Squad rides momentum into Naperville tourney

Chicago volleyball plays two games tonight after winning a tournament last weekend.

By Zachary Themer

Coming off a sensational performance at last week’s UAA Round Robin in Atlanta, which included a win over the then No. 4 ranked Wash U, the 18–7 Maroons look to build on their momentum today as they square off against Saint Mary’s (Minn.) and Wartburg at the Tiffany Robinson Memorial Tournament at North Central University in Naperville, IL.

The South Siders, who cracked the DIII rankings this week at No. 25, will open up play against Saint Mary’s. The Maroons will have their hands full with the Eagles, especially in the frontcourt, as Saint Mary’s has three women who tower above six feet. In order to hammer their kills past the long frontline of Saint Mary’s, the Maroons will look to the pair of outside hitters, and third-years Maren Loe and Jasmine Mobley, both of whom have consistently led the Maroons in kills this year.

“I feel so fortunate to be a part of the University of Chicago women’s volleyball team,” Mobley said. “We have had a good season thus far and have just been improving day by day. We are getting into a really exciting part of our season, which is conference competition. We had a great start last weekend with three big wins.”

Just as critical to the Maroon attack will be another outside hitter, fourth-year Morgan Barry. Barry, an anchor of the team since her second year, is also part of an impressive three-woman front up front for the Maroons. The trio, over the course of the team’s 24 matches, have combined for a breathtaking 856 kills, with 346, 283, and 227 for Loe, Barry, and Mobley, respectively. With these three up front, the Eagles will surely have their hands full from the opening serve to the final point.

After the Maroons take on Saint Mary’s, they will take a short break before facing Wartburg later on in the evening at 8 p.m. Wartburg, who enters the match with a 17–5 overall record, is making the trek to North Central from all the way in Waverly, IA. The Knights will be looking to knock off the South Siders, but in order to do so, they will have to overcome the same challenges that Saint Mary’s will face, including the likes of the “big three” up front, as well as newcomers to the team, such as first-year middle blocker Taylor David, who has come on in a big way for the Maroons this year with appearances in 74 of the Maroons 88 sets played.

While the Maroons have practiced for the past week with Saint Mary’s and Wartburg in focus, they have much grander goals in mind.

“As far as the rest of the season is concerned, I am going into practice everyday with the goal of helping the team win another conference championship,” Mobley said. “But my vision for our season goes far beyond that. From day one I’ve wanted to help bring a national championship to our program.”

The Maroons’ pursuit of the ultimate goal continues tonight in Naperville—at 4 p.m. against Saint Mary’s and 8 p.m. against Wartburg—before moving onto the team’s second UAA Round Robin next weekend against Carnegie Mellon, Case Western, Rochester, and Emory.