tigers concludes the first SCAC weekend for Trinity, a series that features a 23-1 record over the Crusaders. Dallas is 6-5 thus far in 2022 with matchups against Schreiner University and No. 20 Colorado College ahead of Sunday's 12:15 p.m. contest.
All of Trinity's matches will feature live stats and streaming courtesy of the Centenary Communications Department. Return to the volleyball schedule page on TrinityTigers.com later in the week for direct links to the events.
Looking Ahead – Next Home Dates
No. 2 Trinity Volleyball returns to San Antonio October 14 to open the Trinity Invitational, featuring matchups with University of California-Santa Cruz and Susquehanna University (PA).
The following weekend, the Tigers play host to their own SCAC Divisional slate October 21-23, featuring rematches with all of this coming weekend's opponents, followed by a standalone matchup with Colorado College on Sunday.