Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of Southwestern (Texas) Athletics

Reminiscent of their two other match-ups this season, the Trinity Tigers and Southwestern Pirates faced off in the NCAA Regional Final on Saturday evening and a crowd of 400+ saw the finals match they were expecting. The breaks did not go SU’s way, however, as the Pirates fell 3-0 to end their historic season.

Trinity pulled ahead early, managing to hold on to a one point lead through the first 12 points of the set and after an SU hitting error and some Tiger blocks TU found themselves up 10-5 in the first game.

Uncharacteristic miscommunication and errors on the Pirate side of the net kept SU out of the set most of the way, falling behind by nine 17-8.

Southwestern attempted a comeback in the first set, pulling within six 22-16 after an extended rally, but the deficit proved insurmountable as the Pirates ran out of time and fell 19-25.

SU had a meager .000 hitting percentage in the match, recording 11 kills and 11 errors in 44 attempts while Trinity posted a .167 hitting percentage with 13 kills and 6 errors.

The Tigers started with an early lead once again in the second set, going up by two, but the Pirates scrapped their way back and recovered the lead at 7-6 on a kill by sophomore Jill Wigington.

Trinity was able to pull ahead by four, 11-15, but SU mounted another comeback and took advantage of Tiger errors to pull even at 15-15 in the middle of game two.

The Tigers were able to take a crucial three point lead late in the set, 23-20, and was the first to the finish line, 25-20, to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Southwestern had 12 kills and 8 errors for a .100 hitting percentage while the Tigers remained consistent with on .167 percentage on 11 kills and five errors.

Trinity got out to a sprint, capitalizing on three early hitting errors to go up 5-0 in set three. First year Rachel Thibodeau got SU on the board, hitting off the block, bringing the count to 5-1.

The lead continued to increase as Southwestern was unable to find a rhythm and fell behind 13-7 halfway through the third set.

Catching the breaks the Tigers extended their lead 16-9 and seemingly had the game and match in hand. The Pirates had one last run stored as they pulled within four 17-13, but a kill off the block broke the serve and momentum putting the Tigers back on track and up by five.

An aced serve by TU’s Mittlestaedt extended the lead to seven 21-14 and the Tigers closed out the set 25-17 , winning the match 3-0 to continue on in the NCAA Tournament and advance to Cleveland for the Elite Eight.

The Pirates end their season at 35-4 and lay claim to the longest winning streak in Southwestern history at 33 in a row. SU will say goodbye to five seniors from the SCAC Championship squad.