The 2001 season has been a tough one for the University of Chicago's volleyball team. In a rebuilding year with a roster that features just nine players, the Maroons were stumbling into the second round of UAA games with an overall record of 1-10. They eventually ending the weekend with a 1-3 record and there were several high points on both individual and team notes.
The Maroons came into the weekend with a UAA record of 0-3 against Case Western Reserve, Emory, and Washington Universities. The UAA splits conference matches over two weekends instead of hosting individual matches between teams. These round robin weekends determine the seeding of the teams for the UAA Championship later on in the season. The UAA's second round robin games were hosted by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on October 6-7.
Over the course of the four matches, the team had outstanding individual efforts. Fourth-year Amanda Smeltzer led the team with nine solo blocks, while third-year Co-Captain Jeannie Kim held seven block assists. Four of the players, freshman Rebecca Schutte, Kim, Smeltzer, and third-year Cara Nelson, recorded over 20 kills. Schutte, the team's outside hitter, notched 40 kills in 112 attempts to lead the team. Nelson also registered in the aces category with 16, and fourth-year outside hitter and setter Caroline Cheong made eight.
The highlight of the weekend was Chicago's win over the University of Rochester. Rochester was a great win for the U of C. Coming back from being down two games was a challenge the players overcame," stated volunteer Assistant Coach Michelle Darbro. The Maroons lost the first two games of the match to the Yellowjackets 13-30 and 25-30. With regards to the match against Rochester, the first two games were a struggle," Co-Captain Nelson stated. Going into the third we really pulled together mentally and were able to take away the next three games." The right side hitter Nelson recorded seven aces alone in this match. The momentum that was building towards the end of the second game broke loose, as the Maroons took the next three games 30-27, 30-26, 15-13.
New York University was the squad's first opponent of the weekend, and defeated the Maroons in three straight games of 30-17, 30-23, 30-25. In the next match, the Violets would post a crucial win against number one ranked Washington University. The third match of the round robin pitted Chicago versus Brandeis University. The Judges dropped the third game to the Maroons, but would pull out the win in the fourth game, scoring 30-25, 30-15, 18-30, 30-11. The club next went head to head in match four with Carnegie Mellon University, with CMU ending the match in 30-18, 30-25, 30-22.
With the UAA Championships less than a month away for visiting Chicago, the team anxiously awaits the competition. The past weekend was full of upsets in the upper bracket of the conference, with the most outstanding being Carnegie's win over Wash. U. in three straight games," Nelson commented. Washington University was voted number one in the nation by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, and led the conference before play this weekend. The standings will vary significantly from past years," Nelson stated, With our next conference meet at home, it will be interesting to see how Championships unfold this year. Already Chicago is slated to play the number two team in conference, CMU, in the first match of the Championship instead of playing Emory as they have done in the past.
The Maroons' next matches will be at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh's Invite on October 12-13, where they will face North Park, UW-Lacrosse, and the host team. After the road trip, the volleyball team will see action in the Henry Crown Field House when they host their own Invite and the UAA Championships.