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October 22, 2010

Volleyball stumbles to second straight loss

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The Chicago Maroons’ recent struggles continued on Wednesday when the team was upset by Dominican, losing three of their four sets. In beating the Maroons, Dominican became the first unranked team to unseat the Maroons since October 31 of last year. The defeat comes after Chicago’s fall in the rankings from 17th to 20th place in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll.

The Maroons played solidly in the first set but were seeing stars after being overwhelmed by a Dominican squad that went on a tear with 14 kills while hitting .355 to take the set 25–21. Chicago would bounce back and take the second set 25–19 while hitting .167, setting the stage for a comeback victory that never materialized. Dominican took the third set 25–20 when hitting woes struck a Chicago side that hit an uncharacteristic .068 in the set. The fourth set was hard fought, with Dominican ultimately edging out the Maroons 25–19.

“They came out and played very tough against us,” said head coach Vanessa Walby. “They played to win and with a mentality that they had nothing to lose.”

Chicago was supported by a big game from fourth-year Diandra Bucciarelli, who led the team with eight kills and 31 attacks along with 15 digs on the defensive side. Second-year Samantha Brown had a game-high of 17 digs.

On Dominican’s side, Darcy Kammeier had 12 kills and Claire Dezelski tallied 8. More importantly, the four Stars hit above .200 while another four had double-digit defensive digs.

This was the same Dominican team that Chicago defeated earlier in the season on Sept 1. But this game seemed different from the start as the Stars seemed unafraid of a team that came in ranked 20th in the nation.

“We came out pretty slow against Dominican,” added Walby. “We had an off night executing a lot of the things that we normally do well.”

The Maroons failed to get consistent performances from all players as only one player hit above .100 and the Maroons failed to seize kill opportunities throughout the game. Their opponents also dominated on the defensive end, winning the battle at the net and getting more digs than the Maroons.

“Our loss yesterday was a wake up call that our success we have achieved so far this season does not mean we can let up on our intensity,” said third-year Elizabeth Kossnar.

First-year Katie Trela was even more dispirited, stating, “Last night was a train wreck. That wasn’t our team out there. We just have to get back to playing for each other and having fun to break out of this rut.”

The team will look to rebound as the UAA Championship looms near and the Maroons fight for a spot in this year’s NCAA tournament. After going 11–0 to start the season, the Maroons have faced some fierce competition lately and have gotten a little burned, going 2–3 in their last five matches.

“I don’t think this has anything to do with fatigue or a loss of focus,” insisted Walby, speaking about the team’s recent troubles. “Sometimes you just have a bad night and maybe it was just our time for that.”

The Maroons have two tournaments, including the Elmhurst Invitational this coming weekend, before the UAA Championships in early November. If the team is feeling the wear of a long season, it would be hard to tell.

“In order to come back from this loss, we will have to remind ourselves of our goals for the season and regain the heart we went into the season with,” concluded Kossnar.

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