CHICAGO, Ill. -- The University of Chicago volleyball team celebrated Senior Night with a 3-0 win over Alma College and a 3-0 loss to Elmhurst College on Friday. The No. 18-ranked Maroons moved their record to 20-9 on the season.
The four UChicago seniors - outside hitter Morgan Clark, setter Nikki DelZenero, right side hitter Katie Huntington and middle blocker Maggie Vaughn - were recognized before the nightcap match. The seniors own the second-best record by a class in school history with an overall mark of 109-39 (.736 winning percentage).
The evening also served as Morgan Buerkett Memorial Night. Buerkett was a rising second-year UChicago volleyball player who died in a private plane crash alongside her parents Jon and Dana on July 24, 2011.
UChicago faced off with Alma (12-13) in the afternoon. The Maroons held the early advantage and kept it for the whole first set. A 9-1 run gave UChicago a 17-8 lead. However, Alma stormed back within striking distance thanks to good serves and several UChicago miscues on defense. The Maroons recovered in time to take the set 25-22.
The hosts picked up steam as the second set went on. A 6-5 lead ballooned to 19-11, with the middles contributing good blocking and offensive swings. UChicago ended up taking the second set by a 25-15 score.
Alma kept hanging close in the third set and briefly grabbed the lead at 6-5. The two sides went back and forth and were tied at 20-20. The Maroons then closed out the match with a 25-22 win.
UChicago finished with a .254 hitting percentage versus a .114 hitting percentage for Alma. The Maroons also led in blocks 6-3.
Maggie Vaughn (Middle Blocker, Sr.) - 12 kills on 21 attempts, 5 blocks
Maren Loe (Outside Hitter, So.) - 11 kills, 9 digs, 2 blocks
Katie Huntington (Rightside Hitter, Sr.) - 6 kills, 2 blocks
Nikki DelZenero (Setter, Sr.) - 39 assists, 9 digs, 3 kills
Eirene Kim (Libero, Jr.) - 26 digs, 4 assists
Ragine Graves (Setter, So.) - 11 digs, 2 aces
The evening match pitted UChicago against No. 5-ranked Elmhurst (27-4). The Maroons possessed the early momentum to take a 9-5 lead, and the Bluejays answered right back to tie the score at 11-11. The home team struggled to score against Elmhurst's blockers and a 7-1 run midway through the first set gave the visitors a 22-17 lead. UChicago almost rallied all the way back, but fell just short 25-23.
After trailing 4-1 at the start of the second set, the Maroons started clicking and took an 8-5 lead. From that point on, it was all Bluejays. The visitors closed the set on a 20-5 run that featured well-placed attacks that took UChicago out of its rhythm. The 25-13 second set gave Elmhurst a 2-0 lead.
The third set played out evenly with ties at 12-12 and 16-16. Elmhurst began to slowly pull away towards the end and won the match 25-22.
The Bluejays registered a .205 hitting percentage with six blocks over the course of the match. The Maroons were held to a .108 hitting percentage.
Katie Huntington (Rightside Hitter, Sr.) - 11 kills
Nikki DelZenero (Setter, Sr.) - 19 assists, 12 digs, 3 kills
Eirene Kim (Libero, Jr.) - 15 digs, 6 assists
Ragine Graves (Setter, So.) - 15 digs
Erin Risk (Setter/Rightside Hitter, Fr.) - 11 digs, 3 aces