Thousand Oaks, California - The 10th-ranked Tiger volleyball defeated Pomona-Pitzer (CA) Colleges and ninth-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CA) Colleges Friday at the Cal Lu Fornia Invitational.
Trinity swept Pomona 25-15, 25-18, and 25-12 in the team's opening match of the two-day event, then rallied to knock off Claremont 13-25, 25-23, 28-26, 28-26. The tournament is being held at California Lutheran University.
The Tigers trailed 3-1 early in the first set against Pomona, but two straight points tied things up 3-3, and Trinity never trailed again the rest of the match. The team scored seven unanswered points to take control of set one, then powered its way to a 6-1 start in the second. The third was closer at the start, but Trinity finished off the sweep to ensure a strong start at the tournament.
Against Claremont, the Tigers fell behind early in the first set and never recovered in what would be a lopsided loss. The teams were neck-and-neck early in the second set, and despite Claremont pulling ahead 10-5, Trinity would not be denied. After scoring five straight points late in the set to take a 23-19 lead, the Tigers were able to finish off the win and tie the match up at one game each.
Neither team led by more than three points in the third set - until Claremont took a 20-16 advantage that looked to put them in the driver's seat. The Athenas stayed hot late in the set, and with a 24-19 advantage they needed just one point to take the overall lead. Instead, Trinity scored six straight points to go up 25-24, and eventually won 28-26 to grab a 2-1 lead.
Both teams went back and forth in the fourth set, but neither team ever really pulled far enough away to put the other team out of the match. Trinity had match point at 24-23 and at 26-25, but Claremont tied things up each time. The Tigers finished things off with two straight points to break up a 26-all tie, completing the match-up between the two top-10 teams.
Trinity is on a four-match winning streak and stands at 5-1 on the season.
Kirby Smith led the Tigers with seven kills and nine digs against Pomona, then added nine more kills in the Claremont match. She is now 14th on Trinity's career kills list with 1,089 to her credit.
Rebecca Hayes racked up seven blocks in the two matches, and now needs just four more to reach 300 in her career. She is looking to become the 13th Tiger player to reach the milestone.
Sarah Mullens recorded nine digs in the match against Pomona, reaching 1,000 for her career. She added 18 more digs in the win over Claremont, and now needs 35 more to break into the top 25 in school history.
Maggi Linker finished with a team-best four blocks against Pomona and then added three more in the win over Claremont.
Avery Tuggle paced the Tigers in the Claremont match with 16 kills.
Madeline McKay produced nine kills against Claremont, as well as posting a .421 hitting percentage after committing just one error in 19 attacks.
The Tigers conclude the tournament Saturday with two matches, starting at 4:00 p.m. PDT against Whittier (CA) College. Then, at 6:00 p.m. PDT, Trinity will have a rematch with the 11th-ranked host California Lutheran. The Tigers beat the Regals 3-2 at last weekend's Trinity National Invitational.