Shreveport, Louisiana - The 10th-ranked Trinity volleyball team won its opening-day matches at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Cross Divisional on Saturday, beating Austin (TX) College 3-1 and the host Centenary (LA) College 3-0.
After falling short in the opening set 19-25 against Austin College, the Tigers won three straight sets 25-12, 25-20, 25-8.
Trinity won the first four points of the opening set, then Austin College obliged by taking the next four. The set was tightly played and Trinity took a 16-14 lead, but a 6-0 run then gave the 'Roos a 20-16 advantage. Trinity pulled to 19-21, but Austin College swept the next four points to claim the first set.
The Tigers started the second set with a deficit and then tied the score at 7-7. Winning nine of the next 10 points Trinity held a 16-8 lead. The Kangaroos came within seven at 11-18, but the Tigers allowed only one point to be scored the rest of the way. Trinity posted a .357 hitting percentage in the second stanza.
Austin College tied the third set at 12-12, but the Tigers broke the deadlock and never yielded the lead. The set would be tied one more time, at 19-19, but Trinity won four consecutive points to lead 23-19 and take control of the game.
Trinity hit .300 in the fourth and final set, as the Tigers jumped out to a 9-1 lead. Austin College rattled off three straight to close the gap, but a 9-0 answer gave the Tigers a commanding 18-4 lead in the set and Austin never recovered.
The Tigers blanked Centenary 25-17, 25-11, 25-15 in the second match of the afternoon.
Centenary tied the first set at 12-12, when the Tigers won the next four points to take the lead for good. Trinity allowed the host Ladies to score only five more points in the set.
Trinity hit .444 in the second set, although the Tigers had to come back from an early 2-5 deficit. The Ladies led 8-7 when the Tigers won six straight points to lead 13-8. Centenary's final point would come on an 11-19 count, when Trinity won the next six points and the second set.
The Ladies kept battling and tied the score at 11-11 in the third. Always pressing, Centenary came within two (13-15) when the Tigers took eight in a row and a commanding lead in the final set.
Trinity won its fourth straight match and now stands at 23-5 overall and 13-1 in SCAC competition. Austin College dropped to 14-15 and 5-8 SCAC, while Centenary has a 14-16 overall mark and a 5-7 conference record.
Sarah Mullens posted 38 digs in the two matches, including 22 against Austin College. Mullens now has the honor of being Trinity's all-time career leader in digs, with 1,958 in her column. She surpassed Meredith Erwin (2009-2012) as the all-time leader.
Mullens also had eight service aces on the day, increasing her career total to 233, good for third place in Trinity's record books.
Katrina Lieberman recorded a double-double of 33 assists and 11 digs against Centenary. Adding her 40 assists in the match with Austin College, Lieberman has produced 1,084 this season.
Avery Tuggle posted a double-double against Austin College with 11 kills and 15 digs. Tuggle made 19 kills, 27 digs, and eight blocks in the two matches, including five against Austin College.
Madeline McKay was tops in kills with 14 in the Austin College match and hit .393 in the process.
The Tigers conclude their regular-season schedule by playing Southwestern (TX) University at noon Sunday. The Pirates received votes in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division III Poll.