Trinity Women’s Basketball Preview


left to right: Julia Ackerman, Jackie Layng, Rachel Chavez Photo credit: Matthew Claybrook

The Trinity women’s basketball team is just a few weeks away from the beginning of preseason play. In their first game on Nov. 12, the team will take on Concordia University (Texas) at home.

On this year’s roster, eight Tigers will return from last year’s lineup. Among these players are newly elected team captains senior Jackie Layng, junior Abby Holland and senior Rachel Chavez.

Head coach Cameron Hill explained that each captain contributed significantly to the team’s organization and overall drive.

“Jackie, Rachel and Abby all bring a true depth of understanding to what ‘Together Tigers’ means. I have really enjoyed watching them manage the role of captain. Their leadership has been and will continue to be a huge factor in our teams success,” Hill said.

Assistant coach Joe Shotland believes that the unique experiences each captain brings to the team allows them to lead others more effectively.

“In a team environment, you want mediators that can relate to their team members in different ways. Sometimes it’s by example, sometimes it’s with words and sometimes it’s a combination. Our three captains this season understand that. Obviously each one of them does this a little differently based on who they are as a player or person, but all three of them understand and embrace the responsibility of being on this team,” Shotland said.

Layng, a senior guard from Warwick, New York, explained that the Trinity team is more than ready for the season to start.

“We have been preparing for season since the end of our last game last season. All summer, the Together Tigers have worked to be ready for practices. Pre-season went really well. We had lifts and conditioning with Daniel, as well as team pick-ups. Everyone is locked in because our practices so far have been intense and competitive,” Layng said.

Although Layng will miss the presence of last year’s seniors, her outlook on the team’s current lineup is glowing.

“The first-years are awesome. It’s just the beginning of practice and they have adjusted so well. They are a very talented group, and it’s going to be awesome playing with them. They have already improved so much already,” Layng said.

Chavez, a senior point guard from El Paso echoed this opinion.

“We have a young team this year. This is the largest first-year class we’ve had, but I think the level that we compete with each other at practice is the best we’ve had yet. The new team members are great. They all bring such great energy in practice and are so eager to learn and compete,” Chavez said.

Pushing into the regular season, the Trinity team hopes to start their season with the same momentum they ended their last one with. Their current schedule features 28 games, with 13 of those being played at home in the Calgaard Gymnasium.

“The game schedule is mandated from a volume standpoint, so it’s not a heavy load. It is a tremendous opportunity for us to travel, play against great competition and represent our program and our university,” Hill said.

Specifically, the team will have the opportunity to travel up North to compete against other Division III teams.

“We travel to Seattle and Minnesota before SCAC starts, and we’ll be playing good teams. Those games should be super competitive, and we’re really looking to travel and take home wins,” Layng said.

Shotland notes that the team will continue to strive for greater success, regardless of where they stand in the rankings.

“You’re always trying to take the next step as a program. Sometimes coaches say you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse, but you’re never staying the same. I think that’s the idea of our program. Winning is fun and all, but we have to improve. Our goals are always shifting in an upward trajectory, so we’re trying to take that next step forward and maintain the level we’ve set for ourselves,” Shotland said.

Although a few things have changed since last year, the coaching efficiency, goals and work ethic of the women’s basketball team have not.

Looking back on her opportunity to play for Trinity, Layng hopes to end her Tiger basketball career with a strong finish.

“Coach Hill comes from a very distinguished background of basketball, and he is definitely the best coach around. Coach Shotland also has great knowledge of the game, so we are very lucky to have two coaches that know exactly what is going to work for us offensively and defensively. I wouldn’t want to end my college career anywhere else. Trinity has such an elite program from top down, and it’s just awesome to play this game in an environment that wins championships,” Layng said.

“We always strive for success. With a new year and a new team, we’re going to take it game by game and look forward to a great season,” Chavez said.