Trolls no longer perfect in CCAC volleyball
“You hate to give one away,” Trinity Christian College volleyball coach Bill Schepel said in the wake of the Trolls’ loss to Cardinal Stritch University.
The defeat was Trinity’s first in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference play. Coupled with victories over Judson University and Illinois Institute of Technology in last weekend’s CCAC Crossover Tournament at Purdue-North Central, the loss left the Trolls 14-1 in league play and 30-7 overall entering this past Tuesday’s match at league doormat Purdue University Calumet.
The idea now is to rebuild momentum going into the playoffs, which are right around the corner. Trinity hosts Indiana University-South Bend (12-4) tonight and the University of St. Francis (13-2) next Thursday. The two South Division rivals are enjoying good seasons, and the Fighting Saints, in particular, are a threat to the Trolls’ quest to capture the South title outright, to say nothing of the overall league banner.
All of that is because Stritch (12-2), the leader in the North by a comfortable margin, rose to the occasion on Friday to deal Trinity a 25-19, 24-26, 25-17, 25-21 defeat.
“They’re better than they were in the past [and] tall in the middle,” Schepel said of the Wolves. “And we had a bad night.”
Just bad enough at the most inopportune times to shift the balance to Stritch. The first key moment came in the third set.
It was 10-10 when the Wolves, led by outside hitter Monique Morris, reeled off six straight points to take a commanding lead, which got expanded to eight by the time the set was clinched.
The second pivotal moment, in the fourth game, was a repeat of the first. It was 15-15, Stritch won four straight points, and while the Trolls closed within two in the late going, a pair of kills — the Wolves led that statistic 62-48 — completed the victory.
The outcome can be considered something of an aberration, given Trinity’s dominance all season. The Trolls lead all CCAC squads in hitting percentage and assists, are a close second to USF in kills, and are third in blocks.
The duo of Jessica Wiltjer (.365) and Kirsten Harms (.359) ranked 1-2 in hitting percentage going into the weekend’s adventures, and Erynn Schuh was the league’s assist leader. Schuh’s per-match average of 10.06 put her well ahead of runner-up Myranda Cate (8.09) of Robert Morris University.
If anything, this will give Schepel license to keep his athletes focused.
“Indiana-South Bend and St. Francis are having very good seasons,” Schepel said. “Both teams are dangerous. We need to be ready. Our two-match cushion [in the South] is gone.”
Trinity opened the crossover tourney by knocking off Judson in straight sets (25-12, 25-21, 25-21) and finished by overpowering IIT (25-9, 25-16, 25-18) in a nonconference affair.
The Trolls opened last week with a three-set trouncing of Calumet College of St. Joseph (25-14, 25-17, 26-24), in which the visitors challenged only in final game.
• Record: 30-7 overall, 14-1 CCAC, 8-0 home, 7-1 away, 15-6 neutral. Leaders: Kaitlin Feddema 358 kills; Erynn Schuh 44 aces; Ellie Raebel 458 digs; Jessica Wiltjer 137 blocks.
• Schedule: Today, vs. Indiana University-South Bend, 7 p.m.; Nov. 7, vs. University of St. Francis, 7 p.m.; Nov. 12, CCAC Playoffs TBA.
Andy Reidsma set a school record with an 8K time of 25 minutes, 01.05 seconds in Saturday’s Great Lakes Challenge in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Reidsma, a junior from Michigan, made himself feel right at home at Riverside Park by running faster than any Troll ever had at that distance and finishing sixth overall in a 387-competitor field. That effort helped Trinity place 13th among 37 schools.
Anna Bos led the Trolls women and was the 33rd runner down the chute in 18:53.94. Jessica Disselkoen covered the 5K course in a season-best 19:19.33 to become Trinity’s second-highest finisher in a 363-runner field.
With Bos and Disselkoen leading the way, Trinity occupied the No. 14 position in the women’s team standings.
• Men’s top times (8K): Andy Reidsma, 25:01.05, Oct. 26; Michael Potter, 26:28.8, Sept. 13; Tyrell Natewa, 26:39.7, Sept. 13; Cody Velthuizen, 26:40.88, Oct. 26; Chris Koutavas, 27:00.98, Sept. 6; Joshua Whitten, 29:00.17, Oct. 26; Mark Bohdan, 29:22.75, Oct. 26.
• Women’s top times (5K/6K): Anna Bos, 18:53.94, Oct. 26; 24:04.5, Oct. 5; Jessica Disselkoen, 19:19.33, Oct. 26; 24:10.1, Oct. 5; Ashley Jourdan, 19:28.96, Oct. 26; 25:08.3, Oct. 5; Hannah Schwab, 19:44.7, Sept. 13; Justin VanDyk, 20:29.1, Sept. 13; 26:08.1, Oct. 5.
• Schedule: Nov. 9, CCAC Championship, Sunset Hills Farm, Valparaiso, Ind., 11 a.m.
Good things are coming in threes for the Trolls.
For the third straight match, Trinity scored three times. That pushed its winning streak to four, its overall record to 12-2-2 and its CCAC mark to 7-1-1 going into the final two matches of the regular season.
