Sophomore outside hitter Layne Hubbard spikes the ball during a volleyball game against Centenary College during the SCAC Divisional tournament on Oct. 21. Photo by Sarah Cooper.

Last Sunday, the women’s volleyball team came in second at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships and secured a bid to nationals in Virginia this weekend.

On Friday night, the Tigers beat long-time rival Southwestern University 3-0, earning a spot in the championship game.

“We probably played the best we’ve ever played,” said sophomore outside hitter Layne Hubbard. “We just meshed really well as a team and everything is finally coming together exactly how we want it to.”

Junior setter Maryn Swierc contributed with 29 assists, 13 digs, four service aces and a .330 hitting percentage, while Hubbard had 13 kills and 11 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Erin Cusenbary led with six kills and a .462 hitting percentage, while junior middle blocker Kelsey Daniel had a team-best six blocks. Junior defensive specialist Leslie Green had 12 digs, sophomore defensive specialist Mia Mineghino had 10 digs and sophomore outside hitter Maggie Emodi had eight kills and three digs.

“We really put it to Southwestern,” said head coach Julie Jenkins. “We hit .300 as a team, which is really impressive, and we did everything that we’ve been working on. We were low error throughout the entire match but still super aggressive.”

Trinity finished their tournament run with a 3-0 loss to Colorado College in the championship game on Saturday evening. Despite the loss, the Tigers put up a tough fight, losing only 25-23 in the first match, 25-20 in the second match and 26-24 in the final match.

“It was an extremely close match, and it could have gone either way,” Jenkins said. “I thought our effort couldn’t have been any better. They never gave up and showed a lot of effort and a lot of fight.”

Cusenbary contributed with five blocks, eight kills and a .375 hitting percentage, while Swierc led with 32 assists and 15 digs.  Daniel recorded 12 kills and a .476 hitting percentage, and Hubbard had nine digs and seven kills. Senior defensive specialist Meredith Erwin had 12 digs, while Green had 10 and Mineghino had 8.

“It was a really rough game, but we started out really strong, and I think we played really well all three sets,” Hubbard said.

Daniel and Cusenbary were named to the All-Tournament team. For the season, Erwin was given First Team All-SCAC honors and was named the SCAC Backrow Player of the Year, while Hubbard also earned First Team All-SCAC honors. Coach Jenkins earned her 10th SCAC Coach of the Year, becoming just the fourth coach in SCAC history to win the Coach of the Year award 10 or more times in a given sport.

Now ranked No. 4 in the south, on Friday night Trinity heads next to Newport News, Va., where they will play Juniata College out of Pennsylvania.

“We’re going to come out and work harder than we ever have because this is going to be a whole new level of competition,” Cusenbary said. “We want this so badly and don’t want the season to be over.”