Trolls Tame Wolves

The conference schedule started with a victory for the Trolls in a match with Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Trinity defeated the Wolves, the defending conference champions and a team currently receiving votes in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll, in three sets with scores of 25-21, 25-21, and 26-24. The win ends an eight match losing streak to Cardinal Stritch and gives the Trolls a 2-0 start to their season.

Each set was tight with only a handful of points separating the teams at any time. In the first set the Trolls held the lead throughout play. Ahead at 15-11, Trinity scored the next two points to take the largest lead of the set at 17-11. Cardinal Stritch narrowed the gap to two points, but the Trolls never gave up the lead.  With a 24-21 edge, Trinity ended the set on a kill by Jonathan Poortinga.

In the second set it was the Wolves who had the slight advantage through most of the set. Trinity continued to threaten and was within two points at 19-20. The Trolls scored the last six points to grab the win. The six point run included kills by Ben Tocila and Dan Ryan, a service ace by Danny Lawrence, and a final point block by Poortinga and Djordje Novakovic.

The biggest advantage by either team in the first part of the third set was a two point difference. The Wolves took over the lead at 9-8 and held it until 16-15. Trinity scored the next four points to go ahead and never gave the lead back. Stritch tied the score at 22-22, 23-23, and 24-24, but the Trolls finished with two kills by Jake Ostema for the win.

The Trolls ended the match with 41 kills with a .178 attacking percentage. Cardinal Stritch had 26 kills and a .109 percentage. Both teams recorded five blocks while Trinity had 43 digs and the Wolves had 35. Ostema led the team with 14 kills and a .600 attacking percentage. Dan Ryan had nine kills and Novakovic had eights. Poortinga finished with five blocks. Novakovic led the dig category with 13 and Adam Becker had 10.

The Trolls are host to the NCCAA National Invitational on January 25-26.