(Story courtesy of Trinity University Athletics)
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Seventh-ranked Trinity swept Juniata (Pa.) College to advance to its first region final since 2014 Saturday afternoon on the campus of Christopher Newport.
The Tigers won 27-25, 25-21, and 25-14 to defeat the Eagles in the second round of the NCAA Playoffs.
The first set was a game of big runs by both teams, starting with a 9-2 spurt to begin the match for Trinity. Juniata battled back and took a brief 18-17 lead with six unanswered points in the latter part of the set, then began to pull away with a 22-19 lead. Trinity rallied with four straight points to go up 23-22, but the Eagles scored twice to get to set point. The Tigers scored four of the final five points to pull out the win and take a 1-0 lead.
The second set was closer throughout, though Trinity broke a 14-14 tie by scoring six of the next seven points to take control. Juniata got the lead down to three at 22-19, but could get no closer as the Tigers took a 2-0 match lead.
Trinity never trailed in the final set, scoring four consecutive points to take a 14-7 lead. Juniata kept things relatively close after that, but the Tigers scored the final six points to finish off the sweep.
Trinity improves to 35-4 with the win, which is tied for the fifth-highest win total in school history for a single season.
The Tigers also won their 21st consecutive match and reached the Regional Final for the first time since 2014.
Emily Ellis was the only Trinity player to reach double figures with 10 kills, and she also tied for the team lead with four blocks. Avery Tuggle paced Trinity with 12 digs, followed closely by Annie Rose Leggett's 10 digs. The Tiger duo also combined for 10 kills in the match.
Emma Funk tied Ellis for the team lead with four blocks, while Sami Lin contributed nine digs to the winning cause. Lexie Acevedo and Marisa Amarino both finished with six digs and combined for 31 total assists. Acevedo led the team with 17 of the 31 assists in the match.
Maggie Linker chipped in with seven kills and three blocks, as well as joining Ellis and Funk as the only Trinity players to hit .500 or better in the match.
The Tigers will face off against Marymount (VA) University in the Newport News Regional Final on Sunday, November 17, at 12:00 p.m. (CT).