Trojans Go 3-1 at Lindenwood Tournament
Sunday, February 6, 2011
St. Louis, MO - In the midst of all the ice and snow here in the Midwest, the Trojans are turning up the heat after a great weekend down in St. Charles, MO. Hannibal-LaGrange now boasts a 5-3 record after taking down three top-10 opponents at the Lindenwood Invitational.
The Trojans dropped their first match of the tournament in a rematch against second ranked St. Ambrose University, falling three sets to one.
“We had the ball on our side of the net with an opportunity to make plays down the stretch of each set and just came up short,” commented head coach Blair Greenwood. “Saint Ambrose is a very solid team but we know we can play at their level. We’re definitely in the conversation for the top ten, and we’re almost ready to be in the conversation for the top tier.”
Shaking off the loss, the Trojans took down eighth ranked St. Xavier University 3-1 in the nightcap of day one action.
The next morning, Hannibal-LaGrange went up against 10th ranked Cardinal Stritch University, and after dropping the first set, dominated the next two. In the fourth set, the Trojans trailed 18-14 before digging in and initiating a comeback to tie the score at 21. After the wolves sided out to go up 22-21, the Trojans answered with one of their own and forced three consecutive errors from an obviously rattled Stritch team to take the match 25-22.
“I am very proud of the way our guys are competing,” said coach Greenwood. “The mentality is obviously changing. In the past, a late deficit like that just meant we would simply try to save face and be better the next set. Our guys now have a mindset that they can push points against anyone out there whenever it’s necessary. They’re shaking off mistakes and being solution-oriented in the way they compete. It was a great win to start the day.”
In the final match of the tournament, the Trojans faced ninth ranked Clarke and employed the same resilience to start the match as they used to finish off Cardinal Stritch. Trailing 20-15, they closed the gap with a couple of service points to get to 20-23. After siding out, Hannibal-LaGrange completed a great comeback with David Holliday at the service line. Placing his serves well, the Trojans got the Crusaders into predictable situations which would be well defended. After a Clarke hitting error, the Trojans got a huge block to tie the score. After Clarke’s last timeout, the Trojans got two digs and two transition kills to take the first set 25-23.
Set two kept that momentum going as the Trojan guys went up 2-0, looking to close out Clarke with a sweep. But the Trojans returned a favor to Clarke, losing a late three point lead to drop set three. The Crusaders used that momentum to take set four and force a decisive fifth set in the last match of the tournament. The Trojans led 7-5 with the ball on their side and a chance to switch ends with a three point lead, but Clarke won a long rally, got a couple of digs and two more transition kills to take the lead 8-7 at the halfway point. The game went back and forth until the Trojans pushed a couple of service points to take a 12-10 lead.
“After that, the guys saw the finish line and sprinted to it. Coasting was not an option – we learned that in set three – they wanted it and sealed the deal,” remarked coach Greenwood. “As a program, we had lost seven consecutive 5th sets until then so it was great to get the monkey off our back there and prove we can take good teams down at the end of a long match. It just goes to show we’re definitely going in a good direction.”
It was a great weekend for the MAMVIC West in general. Sixth ranked Lindenwood and fifth ranked Park both went 4-0, and both defeated St. Ambrose along the way. Fourth ranked Graceland joined the Trojans at 3-1 on the weekend as well.
As a result of the strong MAMVIC West showing, a few ranked schools are taking home more losses than they had planned. No. seven Hope International went 0-4, no. 8 St. Xavier went 0-5, no. 9 Clarke went 1-4, and no. 10 Cardinal Stritch went 1-3. These losses should open the gate for Hannibal-LaGrange to leap into the national Top-10 ranking.
The polls are released each Monday afternoon and can be seen at the conference’s new and improved website www.mamvic.com.
Contact InformationCarolyn Carpenter
Director of Public Relations