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University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation

Maroons volleyball tops Benedictine 3-1 on Senior Night

CHICAGO, Ill. -- The University of Chicago volleyball team capped its Senior Night with a 3-1 (25-20, 22-25, 25-15, 26-24) victory over Benedictine University on Wednesday.

The No. 14-ranked Maroons improved to 13-4 and have won 11 of their last 13 at home. The Eagles dropped their second match of the season and are now 16-2.

Wednesday was Chicago's Senior Night for Caroline Brander, Samantha Brown and Katie Trela. The trio have helped the team amass a team record of 101-36 over their four years in the program.

Chicago started the night out right with numerous scoring plays drawn up for Brander. The senior middle blocker was especially effective running a slide to the right side, where she pounded a number of kills in the first set.

After the Maroons took the opening stanza 25-20, Benedictine significantly picked up its offense on the outside and put up a strong block in the second set. The Eagles were up big early on, but its 14-9 lead eventually disappeared as Chicago rallied back to tie the score at 17-17. However, Benedictine finished strong and evened the sets at one apiece by a 25-22 score.

Another rough start plagued the Maroons in set three. But Chicago regained its footing with a 9-7 lead that ballooned to 20-10. The set quickly went to the hosts 25-15, setting up a potential clincher in the fourth.

Benedictine hung tough once again in the early stages, taking advantage of mishits to build a 6-1 lead. Chicago chipped away to get within one at 10-9 as the two sides exchanged points back and forth. The Eagles held its advantage and were looking to force a fifth set with leads of 22-19 and then 24-22.

That's when the Maroons came on strong offensively. Consecutive big kills from Maren Loe and Morgan Berry tied the score at 24-24. With the momentum in hand and the crowd behind them, the hosts took the final two points and the match 26-24.

Chicago's seniors compiled good stats in their final home dual of their careers. Brander led the team with 11 kills and only one error in 21 attempts. Trela tallied four kills and was a defensive anchor in the middle with two solo blocks and six assisted blocks. Brown collected 13 digs from her defensive position.

Loe also put up numbers on the block with one solo and four assisted blocks. The freshman outside hitter also added nine kills and 11 digs. Barry totaled 10 kills and nine digs. Setter Nikki DelZenero handed out 34 assists to go with seven digs and two assisted blocks. Libero Eirene Kim ended up with 23 digs.

The Maroons will next host the UAA Round Robin on Saturday and Sunday.