The Maroon volleyball team had an impressive showing at the UAA championship, placing fourth behind Emory, Wash U, and Carnegie Mellon. UChicago defeated Rochester before falling to the Bears in the semifinals and the Tartans in the third-place match.
In their first match of the tournament, the Maroons breezed by Rochester in straight sets, with scores of 25–13, 25–17, and 25–22. UChicago dominated offensively with a 0.327 hitting percentage and 48 kills to 12 hitting errors. Second-year Annabella Pinton was at the forefront of the Maroon offense with 15 kills and only three errors. Second-year Madison Pearson and third-year Sarah Muisenga were big contributors as well, with 14 and 10 kills respectively. First-year Emma Griffith rounded out the offense with 37 assists. Defensively, second-year Anne Marie Stifter led the team in digs at 20, and fourth-year Frances McDonald and Muisenga were not far behind with nine and 12 digs respectively.
The semifinal matchup between the Maroons and the Bears was an important one for both teams beyond just conference standings, as UChicago was ranked No. 20 in the country and Wash U was ranked right above them at No. 19. Wash U came out on top in straight sets, winning 25–23, 25–12, 25–21. The Maroons had a solid lead at the end of the first set, up 22–16, but the Bears roared back with a huge 9–1 stretch and took the first set. The surge of momentum in favor of Wash U carried them through the second set, which they won in a relatively straightforward fashion. The Maroons fought back in a close final set, but their efforts were not enough. Muisenga and Pinton led the offense with eight kills, and Stifter was on top of the defensive stats with 20 digs.
In the third-place match against Carnegie, the Maroons dropped a tough four-setter 25–22, 26–24, 15–25, 25–16. Despite not quite being able to close out the first two sets, UChicago fired back with a solid third, hitting 0.257 to the Tartans’ 0.050. However, Carnegie rebounded and boosted their hitting percentage back up to 0.258, closing out the match with some ease. Muisenga and Pearson, once again, led the offensive forces with 10 kills and Griffith led with 43 assists. Stifter, Pearson, Muisenga, Griffith, and McDonald all achieved double digits in digs.
“All of our games at this point in the season are about preparing for the postseason, so we came out of UAAs feeling like we know what we need to work on this week to prepare,” commented Stifter.
The Maroons did not earn an automatic bid to NCAAs but were granted an at-large bid Monday morning, and they will find out where they will place this weekend. Looking ahead, Stifter said, “We are just going to focus on ourselves, not what our opponent is doing, because we know that when we play to our potential, we can beat anyone.”