Richardson, Texas - The seventh-ranked Trinity volleyball team suffered a pair of losses on the opening day of the UT-Dallas Invitational on Friday afternoon.
Trinity lost 3-1 (24-26, 25-19, 23-25, 21-25) against hosting University of Texas-Dallas, then fell short in a 3-2 (25-16, 22-25, 20-25, 25-20, 12-15) match against #23 Pacific Lutheran (WA) University.
Both teams went back and forth in the first set of the match, but Trinity broke open a 14-13 lead against UT-Dallas by taking five of the next six points to pull in front 19-14. The Tigers still led by five (21-16) a few points later, but the Comets scored five straight to tie the set 21-21. After Trinity went up 23-21, UT-Dallas scored three in a row to take the lead and eventually escaped with the win.
In set two, the teams were once again even at 10-10, but this time Trinity rattled off a 9-2 scoring run that put them in control. UTD tried to rally with four straight points to cut the lead back to three, but the Tigers were too much down the stretch and the match was tied 1-1.
The home team never trailed in the third set, though Trinity did claw back from a late five-point deficit to tie things up at 23-23, but the Comets scored the next two points and took the 2-1 advantage. The Tigers led 18-14 late in the fourth, but five unanswered points by UTD brought them in front, and then the tournament host finished with a flurry of six consecutive points to take the victory.
Against Pacific Lutheran, Trinity jumped out to a 7-2 lead and never looked back. The Lutes never got closer than a four-point deficit the rest of the way and the Tigers cruised to a 1-0 lead.
The second set started with PLU getting the early advantage by winning seven of the first eight points, but a 10-3 run put Trinity in front. That lead was short-lived as Pacific Lutheran won nine of the next 12 points to take back the momentum. Five unanswered points brought the Tigers within one at 23-22, but PLU finished things off with the next two points to tie the match.
Pacific Lutheran led the entire third set to take the 2-1 match lead, holding off a late Tiger rally to grab the momentum. In the fourth, it was Trinity that never trailed, leading by as many as eight (20-12) late in the set.
The Tigers were able to use that victory to propel them to a 5-0 lead in the fifth set, but PLU rallied back to within one (6-7) just a few points later. Trinity still led 12-11 towards the end, but Pacific Lutheran scored the final four points of the match to claim the overall win.
Trinity fell to 4-2 with the two losses, while UT-Dallas improved to 3-2 and Pacific Lutheran now stands 5-1 on the year.
Against UTD, Emily Ellis was on fire with a team-high 13 kills and a match-best .571 hitting percentage. She wrapped up the day by tying her career-high with 16 kills and hit .387 against the Lutes.
Emma Funk recorded match-highs with eight blocks in the first contest and six more in the second. Sara Flynn had seven blocks against UTD, while Ellis added five. Funk also tallied 13 kills in the two matches, hitting better than .350 in both.
Lexie Acevedo led the Tigers with 20 assists in the match against UT-Dallas, while Katrina Lieberman added 16 more to the team total. Both setters finished with double-doubles, as Acevedo finished with 19 digs and Lieberman had 14. Lieberman led the way in the second match with 36 assists and 10 digs for another double-double, while Acevedo contributed 13 more assists.
Annie Rose Leggett tied her career-high with 21 digs to lead Trinity in the first match of the day, marking just her second career 20-dig match. She tied her career-high with 13 kills in the matchup with PLU, as well as recording 11 more digs.
Avery Tuggle finished with four service aces, seven digs, and seven kills in the first match, then followed with a team-best 17 kills and 14 digs for a double-double.
Sami Lin led the team in digs in both matches, notching a career-high with 21 digs in the opener and added 20 more digs in today's finale.
Trinity concludes the tournament on Saturday, facing off against Pomona-Pitzer (CA) Colleges at 10:00 a.m. and Aurora (IL) University at 3:00 p.m.