In short, the Trolls are primed for the playoffs. They have two solid goal scorers in Rachael Webb (15) and Kayla Diemer (12), with Webb the assist leader (seven) as well.
Trinity also has a solid goalkeeper in Becky Gold, who collected her sixth shutout of the season and the Trolls’ seventh of the year, on Saturday. And the locals boast a defense that has allowed only 95 shots on goal, and just 203 shots overall, in 16 matches.
Last week’s 2-0 mark included a 3-1 victory over Calumet College and a 3-0 blanking of Holy Cross in Notre Dame, Ind. The latter contest was an exercise in complete domination, with Trinity unleashing 36 shots — 18 of which were on goal — while allowing Holy Cross to take only two.
One of those was on target, and Gold was there for it. Otherwise, she had long stretches where she could have been reading a book while waiting for the action to come to her half of the field.
The Trolls kept it on the other end. Cassidy Bosselaar scored in the 15th minute, then Webb banged home her 14th and 15th goals of the season in the last five minutes of the match to give the score a closer connection to the lopsidedness of the play.
Earlier in the week, Trinity had to come from behind to beat Calumet College. Webb evened the score in the ninth minute, Katie Linehan headed in Bekah Gonzales’ set-piece corner for the lead in the 51st minute, and Diemer scored via Busselaar’s setup in the 67th minute for the final goal of the 3-1 match.
The Trolls trail only Robert Morris (8-0) heading into the final week of league play. If form holds, they’ll be the top two seeds in the playoffs, which start Nov. 9.
• Record: 12-2-2 overall, 7-1-1 CCAC, 7-1-1 home, 5-1-1 away, 0-0 neutral. Leaders: Goals: Rachael Webb 15 goals, 7 assists, 37 points; Becky Gold 0.86 goals-against average, .857 save percentage (72 saves, 12 goals against, 6 shutouts).
• Schedule: Saturday, vs. Judson University, noon; Nov. 9, CCAC Playoffs TBA.
A pair of defeats stretched the Trolls’ losing streak to three and gave them eight in their last 10 matches, all but one of which came against CCAC competition.
Both of last week’s setbacks were by 2-1 scores, administered by Calumet College and Holy Cross. In both cases, Trinity led at the half, only to falter down the stretch.
Against Calumet College, that happened with 9:18 remaining. That’s when the Crimson Wave’s Joshua Crague took a feed from Matt Plawecki and beat Trolls keeper Gabe Fennema from the short left wing for the game-winner.
The Calumet rally began when its netminder, Fernando Perez, stopped Mauricio Salgado on a penalty kick. That would have given Trinity a 2-0 lead — Jesus Arciga had opened the scoring at 4:47 — but instead Perez’s big stop gave the Crimson Wave both hope and momentum.
Less than three minutes after that save, Crague fed Joseph Bax, who drilled a shot from the right wing that got past Fennema and tied the match. About 15 minutes later, Crague finished off the Trolls.
Saturday’s match at Holy Cross was more of the same. Salgado collected his fifth goal of the season on a carom off a defender with 44 seconds left in the first half, but the advantage lasted less than 10 minutes before Troy Padgett beat Fennema for the first of his two goals.
Padgett, who had only two goals all season entering the match, doubled his season total with 3:20 left in regulation on a close-in shot after accepting Garbhan Grant’s pass. Holy Cross pushed the attack all match — 24 shots, seven corner kicks and 16 offsides calls offered evidence of that — and Padgett, who took five of those shots, made the difference.
After this past Wednesday’s match at league-leading Cardinal Stritch (7-1-2), the Trolls have one match remaining, against Judson.
• Record: 5-10-1 overall, 2-7 CCAC, 3-5 home, 2-5-1 away, 0-0 neutral. Leaders: Mauricio Salgado 5 goals, 12 points; Emmanuel Yanquaye, Richie Carillo 3 assists each; Rick Fawkes 1.71 goals-against average, .769 save percentage; Save (20 saves, 6 goals against, 1 shutout).
• Schedule: Saturday, vs. Judson University, 2:30 p.m.
Both the men’s and women’s 2013-14 seasons tip off this Friday, with the men at home against Indiana-Kokomo and the women on the road at Indiana-Northwest.
The men’s team, coached by Brandon Nicol, was 11-21 last season, 10-14 in CCAC play, while the women’s squad went 3-28 and 2-20 in its inaugural campaign under the guidance of coach Reggie Chapple.
• Men’s schedule: Friday, vs. Indiana-Kokomo, 7 p.m.; Nov. 8, at Northwestern College, 8 p.m.; Nov. 9, vs. Dordt, at Northwestern College, 2:30 p.m.; Nov. 12, at Huntington, 6 p.m. CT.
• Women’s schedule: Friday, at Indiana-Northwest, 6 p.m.; Saturday, at Grace, noon CT; Tuesday, vs. St. Ambrose, 6 p.m.; Nov. 8, at Indiana Wesleyan, 5 p.m. CT; Nov. 9, TBA at Indiana Wesleyan Tournament.