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October 12, 2012

At Round Robin, #12 Maroons face #1 Bears, conference rivals

On Saturday at the end of O-Week, incoming and returning students alike turned out at Ratner to watch the Maroons coast to victories over Carnegie Mellon and NYU in the first round of the UAA Round Robin tournament. Chicago was unable to secure a perfect weekend, however, as they fell to Emory 3–0 the following day.

This weekend, Carnegie Mellon is hosting the second round of the tournament, which will seed the UAA for its conference tournament at the end of the season. The Maroons will face Wash U and Brandeis on Saturday, and Rochester and Case Western on Sunday. All of the games this weekend are expected to be competitive, especially the Maroons’ matchup against the Wash U Bears, who are currently ranked first in the country.

“It would be awesome to give them another loss this year and I honestly think that they are beatable,” head coach Vanessa Walby said. “If we play well we can make that happen.”

Fourth-year middle blocker Katie Trela also expressed confidence about the upcoming games.

“This weekend should be golden,” she said. “As long as every girl on the team comes in with the mindset that we’re taking down the top-ranked team in Division III, then we will.”

Brandeis, 0–3 so far in the tournament, is also expected to put up a good fight.

“[They] always surprise teams with good matches,” Trela said.

Walby addressed the home loss to Emory, admitting that it was a disappointing outcome while remaining optimistic about the lessons learned from the match.

“Hopefully we can take something from that match,” Walby said, “and transfer it into the matches this weekend.”

The Maroons’ conference record thus far in the season is 16–6, further reflecting on the team’s improvement over the past few years under Walby, who arrived in the spring of 2008. In the two years prior to her arrival, the Maroons had only won 13 matches. But in 2010, Chicago made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time and finished the season with a 30–13 overall record—the most victories in the program’s 40-year history.

Chicago will look to continue their success under Walby this Saturday and Sunday in Pittsburgh.

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