Women’s hoops team looks four-ward
This is already a better basketball season for Trinity Christian College’s women’s team than the previous one.
Victory No. 4, scored on Saturday with a 77-74 triumph over Goshen (Ind.) on the Maple Leafs’ court, vaulted the Trolls above their win total of a year ago. The 2012-13 campaign included 22 losses. It was also Trinity’s second victory in a row, the first multiple-game win streak in two seasons.
The Trolls (4-8) were chasing three in a row — a feat unachieved in the last five years — this past Tuesday in Milwaukee versus Cardinal Stritch University. They host Judson University today at 1 p.m. in their pre-Christmas finale.
Perhaps indicative of the squad’s growth, the win over the Maple Leafs was hard-fought. Trinity was better in almost every phase of the game, and while Goshen (2-11) isn’t a world-beater, it was precisely the type of team that would have beaten the Trolls last season.
There were still far too many turnovers — 26 — and Goshen pounded inside to the tune of 38 points, but at crunch time it was Trinity doing the crunching.
Four players landed in double figures, beginning with the 21-point showing of forward Caitlin Cody, who was 8-of-11 from the floor. Seventeen points from both Allie Paluchniak and 3-point specialist Holly Boetsma aided the effort greatly, and Brooke Bambrick’s 10 points certainly didn’t hurt the cause.
What also helped was Goshen’s Tyra Carver, with 22 points the game’s leading scorer, fouling out in the late going.
Boetsma scored a trio of 3-pointers in the early going to vault Trinity to a 16-12 advantage, and the Trolls kept the lead not only through halftime at 36-34, but expanded it with an 8-0 run to open the second half. At one juncture, it was 54-17, the Trolls enjoying being on the positive end of a one-sided score for a change.
Goshen, however, was not finished. The Maple Leafs stormed back and tied the contest with less than a minute to play, but Boetsma answered with 16 seconds remaining when she scored a basket, was fouled and hit the free throw to establish the margin of victory.
• Record: 4-8 overall, 1-2 CCAC, 1-3 home, 3-4 away, 0-1 neutral. Leaders: Caitlin Cody 12.0 ppg., 7.4 rpg.; Allie Paluchniak 25 assists; Rebecca DeHaan 18 steals; Brooke Bambrick, 8 blocks.
• Schedule: Today, vs. Judson University, 1 p.m.; Dec. 30, vs. Spring Arbor at Indiana Tech, 4:30 p.m. CT; Dec. 31, vs. University of St. Francis (Ind.) at Indiana Tech, 1 p.m. CT.
A big second half spurred the Trolls to an 81-71 victory over Indiana University Northwest in Gary on Saturday. It was Trinity’s second win in three games entering this week’s action, which is capped by today’s matinee with Judson University, the last contest before the Christmas break.
The Trolls outscored their hosts 51-40 in the final 20 minutes, shooting 48 percent from the floor while overcoming a rebounding deficiency and more turnovers. But with Jared Jones’ 21 points leading the way, Trinity prevailed and advanced to 4-9 going into this past Tuesday’s Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference game at highly touted Cardinal Stritch University.
The Trolls’ seven-point lead evaporated late in the first half, and the RedHawks held a 31-30 edge at the half, triggering a see-saw battle that featured eight deadlocks across the next 16 minutes. The Trolls, paced by Jones and Jake Van Den Berg (19 points), scored the next five points and led thereafter, pouring in 10 points from the free-throw line in the last two minutes.
Trinity was 29-of-39 at the stripe, including 22 of 31 in the second half. Van Den Berg’s 9-of-11 accuracy topped the Trolls, and he also pulled down 10 of Trinity’s 39 rebounds.
• Record: 4-9 overall, 0-3 CCAC, 2-2 home, 2-4 away, 0-3 neutral. Leaders: Jared Jones 14.8 ppg., 38 assists; Ezekiel Odonkor 8.1 rpg., 16 blocks; Cody Rhorer 11 steals.
• Schedule: Today, vs. Judson University, 3 p.m.; Dec. 31, at Lewis University (exhibition), 1 p.m.; Jan. 2, at Illinois Benedictine-Springfield, 7 p.m.
It was late in coming, but well deserved.
Trinity’s groundbreaking volleyball team broke into the top 25 in the final NAIA poll of the season. The Trolls were rated No. 22 in the country after their inaugural appearance in the NAIA Championship.
The victory over Bellevue (Neb.) in the tournament’s opening round helped break Trinity out of the “also receiving votes” category and got it to the NAIA finals for the first time. That brought the Trolls’ play to the attention of other coaches nationally and, despite three straight losses in their group, added respect.
Coach Bill Schepel, who doubles as Trinity’s athletic director, was voted the CCAC’s Coach of the Year for guiding the Trolls to a 27-10 record — one short of their all-time victory mark — and that first-ever NAIA finals berth. It’s his second conference Coach of the Year honor in seven seasons, during which time Trinity has compiled a 198-96 record.
Additionally, Kaitlin Feddema and Kristen Harms last week scored College Division Academic All-America honors. Feddema was selected to the first team, Harms to the second.
A 16-4-2 record and tie for second place in the CCAC earned Josh Lenarz the conference’s Coach of the Year honor for the third time and a seventh nod, this time shared, for the National Christian College Athletic Association’s North Central area.
The Trolls advanced to the NCCAA finals behind a stellar lineup that included NCCAA first-team All-America defender Bekah Gonzales — who also picked up plaudits from the CCAC, made the NCCAA All-Tournament team, and collected regional and conference all-academic honors — and scoring leader Rachael Webb (NCCAA national third team, all-region and All-CCAC). Earning All-CCAC second-team recognition were Becky Gold, Kayla Diemer and Katie Linehan.
Despite a 5-12-1 record this season, three standout freshmen took NCCAA All-North Central honors. Scoring leader Mauricio Salgado, goalkeeper Gabe Fennema and defender Caleb Copeland all made the squad.
Sagaldo led Trinity with seven goals and two assists, Fennema took over as the starter early in the year and posted a 1.80 goals-against average, and Copeland solidified the back line. Copeland was one of eight players to also receive scholar-athlete honors from either the NAIA or NCCAA.