Chicago, Illinois - The 12th-ranked Trinity volleyball team was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship by Aurora (IL) University on Friday.
Aurora prevailed 25-23, 25-19, 25-17 in the match, which was hosted by the University of Chicago (IL).
The teams battled back and forth in the opening set of the NCAA Tournament for both teams, but Aurora pulled in front 10-7 by scoring five of six points. Aurora was still up by three points (17-14) when the Tigers scored five unanswered to take a 19-17 advantage late in the set. The Spartans later scored five straight of their own to reclaim control 23-21, but Trinity came back once again to tie things up 23-23. Aurora was able to finish off the win with two straight points to take the 1-0 match lead.
The second set was similar to the first and neither team led by more than four points in the early going. Aurora put together 7-1 run to take a 21-16 lead. Trinity scored the next two to make it a three-point deficit, but the Spartans were able to hang on for the win and a 2-0 lead.
Aurora took the early 7-3 lead in what would prove to be the final set. The four-point lead remained at 13-9 when the Spartans scored six of the next eight points to put the game out of reach for the Tigers. Trinity got no closer than a six-point deficit the rest of the way and Aurora pulled off the victory.
Trinity completed the season with a 25-7 record, while Aurora now stands at 24-8. The Tigers defeated the Spartans 3-1 earlier this season at the Trinity National Invitational.
This year's tournament marked the 24th occasion the Tigers competed in the NCAA postseason event.
Katrina Lieberman had a double-double of 28 assists and 10 digs against the Spartans. The Tiger junior setter completed the campaign with 1,245 assists, and stands in 11th place in Trinity's single-season record books.
Madeline McKay fired in 12 kills and hit .310 in the process. The senior outside hitter completed her career with 1,243 kills, and is ranked 10th in Trinity history.
Sarah Mullens accounted for eight digs in the matchup. The senior defensive specialist earlier became Trinity's all-time leader in digs, and finished her career with 2,015 in her column.
Maggi Linker produced eight kills and posted a .467 hitting percentage, while recording two service aces, five digs, and three blocked shots.