SHREVEPORT, La. – The Southwestern University Pirates volleyball team has come a long way since the beginning of the year, taking nationally ranked teams to five sets and rattling off a seven-game winning streak.
On Sunday, the No. 10-ranked Trinity University Tigers ended the Pirates' winning streak in five sets (25-18, 15-25, 17-25, 25-19, 11-15) on the last match of the regular season. Still, Southwestern's performance left room for optimism, showing how much the team has grown since its three-set loss to Trinity on Sept. 15.
"Today was one of those losses where you know you can grow and will learn from how things unfolded," Head Coach Don Flora said. "We played clean and mindfully to start the match, holding Trinity .100-plus points below their season hitting average."
Southwestern started the match with its most efficient set, scoring 13 kills on 31 attacks with four errors while holding Trinity to a .156 hitting percentage. Jamison Duck set the tone with five first-set kills and Alyssa Dooley added four of her match-high 20 kills.
Dooley finished with a .349 hitting percentage and Duck had 16 kills, hitting .140 while also contributing 13 digs, two aces, and a block assist. Brandi Campos led the team with 21 digs and four services aces. Ashley Whitlock had 13 kills and three block assists on a .423 hitting percentage. Makenzie Mendez had 48 assists and 12 digs.
"Alyssa hitting .349 with four kills per set is a truly quality outing for her and Jamison continues to just work hard on playing six rotations and helping this team in all facets of the game," Flora said. "This shows us where we belong and where we can be more efficient to grown even more."
The Pirates had rough outings in the second and third sets before recovering to take the fourth set 25-19 with a team-best 15 kills.
Southwestern had a rough start in the fifth set, committing three errors as part of a 6-0 Trinity run to start. The Pirates managed to pull back within two at 8-6 before falling 15-11 to lose the match.
"I think we lost our serve and pass focus in the middle of the match," Flora said. "We made some unforced errors that put a lot of pressure on us in the fifth set. Making changes and paying attention to the small details allowed us to claw our way back."
With the loss, the Pirates finish the season 16-11 and 12-4 in conference, good for the third seed in the SCAC Championships this weekend. They will play Austin College on Friday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m.