Nov 3, 2012 10:27 PM by Jordan Mason
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - College College rallied from a 15-11 deficit in the opening set on Saturday to bounce back and sweep Trinity University, 25-23, 25-20, 26-24, for its third consecutive Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference playoff title.
Playing in front of a loud, partisan crowd at a packed Reid Gymnasium, regular-season co-champ and top-seeded CC rode seven digs by freshman Sophie Merrifield in the opening set to seize momentum for the rest of the match.
"I just tried to calm them down a little bit," said head coach Rick Swan, who saw the pendulum start swinging in his team's favor after calling a timeout at the early 15-11 juncture. "We said there's a lot of emotion, a lot of excitement, and we need to just calm down, relax and play within ourselves. But we told them to keep swinging and stay aggressive, mix it up a little. We were feeding their (Trinity's) big blockers to much in the beginning."
By virtue of the conference championship, the Tigers earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament - marking the 15th year in a row they have competed at nationals.
Merrifield finished with 17 digs overall, while Laura Goldsmith added 16 and Emily Phillips 15 more. Goldsmith, a senior, led the home team offensively with 12 kills. Sophomore Kristen Liberty hammered down nine while posting a .333 attack percentage.
Trinity's Kelsey Daniel matched Liberty's 12 kills and hit .476 for Trinity, which got 15 digs from Maryn Swierc.