Injuries and poor offense followed the Maroons to Cleveland.
Chicago (7-14) continued to struggle on the volleyball courts after an 0-3 showing at the first UAA round robin weekend of the year.
With their first two matches scheduled against third-ranked Emory and top-ranked Washington, the Maroons had their work cut out for them.
“It was a great opportunity to compete against the best teams in our division,” fourth-year right-side hitter Erica Pettke said.
The Eagles (16-1, 3-0 UAA) quickly took the first match of the weekend 3-0, shutting down the Maroons in the first two sets 30-12, 30-13 before the team could muster some offense in the final 30-21 set. Second-year middle hitter Koryn Kendall attacked well for the Maroons in the match, banging out a .545 hitting percentage while first-year outside hitter Katie Volzer attacked for a .375 mark in hitting.
“We found ourselves handicapped with inconsistency on our service reception,” head coach Dorinda von Tersch said.
Sunday started off poorly, as the Maroons suffered another 3-0 shutout against the Bears (12-0). Their offensive struggles continued in the first two sets, as the team dropped 30-8 and 30-13 decisions. Chicago put up a fight in the third, almost avoiding the shutout by pushing the score to 32-30. The team received the ball well but struggled terminating it.
Chicago maintained momentum from the final game against Wash U to grab their only win of the weekend in the opener against Carnegie Mellon 30-25. The Maroons took the strong and aggressive route for the match, winning 11 ace servings, including five from fourth-year defensive specialist Rose Kulczycki. Pettke attacked well and finished the game with a .545 hitting percentage, while Kendall contributed another solid performance, attacking for .562 and setting a new team high. Kendall previously held the team high with .528 from a match against North Park September 10.
Unfortunately, the Tartans (12-5) bounced back to take the next three sets 30-24, 30-22, 30-22 to claim their only victory on the weekend. Both Emory and Washington went on to finish the round robin with perfect 3-0 records.
Offensive troubles are likely to continue for the Maroons a little while longer with the team’s two primary hitters still injured and viewing matches from the bench for the next two to three weeks. ***PLAYER NAMES AND INJURIES*** Other players on the predominately underclassman roster are taking new responsibilities, but there for now the team faces offensive challenges while players adjust to some of their new roles.
“We are not physically inferior to these ranked teams,” Pettke said. “We just have to refine our mental approach to each match and eliminate our own errors.”
The Maroons play again Tuesday at home against Lake Forest (13-7), who arrive in Chicago with a 4-0 away record. With a week of practices to prepare for the match, the Maroons will focus on building consistency and attacking more aggressively from the outside.