Coming off a disappointing weekend hosting the UAA round robin, volleyball looked to regain its winning touch at Concordia University last Saturday.
Although not considered a strong regional team, Concordia's relentless attack presented a major challenge for the Maroons (17-10), one that Chicago ultimately overcame, sweeping the match 30-17, 30-18, 30-24.
"This was an expected win for us, but nonetheless wins are always confidence boosters," third-year captain and libero Tracie Kenyon said.
Third-year outside hitter Katie Meinhover led the Chicago attack with 14 kills and a .394 hit percentage, while Kenyon, returning from an illness, anchored the defense with 20 defensive digs. Third-year captain and outside hitter Erica Pettke contributed on both offense and defense with eight kills and ten digs.
After last weekend's error-filled performance, the Maroons cruised through this weekend with high-percentage, clean play.
"This victory was the result of an entire team effort," said Pettke. "We were able to consistently pass the ball and execute the sets."
Apart from the fantastic play from the team upperclassmen, the first-year players also got into the action, providing a tremendous lift to the exhausted team. First-year outside hitter Koryn Kendall contributed with eight kills and an incredible .615 hit percentage, while first-year right-side hitter Colette Hausoul chipped in with seven kills.
"Our freshman starters came out aggressive and confident with their play," Meinhover commented. "They attempted and succeeded at the attacks that we had practiced during the last week's practices."
Looking down the calendar, next weekend's Aurora Triangular represents the final tune-up for Chicago before UAA championships at Emory. Waiting for the Maroons at the Triangular is revenge-seeking 23rd-ranked Elmhurstthe same Blue Jays that the Maroons upset two weeks ago in Elmhurst's gym.
"This tourney is the ultimate turning point of the season. Our victory against Elmhurst the other week was huge and a great shock to many of our competitors," Meinhover said. "We have to come out strong and beat Elmhurst and legitimately earn the respect we deserve."
Currently holding the UAA's sixth spot and looking to finish in the top half of the conference, the Maroons are looking to these upcoming non-conference matches to provide a foundation on which to build. They would need a victory in two of the three UAA championship matches in order to secure a top-four finish.
"Winning the triangular will really help because the main thing is that we need to play with confidence," Kenyon said.