Despite a hard fought match, Chicago (29–11) ended their postseason run with a loss to Wash U (31–3) in the NCAA DIII Regionals at Elmhurst. After a 3–1 victory over Benedictine (30–5) on Friday, the Maroons fell to the third-ranked Bears 3–0 on Saturday to cut their postseason short.
The Maroons were off to a strong start in the tournament with a victory over the Eagles in their first match. Though Benedictine took the early lead in the first set and held it, winning 25–19, the Maroons bounced back to take the next three. The second set was a close contest featuring multiple ties, but Chicago eventually came out on top with a score of 25–23. The South Siders carried that momentum through the next two sets to win the game 3–1.
“I thought that the girls came to play this whole weekend,” head coach Vanessa Walby said. “They were extremely focused and worked really hard. It was nice to see a lot of players step up and I thought our seniors gave us all that they could.”
Going into their game against Wash U, the Maroons knew they had a tough challenge ahead of them. The two teams already met twice earlier in the season, with Chicago winning one match and Wash U victorious in the other.
The Bears took the lead in the opening set, and held it the entire set for a final of 25–23. The Maroons kept the set close, but could not close the gap. The next two sets were more of the same as Chicago fought to surpass Wash U, but never managed to take the lead, resulting in scores of 25–23 and 25–20. The final score of 3–0 in Wash U’s favor appeared like a blowout, but was in reality a close match.
“We didn’t roll over and die during the game against Wash U,” second-year libero Eirene Kim said. “It seemed every point everyone was trying to do their best and was working hard. We definitely did not lose because of a lack of effort.”
To add insult to injury, the loss that ended Chicago’s season came against its fiercest rival, Wash U, a team the Maroons have become well acquainted with this season.
“It is always disappointing losing your last match of the season but it is always hard playing someone that you have already played so many times in the season,” Walby said. “Wash U is a great team and they had to play extra hard to beat us.”
Fourth-year Caroline Brander was named to the NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team.
Brander and fellow fourth-years Samantha Brown and Katie Trela finished their careers with a record of 117–43.