Trinity Volleyball 2011 Preview
The Trinity Tigers volleyball team will start the 2011 campaign ranked 29th in the NCAA Division III poll.
One reason the American Volleyball Coaches Association could be impressed is because the Tigers have nine returnees, which includes four starters, and seven of the most talented group of newcomers to join the Trinity ranks.
“I think our team will have a lot more carry-over and consistency,” said Julie Jenkins, in her 27th year at the Tigers helm. “It will be a very balanced team. It’s not going to be one or two big guns doing all the scoring for us. We will have really great athleticism, and we’ll be an exciting team to watch. There will also be a lot of new faces on the team.”
The 2011 season opens Sept. 1 at Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas. The Trinity Fall Classic is slated for Sept. 2-3, and includes ninth-ranked Wisconsin-Platteville.
Trinity will play its usual strong schedule, which includes nine matches against top-25 teams.
The Tigers graduated three seniors, including setter Cati Troyer, who earned All-America Honorable Mention and All-Region honors.
Trinity, which hosted the 2010 SCAC Tournament, finished in fourth place in the conference (11-4 record), and chalked up a 22-16 season record.
Junior outside hitter Madison McMahon (Austin, Texas/St. Michael’s Academy) was elected to the AVCA All-South Region Honorable Mention Team. McMahon, who also made the All-SCAC Team, led the Tigers in kills, with 448 (an average of 3.45 per set), while chalking up 319 digs (2.45 per set).
Senior middle blocker Maddy Hazelwood (Beach City, Texas/Barbers Hill) led in blocked shots, with 146 (1.08 per game). Hazelwood was second in kills, with 252 (1.87 per set).
Junior defensive specialist Meredith Erwin (Oakton, Va./The Madeira School) was the leader in digs, with 496 (3.40 per set). Erwin also fired in 52 service aces.
Senior right-side player Catharine Found (Iowa City, Iowa/Iowa City West) accounted for 202 kills (1.98 per set) and 78 blocks (.76 per set).
A returning senior is middle blocker Desie Baker (Bulverde, Texas/Smithson Valley), who put up 237 kills (1.87 per set) and blocked 82 shots (.65 per set).
The four returning sophomores have a year of solid experience under their belts.
Outside hitter Sara Robertson (Fredericksburg, Texas/Fredericksburg) sent out 184 kills (1.75 per set). Defensive specialist Maryn Swierc (Bulverde, Texas/Bracken Christian) made 288 digs (2.34 per set), 27 service aces, 61 kills, and 67 assists. Middle blocker Kelsey Daniel (Spring Branch, Texas/Bracken Christian) made 74 kills (1.48 per set) during the season. Defensive specialist Leslie Green (Austin, Texas/McCallum) had 35 digs, an average of 1.35 per set.
The Tigers made 1,744 kills (11.25 per set), 2,401 digs (15.49 per set), 286.5 blocks (1.85 per set), and 1,599 assists (10.32 per set). Troyer single-handedly accounted for 1,408 assists (9.58 per set), and was ranked fifth in career assists (3,554).
Now, to the new Tigers ready to create their own history.
Setter/right-side player Bridget Bohman (Scottsdale, Ariz./Xavier Prep) earned Arizona Coaches Association All-America First Team honors in 2010. She was a key member of a team which captured four Arizona 5A-1 state championships. Middle blocker Erin Cusenbary (San Antonio/St. Mary’s Hall) was named to the San Antonio Express-News All-Area team for the past two years, in addition to receiving Southwest Preparatory Conference All-South Zone and All-Conference accolades for three years.
Middle blocker/outside hitter Maggie Emodi (Omaha, Neb./Marian) was elected to the 2010 all-state team, and to the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Team. The 2009 Marian team won the Nebraska Class A state title, and was runner-up in 2010. Setter Jenny Epperson (Baytown, Texas/Lee) was elected all-district in both Class 4A and 5A. Middle blocker Taylor Michel (Colorado Springs, Colo./Cheyenne Mountain) played for a three-time Class 4A state champion squad, and was named to the academic all-state first team.
Libero/defensive specialist Mia Mineghino (Lake Forest, Calif./El Torro) earned all-county honors for the past two seasons. Right-side player Jess Van Zijll (Tucson, Ariz./Green Fields Country Day) was named the 2010 Class A Player of the Year, and made the all-state team for the second consecutive year.
Second-year assistant Coach Alex Allard shares Coach Jenkins’ optimism for a successful season.
“Every player showed up in great shape, and with a lot of focus,” Coach Allard said. “There is a lot of talent in our first-year class, which is a great addition to the poise and experience of our returners.”
Following the opening tournaments, the Trinity University Invitational will be held Sept. 16-17. In the mix are 10th-ranked St. Thomas (Minn.) and No. 11 Carthage.
The SCAC West-East Tournament will be played during the University’s Alumni Weekend, Oct. 8-9. SCAC rivals Birmingham-Southern, Centre, Sewanee: The University of the South, and Oglethorpe will be the Tigers opponents.
Trinity finishes out the regular-season home schedule by hosting Schreiner on Oct. 26.
Conference play will be formidable, as defending champion Colorado College is ranked 13th nationally, and Southwestern is No. 17.
The SCAC Championship Tournament will be hosted by Millsaps in Jackson, Miss., on Nov. 4-5. The tournament winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs.