Squaring off against some of the best opposition around, volleyball was impressive, but ultimately came up short. The Maroons went 1–2 against top competition at the UAA Round Robin in Atlanta as they began league play in the nation’s toughest conference.
In its first taste of league action this season, Chicago (4–17, 1–2 UAA) fell to 15th-ranked NYU 30–26, 30–23, 26–30, 30–24 Saturday and to second-ranked Wash U 30–11, 30–19, 30–17 Sunday before rallying to take out Case Western 30–21, 30–27, 27–30, 30–21. Long a doormat in a conference of Titans, the Maroons showed flashes of becoming a team that hopes to be a contender some day soon.
Kicking off the weekend against the Violets (18–3, 2–1), the Maroons demonstrated their character with an unsuccessful try at a comeback. After dropping two close games to start the contest, the South Siders came back with a vengeance to take the third 26–30 and cut the gap to one. The rally ended in the next game as NYU squeezed by Chicago 30–24 to lock up the match.
Things didn’t get any easier from there. Pitted against the eight-time national champion Bears (14–1, 3–0) in Sunday’s first match, the Maroons struggled to establish a rhythm, going down in straight sets. After falling 30–11 in the first frame, Chicago posted a more respectable 30–19 defeat in the second game before closing out 30–17 in the third.
Rather than fold after dropping their first two contests, the Maroons rallied to end their weekend on a high note by taking care of business against Case (7–14, 0–3). While the Spartans managed a win in the third game after falling behind 2–0, the Maroons dug deep to finish off the opposing six and closed out the match on a 30–21 victory in the next game.
“We were really fired up for [the Case game] and we came out ready to play,” second-year outside hitter Kerry Dornfeld said. “We knew it was a game we needed to win and we fought hard to make sure it happened.”
For a young team with only one fourth-year on its roster, the Maroons showed poise by staying competitive against the nation’s powerhouses. They will look to build off this weekend Saturday when they take on Wisconsin–Oshkosh and Judson at the Lake Forest triangular. UAA play resumes October 14–15 when Chicago hosts the second round robin of the year.