Volleyball off to a rough beginning for the season

The women’s volleyball team opened their season this past weekend in Springfield, Ohio, going 0-3 at the Courtyard by Marriott National Invitation.

“Ohio was a learning experience for us,” said sophomore outside hitter Layne Hubbard. “We gelled as a team really well and had some of the best passing and defense statistics the Trinity volleyball program has ever seen. Although we didn’t come out with wins, we still played with lots of heart and the winning is soon to come if we keep playing this consistently.”

The Tigers lost the first game 3-2 to Whitworth University.

“Our first match against Whitworth could have gone either way,” said head coach Julie Jenkins. “We were up two games to one, but we lost the fourth game and the fifth game. It was a heartbreak because I thought our team really came out and played with a lot of passion.”

Sophomore setter Jenny Epperson had 44 assists and 21 digs, while sophomore middle blocker Erin Cusenbary had three blocks and 10 kills and senior libero Meredith Erwin had 23 digs.

Hubbard contributed with 16 kills and 15 digs and sophomore outside hitter Maggie Emodi recorded 16 kills and 13 digs.

“Our energy as a team was what gave us that edge,” Cusenbary said. “I’ve never seen the people on the bench or on the court have as much energy as we had. We gave everything we had to that game, which I think is what put us close to winning.”

The Tigers lost their second game on Saturday 3-0 to Wartburg College.

Hubbard led with 16 digs and added eight kills, while Cusenbary contributed with 10 kills and a .412 hitting percentage. Epperson scored a team-high 29 assists and Erwin recorded 15 digs and one of three service aces.

“I think our digs were really good in that game,” Cusenbary said. “We picked up a lot of their hits and their swings, so we did really well in that aspect.”

Trinity lost the final match of the day 3-1 to Wittenberg University, the NCAA Division III defending national champions.  Still, Trinity was the only team in the tournament to take a win off Wittenberg.

Cusenbary recorded four kills and a team best wtih three blocks, while Emodi led with 11 kills and five digs and Epperson recorded 27 assists. Erwin contributed 21 digs and Hubbard contributed 18 digs. Both Erwin and Hubbard made the all-tournament team.

“I thought we did get better as the weekend went on,” Jenkins said. “I definitely think we have the potential to be very good and I think that we will only get better.”

Trinity will compete against 23-ranked Occidental College, Claremont College, La Verne, and 6-ranked Cal Lutheran at the Cal Lu Fornia Invitational next weekend.

“We are working on creating a faster tempo offense and running more cross plays in the front row,” Hubbard said. “We are running some really creative plays, and they will be awesome to watch when put into action.”