The volleyball team defeated upset-minded Augustana College on Saturday to improve to 25–3 on the year.
The No. 11 Maroons needed all five sets to secure the comeback victory against the host Vikings (14–12).
“It was a really hard match for us both physically and mentally,” said second-year setter Emma Griffith. “We are nearing the end of the season, and every match we play is really important for our regional rankings. We had to battle because every match this late in the season means so much.”
After dropping the first set 25–22, the team rallied to consecutive set wins in games two and three, hitting 0.268 and 0.220 respectively. In an exciting fourth set, the Maroons and Vikings traded point for point before the Vikings eventually pulled ahead, 26–24. The set featured six tied scores and another four lead changes.
The match ultimately came down to the wire. With the score knotted 10–10 in the decisive fifth set, two straight errors by Augustana opened the door for UChicago, and fourth-year Sarah Muisenga proved to be the difference. In the last three points, she teamed up with Griffith to record two kills and sealed the win.
On the match, Musienga provided consistency and steady leadership on offense, totaling 19 kills for an impressive 0.306 hitting percentage in the match. She also led the team with 25 digs and added two service aces for good measure.
Griffith continued her dominant season at the setter position, recording 55 assists and 23 digs. She currently leads all of Division III in total assists at 1,062 and ranks eighth with 10.84 assists per set.
While Muisenga and Griffith paced the team, every point was needed in the tightly contested match. Four players—third-year Madison Pearson (12), fourth-year Audrey Scrafford (11), and third-year Anne Marie Stifter (10)—notched double-digit kills. Second-year Katherine Wilson (23), Stifter (19), and first-year Temilade Adekoya (14) also joined Muisenga and Griffith with double-digit digs.
For the first time since 2014, and for only the eleventh time in 46 seasons, the Maroons secured a 25-win season. The Maroons, who sit atop the Midwest regional rankings, have essentially guaranteed themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament and seem a likely postseason host.
“We have had an amazing season. We have such strong chemistry, and it is really clear that everyone is committed to the same goal, so being able to get a win yesterday was extremely rewarding. We are really excited to get back in the gym [on Monday] and get ready for Senior Night this week and UAA championships the following weekend,” said Griffith.
The Maroons look to close out their regular season against Elmhurst at 4 p.m. on Friday at Ratner Athletic Complex. In addition to the regular season finale, Friday is Senior Night, where the team will celebrate the efforts and immense contributions of Muisenga and Scrafford to the program. Both Muisenga and Scrafford have logged over 1,000 career kills and rank in the top 10 for individual kills in program history.
The team will then shift their focus towards capturing the UAA conference championship and its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The UAA Championship play begins on November 2 in Rochester, NY.