Trinity gains tournament title, win over Heritage

Trinity Christian's volleyball team should have plenty of momentum heading into this weekend's invitational tournament at Augusta Prep.

The Lady Lions avenged a pair of early season losses by capturing a Gold Bracket title in the Rocket City Blast Tournament hosted last weekend by Covenant Christian and including opponents from Florida, Tennessee and Alabama.

'It was a great weekend with contributions from all 13 players,' Trinity coach Joe Camp said. ' I'm most proud of how the team conducted itself under pressure and executed. We have been working hard in practice and it really showed.' Trinity capped off the tournament by defeating host Covenant Christian in a rematch 20-25, 25-22, 15-10 while playing without any attack or service errors over the final points of the match.

'Statistically the team that commits the fewest errors in the final 5 points of a match wins a large percentage of the time,' said Camp. 'This is something we work on and it really paid off in this case.'

The Lady Lions finished 2-1 in pool play, suffering their second loss this year to Covenant in a 27-25, 21-25, 17-19 decision. But the team bounced back to defeat Providence of Huntsville, Ala., 25-14, 25-14 before entering bracket play. In the semifinals, Trinity advanced with a 25-17, 25-11 win over Evangel Christian of Alabaster, Ala., in a match that included 45 digs and 5 blocks by the defense.

'That was as close to perfect execution as you can expect in a high school match,' said Camp.

Trinity had to rally back in the finals after falling in game one and then trailing 19-15 in game two before a strong service run by Jordan Jones helped pull the team back to within a 21-20 deficit. From there, the Lady Lions scored five of the final six points to pull out the win.

Alex Huber's seven kills and 12 digs helped lead the final victory while adding two aces. Cheyenne Hayes, who had team highs of 11 kills and 16 digs in the previous loss to Covenant, finished with nine kills and 11 digs in the championship. Also contributing were Mandy Price, with eight digs and a 2.1 passing average and Francie Hutcheson, who posted a block against Leah Lawrence of Covenant, who has verbally committed to Alabama.

For the tournament, Jones posted 106 assists while averaging 11.8 per set.

Natalie Sisler, Kelsey Richards, Ashley Caldwell, Chasey Mitchell and Hannah Simonton also posted standout performances individually along the way. Sisler had seven kills in the opening loss to Covenant, with Richards adding 13 digs. Caldwell posted five kills and two aces in the sweep against Providence, with Mitchell adding three kills on four attempts. Simonton led the defense against Providence with nine digs.

Trinity followed up the tournament championship by holding off GISA Region 2-AAA rival The Heritage School, winning 25-10, 25-20, 21-25, 25-18.

'The Heritage School has greatly improved since last season,' Camp said of a Lady Hawks second-year varsity program coached by Mary Louise Hunt. ' They play with tremendous intensity and they never quit. Coach Hunt does a great job with that group. We will have to continue work hard to keep up with them.'

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