Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

No. 6 Volleyball Sweeps No. 18 MIT for Program’s Fourth NCAA III Semifinal

No. 6 Volleyball Sweeps No. 18 MIT for Program’s Fourth NCAA III Semifinal

PITTSBURGH – No. 6 Trinity University Volleyball swept No. 18 Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the first quarterfinal match of the 2022 NCAA III Women's Volleyball Championship Wednesday afternoon at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse on the campus of NCAA I Duquesne University.

The Tigers (29-4) collected leading performances from the two rookie starters in outside hitter Reagan Whatley (The Woodlands, Texas / The Woodlands) and libero Jenna Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas / Antonian) who posted team-highs with 10 kills and 16 digs, respectively.

Senior rightsides Sara Flynn (Seattle, Wash. / Roosevelt) and Sarah Williammee (Denver, Colo. / East) added nine and eight kills, respectively, in an aggressive outside-in attack plan.

With the pins in control of the offense, senior middle blockers Brette Thornton (Rockwall, Texas / Rockwall) and Emily Ellis (Georgetown, Texas / Georgetown) threw up the wall at the net defensively with four blocks each to the team's 10 in total. The rightsides both added a hand on the block as Williammee posted four, Flynn three.

Trinity advances to its second NCAA III semifinal match of the last three NCAA III postseason tournaments dating back to the 2019 campaign where the Tigers advanced past Calvin University (MI) before running into the eventual national champion that season in the following round.

The program's first NCAA III semifinal appearance came in 1999, the same season that concluded in the NCAA III title match, followed by the 2002 campaign prior to 2019 and now 2022.

Third-seeded No. 6 Trinity Volleyball will take on the winner of this afternoon's second quarterfinal matchup, between No. 8 New York University and No. 16 Transylvania University (KY).

The Rundown

The Tigers were doubled-up early to start the match at 6-3 MIT but a pair of kills and a block from Williammee kept the first set afloat, drawing back to a one-point deficit at 7-6. A 7-2 run from the Engineers immediately followed, answered only by two Whatley kills, leading to a Trinity timeout trailing 14-8.

A prompt Flynn kill brought the Tigers out of the first break, the Rodriguez took the serve on the side out for back-to-back aces, effectively resetting the tone in Cooper Fieldhouse near-instantly.

Kills from Whatley and senior defensive specialist Nadia Kern (El Paso, Texas / Montwood) pulled the margin to a deadlock at 18-18 and forced a MIT timeout. Out of the break, Whatley stood tall for a solo block to take Trinity's first lead of the match. The Tigers took the lead for good in the first at 23-22, thanks to a kill from Mackenzie Logan (Calgary, Alberta / Bishop Carroll).

After two kills in the opening set, Logan came back for three straight kills out to an early 7-4 advantage. While the Engineers were able to reach their way back into ties at nine, 10 and 11 points, the three swings from Logan took the lead for good in the second. Flynn and Whatley each added three kills as well in the second.

With two sets in hand, NCAA III's premier blocking team showed its prowess with six blocks in the third toward a dominating 25-15 final tally to complete the sweep. Thornton and Williammee posted the first block at 7-7 and had posted all of their three in the set within the next four points. Ellis and Flynn came back to the floor just two points before the final MIT timeout and proceed to log all three of their blocks after the stoppage at 18-13, leading to the 10-point margin in the match-clincher.

Up Next

No. 6 Trinity Volleyball will battle either the second-seed Violets or seventh-seed Pioneers in Thursday evening's first NCAA III semifinal matchup at 5:00 p.m. ET.

The 2022 NCAA III Women's Volleyball Championship concludes Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET.