Behind Historic Streak, Volleyball Nabs 17th Straight

Volleyball secures weekend wins.

By Alison Gill

The UChicago women’s volleyball team continued their white-hot stretch over the weekend. The No. 3 Maroons dominated North Central and Elmhurst on Saturday to extend their winning streak to a program-record 17 straight.

To start the day, the Maroons faced the North Central Cardinals (5–13) and swept through the opponent with ease. In a total team effort, the team hit 0.250 and an astounding 0.519 in the first two sets, while holding the Cardinals to a negative hitting percentage. Unsurprisingly, the Maroons walked away with set victories of 25–12 and 25–10. In the decisive third set, North Central rebounded to outhit the Maroons 0.324 to 0.265, but second-year Temilade Adekoya secured the match win with two straight kills to end the set, 25–20. Third-year setter Emma Griffith, who is second in the country in assists per set (11.41), tallied 33 assists and 16 digs, and fourth-year Anne Marie Stifter recorded nine kills and 11 digs. The Maroons had a solid defensive effort with 10 blocks, led by Stifter, second-year Fredericka Paulson and first-year Ellie Alden with two apiece, but the true decider of the match was the Maroons’ formidable, balanced offensive attack.

Next up, the Maroons defeated the Elmhurst Bluejays, dropping a single set and overwhelming the Jays at the net. The Maroons found themselves tied 1–1 after falling in a tight second set, but coasted to a match win after uneventful third and fourth sets. The fourth set was a high mark in the Maroons attack, as they recorded 12 kills without a single error for a hitting percentage of 0.343, while the Bluejays struggled with a negative hitting percentage. The Maroons dominated the battle at the net with 12 blocks compared to the Jays’ two. Griffith recorded four block assists, in addition to 47 assists and 22 digs, and Alden led the team with five. Stifter once again set a match-high with 18 kills, while Paulson added another 14. Finding themselves again the victors, the Maroons pushed their record to 18–1.

Adekoya said, “I strongly think that this weekend was another example of our entire team being all in. Every single player on and off the court constantly kept the mentality of controlling our side and playing at our pace, a pace which we know other teams can’t keep up with. Even in tough situations, like falling in the second set to Elmhurst, we didn’t dwell on the past, but instead quite literally put the pedal to the metal in the next two sets.”

UChicago heads into a pivotal week riding high. The team hasn’t lost a match since the first day of the season, a stretch which includes a thrilling victory over then–No. 1 Calvin, and it will look to capitalize on this momentum in some crucial, highly ranked match-ups. First, the No. 4 Carthage Lady Reds will travel to the South Side to take on the Maroons in a Tuesday night game at 7 p.m. in Ratner Athletics Center. Then, the Chicago team will travel to Cleveland for the final slate of UAA conference play. A game against Rochester on Saturday serves as the precursor to the main event: a clash with the No. 1 Emory Eagles.

Adekoya promised, “Going forward to these next few matches, our main focus is taking each match one at a time. We’re all excited to play Emory at the end of the week, but Carthage and Rochester are just as important to beat as Emory. It’ll for sure be a week of exciting play.”