This weekend, the Maroon volleyball team headed to Aurora, Illinois, to compete in Aurora University’s Jim Coleman Memorial Tournament. The Maroons went 3–1 overall, defeating University of Dubuque, Concordia University Chicago, and North Park University, and falling to Aurora University.
On the first day of competition, Chicago split their matches against Dubuque and Aurora. In their first match of the day against Dubuque, the Maroons started strong by dominating the first set. Initially, they led 7–2, and never trailed in the set, taking it 25–17. The Spartans struggled, hitting only .022 in the set. In the second set, Chicago similarly struggled offensively, hitting only .045, and Dubuque took advantage of the momentary weakness to take the second set 25–16. The third set was tight, and the Maroons barely escaped 25–22. Riding on that momentum, Chicago started the fourth set up 9–1 and closed out the match 25–21. Chicago was led by some solid performances offensively and defensively. Third-year Sarah Muisenga and second-year Anabella Pinton were forces on offense with 15 kills each. First-year Emma Griffith made 38 assists. Five players reached double digits in digs. Second-year Anne Marie Stifter reached 34 digs, Muisenga 17, fourth-year Frances Mcdonald 14, Griffith 13, and first-year Katherine Wilson with 11.
In their second match of the day, the Maroons did not fare as well, and were swept by Aurora 25–20, 25–20, 25–19. Third-year Audrey Scrafford was the main offensive force for the Maroons, earning almost half of the team’s kills at 16. Stifter, again, led the defense with 15 digs.
Heading into the second day of the tournament, the Maroons didn’t let their loss stop them, sweeping Concordia Chicago 25–16, 25–13, 25–12 to start the day. Scrafford once again boosted the team offensively with 14 kills and achieving a very impressive .542 hitting percentage over the match. The team as a whole made only four attack errors the whole match, leading to a new season high hitting percentage of .363. Muisenga hit 10 kills and made seven digs and Griffith lead the team with 11 digs.
In their final game against North Park, the Maroons lost an extremely tight first set 29–31 but once again did not let that deter them as they took the next three sets in a straightforward fashion, 25–19, 25–13, 25–14. Scrafford was unstoppable on offense again, hitting .410 with 20 kills. Muisenga impressed with 14 kills and 16 digs. Griffith reached a new personal record of 52 assists and Stifter made 20 digs. At the end of the tournament, both Scrafford and Muisenga were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Looking back on the Invitational, Macdonald thought it went very well. “We lost an important match to Aurora but we can improve on a lot of things. The loss sucks but it’s nothing we are too worried about,” he said. "[Heading into UAAs] I think we needed rest from fifth-week midterms, but since those are done we will be well rested coming into conference. I do think we are ready for competition and we are really excited to play and see what happens! It should be a fun time.”