After coming off a solid weekend of UAA play, the Maroons took a tough loss Thursday at Wheaton College, falling to the Thunder in a hard-fought 3–1 series. This loss drops the team to 15–8 on the year, while snapping its four-game win streak.
Statistically, the team excelled, with 79 digs, three blocks, and five aces. All this was achieved while hitting at a .247 clip, but unfortunately Wheaton was able to best even these impressive statistics. Individually, second-year Audrey Scrafford had an incredible 21 digs while swinging .353, second-year Sarah Muisenga pitched in 14 kills and 8 digs, and first-year Anabella Pinton had a well-balanced 12 kills and 12 digs.
Fourth-years Erin Risk and Mary Claire Tuohy contributed 46 assists and 11 digs, and 27 digs with 6 assists, respectively. Risk was also one of five players with service aces throughout the game, alongside Scrafford, Muisenga, second-year Jessica Wang, and third-year Frances McDonald. Pinton praised her teammates for the well-balanced play.
“My teammates and I are giving 100 percent perfect effort in practice so that it translates into the game setting,” she said. “This has proven to be effective for us in conference play as we are 7–0 in the UAA and are looking to continue winning this weekend against Dominican.”
The game started off roughly for the Maroons, as the home team quickly established a 13–4 lead. This was the result of a nine point run by Wheaton. The South Siders rallied to make the set competitive, and at one point, the score of the first set was 24–21. Unfortunately, the comeback couldn’t be completed, and the Thunder won, 25–21.
The second set was much more contested, with both sides going on runs until Wheaton lead 24–22. This time, however, the Maroons would complete the comeback, winning 27–25. The set was settled by the heroics of first-year Madison Pearson, who had a clutch block by herself. Pearson was vocal after the game about how this loss will be used as a learning experience for next week.
“Although we lost this Thursday, I'm confident that this loss will propel us to new heights as we work and train harder in order to play our best against Dominican. Communication was a struggle against Wheaton so that will be something we emphasize a lot this week in practice,” Pearson said. “All in all, I think we're all very excited to get on the court again and play Dominican after regrouping this week.”
The second half of the match ended up being all Wheaton. Although the Maroons led late into the third set, the Thunder scored six straight points to win the third set 25–20. In the fourth set, which ended up being the final one, Wheaton seemed well on their way, leading, at points, 9–3 and 16–9. Chicago gave one last rally, and actually ended up taking a late lead of 25–24 after a timely service ace and stopping the Thunder from finishing on match-point three times. The Thunder had an answer though, finishing the set and ultimately the match with two kills and a final block. The final score of the set was 27–25.
The Maroons are currently gearing up for their doubleheader on Friday, as they face Dominican University at 6 p.m., and North Park University at 8 p.m. Both games are at home.