UChicago Women Take Charge

The South Siders volleyball team have made a great start to the season, going 15-3 and topped it off by going undefeated at the UAA Round-Robin.

By Alyssa Rudin

To say that the Maroon volleyball team, ranked #16 nationally and currently 15–3, is having a good season is definitely an understatement. The team is on a 9-match winning streak, capped off by an undefeated UAA round robin this past weekend. 

The South Siders’ performance at the round robin, held by Case Western Reserve University, was dominant from start to finish. In their first match against Brandeis University, the Maroons won in straight sets 25–18, 25–12, 25–21. Chicago kept their errors low at only eight, while the Judges were a little sloppier with 21 errors. The Maroons were also very effective serving, leading Brandeis in aces, eight to three. Third-year Sarah Muisenga was a staple offensively and defensively, recording 10 kills and 11 digs. In their next match, the Maroons swept University of Rochester, 25–21, 25–12, 25–20. Chicago once again dominated hitting, leading Rochester in hitting percentage .280 to .123. Muisenga and third-year Aubrey Scrafford excelled on offense, with 12 and 14 kills, respectively. On defense, second-year Anne Marie Stifter, newly playing libero, led the team with 16 digs and first-year Emma Griffith recorded 35 digs and 10 assists. Chicago again lead in aces, seven to five. 

In their final UAA match, the Maroons faced third-ranked Emory. The South Siders were not intimidated though, and after losing a tight first set 25–18, quickly recovered to take the next three sets 25–17, 25–10, and 25–21. In a true team effort, the Maroons enjoyed spectacular performances from a large number of different players on offense and defense. Stifter and Griffith were once again rocks defensively, tallying a team high of 20 and 17 digs, respectively. Muisenga reached 16 digs and first-year Katherine Wilson had 10. Meanwhile, offensively, second-year Annabella Pinton and Scrafford both made 13 kills. Second-year Madeleine Bol was a force at net, making three block assists in the match. 

This win against Emory is the third win of the season for the Maroons against ranked teams. They previously beat No. 8 Milliken and No. 25 Cornell College at the Illinois Wesleyan Invitational. All of these wins have come in the past two tournaments for the South Siders; clearly, they are on a hot streak. These wins have caused the Maroons’ ranking to shoot up from 25th  to 16th  in the country. 

Looking ahead, they will face Otterbein in Elmhurst this Friday. Otterbein is currently 17–1, and while they are not currently nationally ranked, they did receive votes in the NCAA AVCA coaches poll. Fourth-year captain Frances McDonald hopes that the team can continue “to stay very consistent and level headed throughout every single match. This is extremely important with teams as good as Emory and other teams we will play that will challenge us as well. Staying consistent whether we are struggling or leading in score. [This] will allow us to stay competitive and focused.”