San Antonio - The Tiger volleyball team split its matches at the opening of the Trinity University National Invitational in Sams Gym on Friday.
Trinity outfought Simpson (IA) College 3-2, but lost 3-1 to 19th-ranked University of Texas-Dallas. The Tigers now stand at 20-12 on the season.
After dropping two of the first three sets against Simpson, Trinity rallied with a convincing 25-12 win in the fourth, and then closed out the match with a 15-8 victory in the final frame. Rebecca Hayes posted a .444 hitting percentage to go with eight kills, as well as blocking six shots. Megan Reynolds hit .357 with seven kills.
"Our team found a way to win when we were not playing our best against a scrappy Simpson team," said Head Coach Julie Jenkins. "I was pleased that we were able to turn it around in games four and five. Having only three hitting errors in the last two games showed much better consistency."
Kirby Smith led the team with 11 kills, and chalked up a double-double with 15 digs. Kristina Hughes accounted for 10 kills, while Erika Edrington dished out 48 assists. Shannon Courtney was the digs leader with a total of 16, and Sarah Mullens also contributed 15. Sarah Price led the matchup by firing in three service aces.
After a short break, it was back to the court for Trinity, and the Tigers carried over the momentum into the contest with UT-Dallas, winning 25-20 to open the match. The Comets took control, though, winning the next three sets to head off the upset bid.
"UT-Dallas outplayed us on defense, and scored well out of the middle," admitted Coach Jenkins. "Our team is capable of much more, and we will take advantage of the two strong matches ahead of us tomorrow."
Edrington had a double-double, with 39 assists and a match-leading 18 digs. Smith hit .324, and paced the Tigers with 12 kills and three aces. Madeline McKay made 11 kills, and Courtney had 10 digs. Hayes again blocked six shots, equaling her previous mark against Simpson.
The Tigers wrap up their regular-season home schedule Saturday, by first taking on the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor at 12:30 p.m., and finishing with No. 18 University of La Verne at 5:30 p.m.