The University of Chicago women’s volleyball team is off to an impressive start to kick off this season. They are 11–3 with just one more game left until they go begin league play. The Maroons put in blood, sweat, and tears this offseason and their hard work is paying off. Second-year Anne Marie Stifter commented on what the team has focused on to improve, saying that, “in the offseason, we put an emphasis on blocking as well as serve-pass. We always say that the team that serves more aggressively and passes better will win and that has really held true for us so far, especially this last weekend. Also, blocking is the first line of defense from hitters, and our blocking has improved exponentially since last year. Our middles have been working really hard to close, which makes the defense’s job much easier.”
The Maroons also recognized their weaknesses from last season and were determined to improve them coming into this season. The South Siders seem very eager to start league play where they will compete among the UAA. Stifter is very optimistic coming into the year, as she said, “We have so many new faces, eight first-years, so at the start of the season, we really didn’t know what to expect. Now, our team chemistry is very high and we all genuinely enjoy spending time together, which is really important for on-the-court success as well.”
Last weekend, the Maroons traveled to Bloomington, IL and competed against Millikin, the No. 8 ranked team in DIII and came out on top 3–1. Stifter said, “Our most exciting part of the season was last weekend at Illinois Wesleyan. We played two ranked teams, one of which was No. 8 in the nation, and won. This really proved to us that as long as we play our game and stay focused, we can achieve anything.” Shifting the spotlight more toward specific players, third-year Audrey Scrafford is having an incredible season thus far. Against Millikin, she led the offense with 13 kills. In addition, third-year Sarah Muisenga is also having big impact game play on the Maroons so far. She added 11 kills against Millikin, and they are hitting .276 and .257 respectively.
The South Siders will begin UAA play on Saturday, September 30, in Cleveland, OH. They will compete in a Round Robin style tournament, going against Brandeis and Rochester on Saturday and Emory on Sunday. Stifter said, “I personally am really looking forward to the start of UAAs this weekend. Conference is always a huge challenge because of the quality of the teams, but I think that with our playing this season, we will be very successful.” The Chicago women are on a roll this season and are looking to keep the momentum going as they head into UAA games.