(Story courtesy of Trinity University Athletics)
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Trinity University's seventh-ranked volleyball team opened up the NCAA Playoffs with a 3-1 win over Hunter (NY) College on Friday afternoon on the campus of Christopher Newport.
The Tigers won 25-14 and 25-16 in the first two games, then dropped the third 23-25. Trinity finished off the match with an impressive 25-10 victory, and the Tigers hit .381 as a team for the entire match.
The Tigers will face off against Juniata (Pa.) College in the Second Round of the NCAA Playoffs on Saturday, beginning at 2:30 p.m. (ET).
Trinity never trailed in the opening set, though Hunter tied things up a couple of times early on. Clinging to a slim 12-9 lead, the Tigers used a 9-2 run to effectively finish things off with a 1-0 match lead.
The second set was much more back and forth early, but Trinity scored five of six points in one stretch to pull in front 15-10. Hunter eventually got the lead down to three, but the Tigers finished off the win with seven consecutive points for a 2-0 lead.
Hunter scored five of the first six points of the third set, but Trinity rallied to tie things up 10-10. After Hunter broke the tie, the Tigers scored four straight to take their biggest lead of the game. Hunter responded by scoring six of the next seven to go back in front. Trinity rallied to within one point at 22-21, then fought off two set points, but Hunter survived to make it a 2-1 match.
Trinity held an 8-6 lead early in the fourth set when the Tigers put together an 11-1 run that shut the door on any hopes of a comeback for Hunter. Trinity also scored five of the final six points to finish off the win.
The match marks the 20th consecutive win by Trinity, which improves its overall record to 34-4 this season. The win streak is the longest for the Tigers since a 26-match streak in 2007.
Trinity also snaps a four-match losing streak in the NCAA Playoffs, moving out of the 1st Round for the first time since 2014. The Tigers are 31-24 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
Avery Tuggle and Annie Rose Leggett both finished with double-doubles to lead Trinity to the victory. Leggett recorded a match-leading 23 digs to go with a match-best three service aces, topping 20 digs for the third time this season. She also had 14 kills and a .355 hitting percentage.
Tuggle tallied 18 kills to lead all players, as well as tying for the team lead with a pair of blocks. Tuggle also had 13 digs and a .452 hitting percentage in the win.
Emily Ellis was the only other player to reach double figures in kills, finishing with 10 kills, a .625 hitting percentage, and two blocks.
Lexie Acevedo led the Tigers with 27 assists, followed closely by 24 assists from Marisa Amarino. Both players also contributed seven digs each.
Sami Lin had 14 digs in the match, while Sarah Williammee finished with seven kills and a .462 hitting percentage.