Trinity Advances to Championship Match
The second day of competition at the NCCAA National Championship in Kissimmee, Florida started with a disappointing loss to Colorado Christian University (Lakewood, Colorado) in the final match of pool play, but it ended in an exciting five set win over Oklahoma Baptist University (Shawnee, Oklahoma) in a semifinal match. With the semifinal win the Trolls advance to the championship match and will play for the national title against Campbellsville University (Campbellsville, Kentucky) at 1 pm EST on December 3.
In the pool play match against No. 1 Colorado Christian, the Trolls let the first set get away for the 25-23 loss then dropped the second set at 25-14. The team rallied to keep the match alive with a 25-21 win in the third set, but lost the match with a 25-16 loss in set four.
The team came out strong and took the lead in the first set and built as 21-13 lead. Colorado Christian rallied back to score the next four points to make it 21-17. Trinity picked up two more points, but could not finish as the Cougars went on an 8-to-0 run behind six kills and an ace serve to hand the Trolls the 25-23 loss.
The second set belonged to Colorado Christian as they took a 17-12 lead and stretched it to a 23-12 gap. The Trolls picked up two more points before the ending score of 25-14.
The Trolls recovered in the third match and started to find their rhythm again. They took the top spot at 12-10 and held unto it. Trinity had a 22-18 lead when Colorado Christian threatened with the next two points. The Trolls answered with two of their own for the 24-20 lead and, after giving up one point, they scored the set winner on a kill by Christa Veenstra.
In the fourth set the Trolls trailed 10-8 early on and fell to a 14-8 deficit. After pulling to within four, they started to lose ground and were down by eight at 22-14. After gaining two points, they gave up the final three for the loss.
For the match the team had 45 kills while Colorado Christian had 57. Trinity had 65 digs and eight blocks. Kacie Stoll led the team with 13 kills while Rachel Verhage had 11 kills as well as 13 digs. Michelle Busscher led the digs with 33. Tori Mantel had 39 assists, three aces, and three blocks.
With a 2-1 pool play record, Trinity advanced to the semifinal round where they faced Oklahoma Baptist, the top team from the other pool. The match was intense as the Trolls took the first two sets, but lost the next two to force the final set. Each set was decided by no more than four points.
The Trolls had a slow start and fell behind at 10-3. As the set went on they slowly gained ground and on a block by Stoll and Veenstra tied the score at 22-22. Trinity scored the next two points to take the lead and finished out with the 25-23 win.
The second set was much closer throughout with the Trolls maintaining a slight edge. The Bison tied the set at 23-23 and again at 24-24. A kill by Mantel put the team at set point and a block by Veenstra and Mantel gave the team the 26-24 win and the two set advantage.
The third set was close until Oklahoma Baptist opened up the score with a 22-16 lead. The Trolls narrowed the gap to 22-20 and were again only down by two at 23-21 before Oklahoma Baptist finished with two kills.
Each team had a share of the lead in the fourth set and late in the set the score was tied at 22-22. Oklahoma Baptist finished strong with two kills and a block to take the 25-22 win and tie the match.
In the deciding set the score was tied 8-8 at the midway point. The next two points went to the Trolls to give them a lead that they did not relinquish. They stretched a 10-9 lead to a 14-9 gap and, after giving up two points, took the win on a Bison serving error.
For the match the team had 59 kills with a .211 attacking percentage and Oklahoma Baptist had 74 kills and a .219 attacking percentage. Stoll led the team with 21 kills and added six blocks. Verhage had 14 kills and Tina Massey had 10. Oeverman registered five kills which put her over the 1000 career kill milestone. Veenstra had a total of seven blocks. Defensively Busscher had 26 digs, Verhage had 16, and Mantel had 15 to go with her 51 assists.