Volleyball Set for More Top 25 Tests

Coming off last weeks upsets of No. 15 WashU and No.16 Carnegie Mellon, the Maroons are ready for another pair of tough opponents in No. 15 Elmhurst and No. 16 Juniata at this weekend’s UChicago Invite.

By Anna Rose

The Maroons’ performance this past weekend was definitely one for the books, and if it is any indication of things to come, the squad will be ready for this weekend. With wins over No. 15 Wash U, No. 16 Carnegie Mellon, and Brandeis, the South Siders managed to remain undefeated in conference play and defeat two top 25–ranked teams.

The team’s relentless effort and powerful offense paved the way to a quick win over Brandeis in three easy sets, along with a 3–2 win over the Tartans of Carnegie Mellon and a 3–1 win over Chicago’s main rival, the Wash U Bears. The team’s effort this past weekend improved their overall record 11–4, and they are currently riding an eight-game win streak.

But it wasn’t just the numerous kills and digs that contributed to the team’s success. For the Maroons, a sense of “togetherness” and a positive attitude on the court are just as important as offensive and defensive execution. The team’s chemistry definitely led the way to it success, especially according to first-year Anabella Pinton. “The biggest key to our team’s success this weekend was our ability to play together as a team, no matter the situation in the game,” said the outside hitters.

However, the team certainly isn’t satisfied yet, as it plans to continue its eight-game win streak this weekend on it home court at the UChicago Invite. “The momentum from last week’s wins will definitely motivate us as we would like to continue our streak,” Pinton said. Furthermore, the team hopes that its energy and momentum coming off of three big wins will translate into this weekend’s play too, as it will be much needed.

At this weekend’s tournament the volleyball squad will take on Aurora University, along with two more top 25–ranked teams, No. 15 Elmhurst College, and No. 11 Juniata College. In earlier play, Juniata College managed to defeat the same Carnegie Mellon Tartans 3–1, and if the scores are a hint of what is to come, Chicago is definitely in for an interesting match. The game against Elmhurst College should also be a nail-biter, as Elmhurst defeated Wash U in just three sets earlier in their season.

Regardless of the result, it’s safe to say the team is happy to be home. “I’m really excited to play at home this weekend because it’s nice to already have a feel for the gym you are playing in,”Pinton said. “It’s also great to have fellow classmates and friends support you at the games.”

In preparation for this weekend’s matches, the Maroons have been focusing on improving their offense. “We are giving 100 percent effort in practice and training hard with our conditioning trainer, coach Carissa Sain Knoche, to prepare ourselves for this weekend,” Pinton said.

The UChicago Invite kicks off this Friday, October 7, at 2 p.m.when the South Siders take on Aurora. Next, they will face off against No. 15 Elmhurst at 6 p.m., and on Sunday they will look to take down No. 11 Juniata.