Mixed bag for Trolls in opening week
Two Trinity Christian College sports teams entered the 2014 fall season with recognition from NAIA poll voters, but neither emerged unscathed from the opening week of play.
The Trolls women’s soccer squad, which went 16-4-2 and made an appearance in the National Christian College Athletic Association Championships last season, were just outside the top 25 in the national preseason poll but were among the programs receiving votes. That, however, meant nothing to Viterbo University on Saturday as it edged Trinity 3-2 in LaCrosse, Wis.
The V-Hawks tallied twice in the match’s first 90 seconds and were up 2-1 at intermission, the Trolls having sliced their deficit in half on sophomore Cassidy Bosselaar’s goal in the 23rd minute. Senior Kayla Diemer assisted on the marker.
Trinity needed only three minutes of the second half to pull even with its hosts, doing so on freshman Brooklyn Celebron’s marker, which Bosselaar set up. That deadlock remained in place until the final minute, when Viterbo converted a rebound shot into the deciding goal.
The V-Hawks outshot the Trolls 22-9. Trinity keeper Liz Schutte made six saves.
“Despite the terrible start to the game I am pleased with the effort we put in,” Trolls coach Josh Lenarz said. “I saw some very good things and I am positive about the prospect for this season.”
In his 13th year at Trinity Lenarz must replace 10 members of last season’s crew, including ace defender Bekah Gonzales. Diemer, junior forward Rachael Webb, senior midfielder/defender Brooke Ellis and senior midfielder Katie Linehan spearhead a group of 14 returnees, while Celebron, freshman defender Lilly Brummel and sophomore keeper Jesse Bultsma are the most heralded new arrivals.
Also in the receiving-votes category in an NAIA Top 25 preseason poll is Trinity’s volleyball team, which is coming off a 37-10 campaign. The Trolls won both the 2013 regular-season and tournament titles in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference and reached the NAIA national event while ending the year ranked 22nd in the country.
Six players are gone from last fall’s roster, but 11 returning athletes give Trinity a solid foundation for 2014. Key among them are senior setter Erynn Schuh, senior right-side/middle hitter Kaitlyn Van Dellen and junior outside hitter Lauren Macadlo. Brittany Dykstra and Danielle Oeverman lead a quartet of newcomers.
Eighth-year coach Bill Schepel tested the Trolls right away by entering them in the Grand View (Iowa) University Tournament last weekend. There, Trinity encountered three top-10 opponents and was unable to grab a victory in four tries.
“It would have been nice to come away with a win, but I am pleased that we competed well against nationally ranked programs,” Schepel said.
The Trolls opened play against the No. 6-ranked host school, which prevailed 17-25, 31-29, 25-16, 25-20.
Van Dellen and Macadlo accounted for 22 of Trinity’s 56 kills, while freshmen Oeverman and Dykstra combined for 18 more. The two new middle hitters also had a hand in seven blocks. Schuh totaled 51 assists and 14 digs.
Carroll (Mont.) College also went four sets with the Trolls before bagging a 25-8, 25-18, 20-25, 25-21 triumph. Oeverman (11 kills, three blocks) and Dykstra (nine kills, three blocks) were Trinity’s top performers along the net, Schuh had 29 assists and 11 digs, and sophomore libero Michelle Busscher finished with a team-high 12 digs.
The Trolls put down 37 kills overall.
Day 2 of the tournament began with Trinity falling short in five sets versus No. 9 Columbia (Mo.) College by scores of 25-18, 20-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-12. Oeverman produced 14 of the Trolls’ 48 kills, while Courtney Samudio and Van Dellen backed her with 11 and nine, respectively. Oeverman also registered three blocks.
Other Trinity contributors were junior Karliegh Krchmery (12 digs), Busscher (10) and Schuh (39 assists, three blocks).
The Trolls wrapped up their tourney stay with another five-set defeat. No. 5 Northwestern (Iowa) College spotted Trinity a 2-1 lead in games before rallying for a 25-19, 24-26, 22-25, 25-16, 15-12 win.
Van Dellen (18) and Samudio (16) accounted for the majority of their club’s 55 kills, while Krchmery (11), Schuh (10) and Busscher (10) all reached double digits in digs. Schuch distributed 46 assists as well, and both she and Busscher were perfect at the service line.
For the weekend Van Dellen averaged 2.67 kills per set and posted a .234 attack percentage. Both Samudio (2.33) and Oeverman (2.17) also averaged over two kills per set, and the latter was second to Dykstra in blocks per set (0.77-0.61).
Schuh’s 165 assists gave her a per-set average of 9.17 and both Busscher and Krchmery averaged 2.61 digs per game.
Trinity has another four matches on tap this weekend when it co-hosts the St. Xavier/Trinity Crossover event.
The Trolls aren’t ranked in men’s soccer, but they got their 2014 campaign off to a strong start as they shut out Viterbo University 2-0 on Saturday. Trinity scored once in each half.
The Trolls, who outshot the V-Hawks 16-5, went ahead in the 23rd minute as Chicago Christian grad Getenet Timmermans notched his first collegiate goal off an assist from sophomore Mauricio Salgado. The same duo teamed up on the second marker as well, which was delivered in the 62nd minute.
Netminder Gabe Fennema had three saves for Trinity.
The Trolls, who host Northwestern (Iowa) College on Friday at 5 p.m., went 5-12-1 overall in coach Jose Dominguez’s seventh season. They lost nine players from a year ago and count Salgado, Fennema and junior defender Alex Medina as their top returnees.
Along with Timmermans, freshman Edgar Rodriguez and junior Fernanao Avalos, a transfer from South Suburban College, are considered the top newcomers.
The Trolls men and women usher in their 2014 season on Friday at 6 p.m. at a meet hosted by the University of St. Francis in Joliet.
Also getting underway this weekend is the golf team, which plays Friday and Saturday in a tournament hosted by Olivet Nazarene University.