No. 19 Chicago (23–10, 6–1 UAA) ended its season on top of the UAA, edging out opponents No. 8 Wash U (25–3, 6–1 UAA) and No. 6 Emory (28–3, 5–2).
The Maroons went 3–1 at the Benedictine Tournament last weekend to finish up their regular season. They won both of their matches on Friday, and split the matches on Saturday.
In the first match of the tournament, Chicago beat North Central (12–21) 3–1. The Maroons dominated the first set 25–8, but the Cardinals kept themselves in the second set, only losing by two, 26–24.
By the third set, the Cardinals had found their footing and won 25–22. In the fourth, Chicago sealed the match with a decisive 25–11 victory, taking home its first match of the weekend.
In the second match, the Maroons played Concordia (4–22), winning in straight sets. They won each set by 10 points or more, in their most dominant performance of the weekend.
On Saturday, Chicago played Carthage (23–13) through four sets. The Maroons won the first two sets by less than five points, and Carthage came back to win the third 25–19. However, in the fourth set, Chicago pulled ahead to a 25–18 lead.
In their only loss over the weekend, the Maroons were swept by DePauw (24–5) in straight sets. Chicago came within two points in its second set, but ended up losing 25–18, 25–23, and 25–19.
The South Siders were disappointed that they didn’t end their season as well as they could have.
“We were really hoping to go 4–0 this weekend, and our one loss was a tough one,” said fourth-year setter Nikki DelZenero.
One highlight of the weekend was the nomination of DelZenero and third-year libero Eirene Kim to the all-tournament team.
Even though Chicago did not win all of its games this weekend, the Maroons won the games that they needed to.
“We won all three of our regional matches, and that was very important for this weekend,” DelZenero said.
Regional matches will help with placement in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
Reflecting back on the regular season, Chicago was most proud of the wins over Emory and Wash U. Because they are both contenders in UAA play, beating them was very important.
“The Wash [U] and Emory matches are two matches…that helped us gain the number one seed going into championships, something that Chicago volleyball hasn’t done before,” DelZenero said.
The Maroons have been proud of their ability to put together good matches and sets against even very strong opponents, and hope this will carry over into tournament play in the next two weeks.
Chicago will open the UAA tournament with a game at noon EST on Friday against Rochester (8–25, 0–7 UAA) in Waltham, Massachusetts.