Volleyball Hosts NCAA Regionals

This weekend, the women’s volleyball team will host the beginning of the NCAA tournament for the first time ever, starting with a match against Dubuque on Friday night.

By Miranda Burt

The University of Chicago women’s volleyball team opens NCAA tournament play at home today, hosting the tournament for the first time in program history. UChicago received a pool C at-large bid, and will make their eighth overall tournament appearance. The women are placed in a poll of eight, with the winner moving on to the Elite 8. The No. 10 Maroons are coming off a hard-fought second place finish in the UAA championships last weekend to the No. 9 Emory Eagles. The South Siders (28–4) have already beaten three teams in their eight-team pool—Trinity (Texas), Wash U, and Cornell (Iowa). 

Second-year Hadley Grundman spoke of her team’s excitement and mindset entering the NCAA tournament, “We are feeling pretty good coming into the tournament and are super excited about hosting! Coming in second at UAAs was tough, but Emory fought extremely hard. We now have more drive and fire to take us through the tournament.”

The Dubuque Spartans (24–8) are coming into their fourth NCAA tournament in program history. The Spartans and the Maroons have one common opponent: Cornell College, who is also in NCAA regional pool. The Spartans lost to Cornell 3–1, while the Maroons won 3–2. Kara Wright leads Dubuque with 419 kills on the year, followed by Rylee Anderson (242) and Sarrah Farraday (186). Kate Messino leads the team in sets with 1187. Isabel Cleary, Sarrah Farraday, Kendall Kauffmann, and Lydia Klecker (1.000) lead the Spartans in serving. Rylee Andresen and Paige Harbot (.268) lead the team in hitting percentage.

The Maroons are led by fourth-year Sarah Musenga in kills with 311. Third-year Madison Pearson (280), third-year Bella Pinton (278), fourth-year Audrey Scrafford (221), and third-year Anne Marie Stifter (211) are also all potent on the attack for the South Siders. Second-year Emma Griffith leads the Maroons in sets with 1280. Grundman and Karina Kling (1.00) lead the team in serving. Pearson (.337) leads the Maroons in hitting percentage.

Today’s match will follow the completion of three other contests. Barring any long games, the Maroons will have first serve at 8 p.m. against the University of Dubuque at Ratner Athletics Center. If victorious, Chicago will play again on Saturday against the winner of Trinity (Texas) and Aurora. The regional final will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Maroons would play the winner of the other side of the bracket, consisting of Illinois Wesleyan, Cal Lutheran, Wash U, and Cornell (Iowa).

UChicago’s men’s and women’s cross country teams are looking beyond their road runs to the road to the NCAA Division III Championships. Hoping to qualify for the championships, the team will compete at the NCAA DIII Midwest Regionals in Colfax, Wisconsin this Saturday. Runners who qualify will advance to the NCAA DIII Championships next Saturday in Winneconne, Wisconsin. 

The men’s team has had a victorious season and hopes to continue their success at this weekend’s meet. Only one of their top seven runners graduated last year, leaving the team with plenty of energy and mental preparation for this season. With the addition of several talented and hardworking first-years to the strong leadership of fourth-year captains Owen Melia and Jake Gosselin, the team has gone above and beyond in races. This year the men’s team ranked third in their conference, compared to last year’s fifth-place position. Moreover, they outscored NYU and Emory, two teams that have narrowly scored higher than them in the past two seasons. Fourth-year Ansel Richards said, “I’m very impressed by the resiliency we’ve shown this whole year. We’ve managed to improve over last year despite a lot of our top guys getting hit with pretty tough injuries.” This triumphant victory leaves them with a strong resume heading into their regional and national meets. 

Third-year Andy Kates said, “Personally I just want to leave nothing in the tank. I don’t want to finish the races and I feel like I could have given more. In the past there’s some races where you feel like you didn’t given it your all or could have gotten a few extra people. I just want to run with my teammates, leave everything out there and have fun with it.” 

The women’s team has also had a successful season, placing second in their conference meet. With several returning runners, the team started the season with high intensity, mental toughness and energy. The dynamic between these seasoned runners and the promising first-years created a competitive atmosphere in practice and race. Last weekend, Maggie Boudreau, Claire Brockway, and Sophie Elgamal received all-league honors at this meet. Two first-years, Lucy Jeffs and Kaitlyn Van Baalen, got spots on the conference’s All-Rookie team. Jeffs says, “The championship season has been great so far. We got second at the UAA championship but I think out team still feels we can do even better so we’re hoping to put lots of good performances together this weekend.” 

Both teams have been in maintenance phases since early October. For the first two months of season, they trained with vigorous workouts to test their bodies and build endurance. Now, they work on maintaining their strength and stamina for the more competitive meets of the season. This past week they’ve done moderate workouts and practiced running in groups. Both teams hope to avoid injuries and stay in peak shape for their upcoming meets and the following winter track season. 

With eyes set towards personal bests and team success, UChicago’s cross country teams plan to leave everything out there for their last two meets of the season.

Both the men and women’s teams will compete in 6k races starting at 11 a.m.