San Antonio - The 14th-ranked Tiger volleyball team split its season-opening matches at the Trinity University National Invitational on Friday, defeating Whitman (WA) College, and falling to top-ranked and NCAA Division III champion Calvin (MI) College.
The Tigers opened their campaign with a 25-15, 25-23, 25-15 victory over Whitman, then suffered a hard-fought 22-25, 21-25, 21-25 defeat at the hands of top-ranked defending champion Calvin (MI) College.
Trinity had a fast start to its season with an 18-8 lead over Whitman to propel the Tigers to the first-set win. The Blues hung tough in the second set, and looked ready to take the win after pulling in front 23-22. Three straight Tiger points ended that chance, though, and Trinity led 2-0. The final set saw Trinity hit .400, scoring the final six consecutive points to earn the win.
After a back-and-forth battle with Calvin early in set one, the Knights eased ahead for a 21-13 advantage. Trinity closed to 20-22 and 21-23, but the defending champions held on for the narrow victory. The second and third sets were similar to the first, as Calvin built a lead, the Tigers closed at the end, but the visitors pulled off the win in each to earn the sweep.
Annie Rose Leggett made her collegiate debut with a double-double against Whitman, posting 10 kills and 10 digs, along with hitting .500, and firing in three aces.
Sarah Mullens accounted for 13 digs in the opener, and racked up four aces against Calvin. Mullens also was responsible for 10 digs in the second matchup.
Katrina Lieberman chalked up 31 assists in the first match of the day, and was credited with 22 against the Calvin Knights. .
Kirby Smith led the opening match with 13 kills, and also had nine digs. Smith fired in 12 kills against Calvin, and posted a .321 hitting percentage.
Trinity concludes the National Invitational Saturday, starting with the 23rd-ranked University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh at 11:00 a.m. The Tigers then meet sixth-ranked California Lutheran University at 3:30 p.m.