No. 4 Tiger Volleyball Clinches SCAC Regular Season Title With SCAC Saturday Wins
SEGUIN, Texas – The fourth-ranked Tiger volleyball team clinched the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship and the conference tournament top seed with victories over the University of St. Thomas and Southwestern University on Saturday afternoon.
Trinity improved to 24-3 overall and 15-0 in SCAC play this season with the two wins, which began with a 3-1 victory over St. Thomas. The Tigers then had to hold on for a 3-2 win in the Saturday finale as Southwestern's rally from an 0-2 deficit fell short.
Marisa Amarino (Calabasas, Calif. / Notre Dame Prep) led the team in assists in both matches, posting 22 against the Celts earlier today, then wrapping up her evening with a career-high 31 assists in the win over the Pirates. Sara Flynn (Seattle, Wash. / Roosevelt) also had an outstanding day with 13 kills in the first match, followed by a career-high 22 kills in the finale.
Trinity will finish off the regular season schedule with one final match on Sunday afternoon, taking on this weekend's tournament hosts in Texas Lutheran University.
The Rundown: Trinity 3, St. Thomas 1
The Tigers were down 3-4 early in the opening set when a 14-1 run put Trinity in command with a 12-point lead, forcing St. Thomas to burn both of their timeouts. The teams basically traded points the rest of the set and the Trinity lead never dipped below double figures in the 25-12 win.
The second set was all St. Thomas in the early going as the Celts scored seven of the first eight points and built a 14-2 lead. St. Thomas kept up the pressure and pushed it to a 20-5 advantage before the Tigers finally came to life. Trinity began a 15-2 run with five straight points and eventually dropped the lead to just 22-15 late in the set. St. Thomas was able to hang on for the win in the end, though, making it a 1-1 match.
The third set was a game of runs, beginning with Trinity using four straight points to take a 6-2 lead early on. St. Thomas then scored nine of the next 10 to take a four-point lead of its own at 11-7. After six unanswered points by Trinity, the Tigers never trailed again. That 6-0 spurt began a 12-1 stretch that put Trinity in front 19-13. The Celts scored a couple of points to break up the momentum, but Trinity grabbed it right back and scored six of the last seven to take the 2-1 lead in the match.
The two teams were neck and neck after 20 points to start set four, but seven consecutive Tiger points began a 12-1 run that put the game out of reach at 22-11. Trinity finished off the match with two kills from Emily Ellis (Georgetown, Texas / Georgetown).
The Rundown: Trinity 3, Southwestern 2
Trinity took the early advantage against Southwestern with four straight points to start off the opening set, and the Tigers never trailed the rest of the way. The Pirates eventually crawl back to tie things up 12-12, but Trinity promptly scored the next four points to reclaim the advantage. A resilient Southwestern squad dropped the lead to one late in the set at 18-17, but the Tigers were up to the task with a 4-1 scoring run that pushed the lead back to four. Trinity scored the final two off of Southwestern errors and took a 1-0 match lead.
Southwestern took its first lead of the match early in the second set, scoring three straight points to take a 6-5 lead. Just a couple of points later, Trinity turned a 7-7 tie into a 14-9 lead and never looked back. The Pirates never got closer than three points the rest of the way and after a 25-19 Trinity win, the Tigers were on the verge of a sweep.
In the third set, Southwestern turned an early 6-6 tie into a 13-7 advantage that held the rest of the way. Trinity got within three points on two different occasions – the last coming at 12-15 – but Southwestern scored six of the next seven to fuel a 25-16 victory to avoid the sweep.
After its first set win of the match, the Pirates carried that momentum into a 5-0 lead in the fourth. Trinity was able to tie things up 8-8 and neither team led by more than a point until the Tigers scored three in a row to pull in front 17-14. Southwestern then used its own run to pull back in front 19-18, and then scored four straight to take control of the set. Trinity cut the lead to 22-23 with three straight points, then tied things up 24-24 before back-to-back kills by the Pirates sent the match to a fifth set.
Southwestern took the first two points of the fifth set, but Trinity was in command after that with six unanswered points. The Tigers were still in front 11-6 and on the verge of the victory when the Pirates made one final push to tie things up 12-12. Maddie Fate (New York, N.Y. / Croton Harmon) broke up the run and put Trinity back in the lead with a kill to make it 13-12. Flynn came in with her final kill of the match right after to set up match point. After a Southwestern timeout, Fate and Flynn combined once more to finish things off with a combo block that clinched the Tiger win.
Numbers to Note
Flynn's 22 kills are the most by a Tiger player since Madeline McKay notched 23 kills against Aurora University in September of 2018.
Reagan Whatley (The Woodlands, Texas / The Woodlands) led the St. Thomas match with three aces, adding 11 digs and six kills. Fate collected three blocks to go with five digs and six kills in the match, while Jozie Dhayer (Houston, Texas / Summer Creek) had 11 assists and five digs.
Flynn led three players in double-digit kills against Southwestern, as Ellis added 13 kills, and Fate finished with 10. Ellis and Flynn also hit over .400 in the contest, while Fate paced the defense with five blocks.
Dhayer added 20 assists to her day's total as backup to Amarino's career-best total. Dhayer also had a double-double with 10 digs, while Jenna Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas / Antonian) led the team in digs for the second straight match. Rodriguez finished with 12 against St. Thomas and 22 more against Southwestern. Nadia Kern (El Paso, Texas / Montwood) added 16 digs in the match with Southwestern, while Whatley had 11 digs and nine kills.
Trinity will meet Texas Lutheran on Sunday, October 30, at 12:15 p.m. in the 202 regular season finale. The Tigers swept the Bulldogs 3-0 in Colorado Springs, Colorado earlier this season.